Ireland cricket July 4, 2012

Has England benefitted Ireland?

Ajay Jonathan Gnanam
It is possible to argue that England have damaged Irish cricket; England calling up the likes of Eoin Morgan has caused a significant talent drain in the Irish player pool. However, it is also possible to argue that England have helped Ireland more than d
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Have England helped or hindered the development of Irish Cricket? It is possible to argue that England have in fact damaged Irish cricket; England calling up the likes of Eoin Morgan has caused a significant talent drain in the Irish player pool. However, it is also possible to argue that England have in fact helped Ireland more than damaged them; the inclusion of Ireland players in the county circuit has helped them reach a much higher level than what they would have playing in Ireland's current club format.

Do the positives outweigh the negatives? The most significant problem with the England connection, as mentioned earlier, is the talent drain. The loss of Ed Joyce in 2005 and Morgan in 2009 have created obvious problems in Ireland's batting line-up. Ireland, while proving themselves to be a constantly progressing team, have had one annoying hurdle that they have never fully overcome: batting collapses. And the loss of these two players has not helped.

Although Ed Joyce did return to the side in 2011, one can't deny how much stronger the batting line-up would have been with Morgan in it as well. In an ODI against Pakistan in May 2011, Ireland went from 44 for 1 to 96 all out by the end of the 20th over - a prime example of their proneness to collapses.

Though these have been the only two players to have left Ireland to play for their neighbours, the threat doesn't end there. Pace bowler Boyd Rankin, who played for the England Lions, came very close to being selected to play for England, while there is the threat of losing left-arm spinner George Dockrell and big-hitting opener Paul Stirling to England's ranks.

Another smaller problem (though this should be viewed more as a lack of support than a problem) is the want of games against England. Ireland have never played a full series against England (by full, I mean at least three ODIs and a T20I or two) despite their progress. The two countries usually only clash in a one-off game once every year or so. To be fair, England do have a very full international schedule, as often pointed out quite recently, and incorporating Ireland into that schedule could make a very tough roster for their players even more difficult to deal with.

Regardless of the problems, though, there's also the support proffered. The inclusion of Ireland's players on the county circuit has done wonders; the current players in county cricket (Porterfield, Joyce, Stirling, Niall and Kevin O'Brien, Wilson, Rankin, Dockrell) are usually the most consistent, best performers in the national team. While this is also due to talent, the exposure they have on the county circuit can't even be compared to that on offer in Irish domestic cricket (which Cricket Ireland is working on fixing).

And even more Irish players are being given an opportunity. A few weeks ago, John Mooney was permitted to join the Sussex second XI for a three week trial period, and though he couldn't finish the trial because of personal reasons, he was given the assurance that he could try-out again at a later date.

Also, the inclusion of the England-born Tim Murtagh in the Ireland side further presents the help Ireland get from England. Murtagh, a well-respected seamer who plays for Middlesex, has hasn't been able to make the England squad due to their already well-endowed pace attack. He qualified for Ireland in February (through his Irish grandparents).

Apart from the county support England, in general, does support the development of cricket in Ireland. The ECB has been a supporter of Ireland's claim for Test status. Overall, England does in fact help Irish Cricket more than it hinders it. The problems caused by the threat of Irish players playing for England has always been serious, however these were choices made by the players themselves and have never been forced upon them by England.

Joyce left to play for England when Irish cricket still hadn't made a name for itself (Ireland only played their first ODI in 2006) and even Morgan had begun working towards playing for England before Ireland's famous St Patrick's Day victory against Pakistan in the 2007 World Cup. And since, with the exception of Rankin, Ireland players like Kevin O'Brien and Stirling have shown a reluctance to answer England's call - a giant step since, at the end of the day, it is for the player to choose who he wants to play for.

As for playing with more regularity against Ireland, with their already jam-packed international calendar, this would be a very tough demand for England to fulfil until the day Ireland receive Test status. To overcome this in the short term, they could consider sending the England Lions on tour to Ireland every year (or vice versa). This would provide some very competitive cricket for both sides, helping Ireland gain more quality exposure while also helping England's young players develop.

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Luka on October 10, 2012, 4:31 GMT

    You are so amazingly taelnted and creative! I look forward to reading your blog almost daily just to see what new ideas you have come up with. I LOVE the photos you have taken of my Maxwell. You seem to capture his little personality in every picture you take! Thank you!!!

  • Mihir Mangaonkar on July 30, 2012, 11:33 GMT

    Well ICC should itself take step like before 2007 WC they had associate Tri Series with Zimbabwe,Canada,Bermuda.. Let Bangladesh and Ireland Afghanistan play in Tri Series in UAE. South Africa playing a practice games after every test match. totally Useless, South Africa A is touring IReland. teams like India West Indies playing 5ODI make Odi meaning less its better to keep interest in game till final match of triseries

  • Kevin James on July 16, 2012, 8:03 GMT

    @Anonymous That implies that the players have an alternative....which you're right they do..... Test cricket for England or for nobody. Great choice. English fans have proven time and time again that they are happy for selectors to import talent rather than nurture it. Probably the reason why their best players are all foreirn born and cricket rared.

  • Anonymous on July 9, 2012, 18:50 GMT

    Very well written article which makes the key points well. Thanks for debunking the myth that Irish players are 'poached' by England. As you rightly state, it is the players who make the choice.

  • The_ReverseDoosra_K on July 8, 2012, 17:02 GMT

    @Andrew - Most of the players are Irish born. Though they are few imports but it is not ridiculous like the Dutch, Canada etc. And also, if England have Trott, Kieswetter, Pietersen, Dernbach, why do we compare them with the Ozzies who also rely on homegrown talent?

    If teams like Ireland and Afghanistan fade away it would be ICC's fault.

  • Kevin James on July 7, 2012, 9:53 GMT

    ible. This is further compounded by the complete lack of action taken by the ICC on this subject. They are more than happy to allow full members to steal the best of the rest once this means that developing teams can not continue to do so and ultimately knock on the door looking for a slice of the elitist pie that is served to everyone at the full member table. If I was an upcoming player within the English county system, I would be very disheartened as the selection attitude suggests that there is no confidence in the development system despite the numbers playing and money being spent. And before anyone says that the Irish players play county cricket and benefit from that....Yes they do, but they could apply their trade in any first class structure. The difference being that other full members would not look upon this as another player to possibly select, beginning the 4 year countdown once they land in the country. It is nothing short of a disgrace.

  • Rayner on July 6, 2012, 15:45 GMT

    We could solve a few problems here, in England we always have 2 teams tour us during the summer, with two ODI series as part of that. Why don't the ECB merge the two ODI series and invite Ireland to join in and make it a quadrangular series? then we could include Ireland to help them become stronger and push for test status and the ECB would boost their coffers beacuse there would be more ODIs played than there would in 2 bilateral series and the wealth could be spread a bit more between grounds?

  • raymond hart on July 6, 2012, 15:04 GMT

    It would seem an expansion of the county by having one or more teams from Ireland, but a United Ireland basis, plus the Netherlands and maybe Denmark and Scotland and opportunities other nations and counties promotion and relegation might be a way forward and why not a knock out competiton.

  • delboy on July 6, 2012, 10:44 GMT

    The Irish could merge with the West Indies or Phil Simmon's Trinidad, the inherit Bravo(s), Pollard, Ganga(s), Cooper, Ramdin, Simmons etc..

  • Opening Bat on July 6, 2012, 9:43 GMT

    I don't think you'll find Scotland will go down the Dutch route (which is ridiculous!) or even lesser Irish route with'overseas' players - they are doing perfectly well as they are! Incidentally, there are now five Scots either with county contracts or on trials.

  • Luka on October 10, 2012, 4:31 GMT

    You are so amazingly taelnted and creative! I look forward to reading your blog almost daily just to see what new ideas you have come up with. I LOVE the photos you have taken of my Maxwell. You seem to capture his little personality in every picture you take! Thank you!!!

  • Mihir Mangaonkar on July 30, 2012, 11:33 GMT

    Well ICC should itself take step like before 2007 WC they had associate Tri Series with Zimbabwe,Canada,Bermuda.. Let Bangladesh and Ireland Afghanistan play in Tri Series in UAE. South Africa playing a practice games after every test match. totally Useless, South Africa A is touring IReland. teams like India West Indies playing 5ODI make Odi meaning less its better to keep interest in game till final match of triseries

  • Kevin James on July 16, 2012, 8:03 GMT

    @Anonymous That implies that the players have an alternative....which you're right they do..... Test cricket for England or for nobody. Great choice. English fans have proven time and time again that they are happy for selectors to import talent rather than nurture it. Probably the reason why their best players are all foreirn born and cricket rared.

  • Anonymous on July 9, 2012, 18:50 GMT

    Very well written article which makes the key points well. Thanks for debunking the myth that Irish players are 'poached' by England. As you rightly state, it is the players who make the choice.

  • The_ReverseDoosra_K on July 8, 2012, 17:02 GMT

    @Andrew - Most of the players are Irish born. Though they are few imports but it is not ridiculous like the Dutch, Canada etc. And also, if England have Trott, Kieswetter, Pietersen, Dernbach, why do we compare them with the Ozzies who also rely on homegrown talent?

    If teams like Ireland and Afghanistan fade away it would be ICC's fault.

  • Kevin James on July 7, 2012, 9:53 GMT

    ible. This is further compounded by the complete lack of action taken by the ICC on this subject. They are more than happy to allow full members to steal the best of the rest once this means that developing teams can not continue to do so and ultimately knock on the door looking for a slice of the elitist pie that is served to everyone at the full member table. If I was an upcoming player within the English county system, I would be very disheartened as the selection attitude suggests that there is no confidence in the development system despite the numbers playing and money being spent. And before anyone says that the Irish players play county cricket and benefit from that....Yes they do, but they could apply their trade in any first class structure. The difference being that other full members would not look upon this as another player to possibly select, beginning the 4 year countdown once they land in the country. It is nothing short of a disgrace.

  • Rayner on July 6, 2012, 15:45 GMT

    We could solve a few problems here, in England we always have 2 teams tour us during the summer, with two ODI series as part of that. Why don't the ECB merge the two ODI series and invite Ireland to join in and make it a quadrangular series? then we could include Ireland to help them become stronger and push for test status and the ECB would boost their coffers beacuse there would be more ODIs played than there would in 2 bilateral series and the wealth could be spread a bit more between grounds?

  • raymond hart on July 6, 2012, 15:04 GMT

    It would seem an expansion of the county by having one or more teams from Ireland, but a United Ireland basis, plus the Netherlands and maybe Denmark and Scotland and opportunities other nations and counties promotion and relegation might be a way forward and why not a knock out competiton.

  • delboy on July 6, 2012, 10:44 GMT

    The Irish could merge with the West Indies or Phil Simmon's Trinidad, the inherit Bravo(s), Pollard, Ganga(s), Cooper, Ramdin, Simmons etc..

  • Opening Bat on July 6, 2012, 9:43 GMT

    I don't think you'll find Scotland will go down the Dutch route (which is ridiculous!) or even lesser Irish route with'overseas' players - they are doing perfectly well as they are! Incidentally, there are now five Scots either with county contracts or on trials.

  • Andrew on July 6, 2012, 7:44 GMT

    Unlike some other international teams, Ireland have actually benefitted a lot from County cricket AND being able to import players themselves from South Africa and Australia. The Dutch team is similar in that they attract journeymen from other countries to play for them, which makes them much stronger than if they only used home-grown talent. This is what irritates me when people start comparing Zimbabwe and Bangla unfavourably with these teams. At least they rely solely on home-grown talent.

  • Akash bhardwaj on July 6, 2012, 5:07 GMT

    England jeilus to seen the progress of Ireland Cricket this is a fact. that's all

  • Anonymous on July 5, 2012, 22:24 GMT

    You have to question whether the Irish players in county cricket is the cause or effect of the improvement of Irish cricket. The o'briens, dockrell, Stirling, Joyce etc... All learnt their cricket in Ireland for the most part. I think it is naive to suggest there are only good players because of their exposure to county cricket. The counties must have seen talent their to invest in them ahead of local talent. I'm sure if Ireland had a first class structure in place and were exposed to the like of Australia and England mor regularly in ODIs and T20s these players would emerge in spite of the county system. As for a lack of loyalty, the likes of Porterfield and Joyce aspire to playing Test match cricket more so than representing England.

  • JimDavis on July 5, 2012, 17:43 GMT

    I thought it was a pity that Australia (or West Indies for that matter) didn't try any play more ODIs against Ireland instead of the warm up against Essex. Given that Afghanistan were coming to Ireland, maybe someone could of organised a bit of a tri-series, incorporating the 2 planned associate games into the series. But at any rate, I guess the weather would have put pay to that. There are a couple more things England could do to help – so money to improve the drainage at Clontarf would be great. It’s a brilliant little ground for matches, but situations like Wednesday just gone (a dry day but no play due to a wet outfield) keep holding cricket back. The other thing which would help Ireland (and Warwickshre) is for someone to give Ashley Giles a kick up the arse and get him to make Porterfield captain of the Bears.

  • danoz on July 5, 2012, 14:30 GMT

    the current funding for the minnows is back to front rather than spending on native juniors(the icc has set up a slush fund to pay grade players and first class players who carnt make thier native born sides so they can play cricket for thier parents or grandparents countries)

    this money paying foreign born players could be better spent on junior talent.

    scotland just changed the eligability of its players to accept players whose parents or grand parents were born in scotland,from a team which has mostly scottish born players today in the future thier side will have 3 english players,3 south african players,3 australian players,1 new zealander and 1 native born scotsmen(like the current dutch team) how does this help scottish cricket.

    scotland just got $500000 to pay for the world cup,most of that money will spent on these cricket globetrotters rather than spending money on local talent.

    really its a step backwards for world cricket,bring back a 5 year waiting period

  • danoz on July 5, 2012, 14:13 GMT

    england has always had overseas players starting with nawab of patudi in the 30s,tony greg,alan lamb,basil d'olivier in the 70s/80s,greaham hick alan mullaly in the 90,s,kevin pietersen,mat prior,jonathon trott,jade burndach,craig kiewswetter,eion morgan(his different because ireland dont have a test team) and james pattison brother(who said he couldnt care less about playing for england) in the current age.

    the parents grandparent eligabilty scheme is a blight on world cricket(players should have to wait atleast 5 years before playing for thier new country) despite the dutch being top of the table in the english 1 day domestic comp they only have one native born player.countries like namibia,kenya and afghanistan in the intercontantal cup have teams made up of native born player,so the game is distorted.ireland shouldnt except any player with irish heritage and should pick native born players otherwise they will come dependant on other countries to supply thier talent,

  • danoz on July 5, 2012, 13:50 GMT

    i agree with terry jones that ireland,scotland and netherlands should atleast have 2 team each in european domestic league. with 18 county sides it will hard to add 6 new teams(with county cricket 4 day comp with division 1 and division 2 its only 3 sides per division)it would be a nightmare dismantling the current county system,but it would help the world game.

    either ireland or the netherlands should be included in matches when teams tour england(richie benauds team was beating by the netherlands in a 4 day match in 1961),australia played ireland which was good to see, but it was rained out,instead australia playing essex the could have played the netherlands

    most australians are patriotic and would never dream of playing for other countries,(clarrie grimmet was a native born new zealander but played before new zealand had a test team)mike procter and colin bland played for south africa but were from rhodesia(current day zimbabwe before they had a test team)

  • paulos on July 5, 2012, 13:26 GMT

    England poaching players, really,it's nothing but a word to beat the English with, no more no less. The problem is more Irish players wanting to play for England for the money and the chance to play Test cricket. Lets all get this straight there have been 2 Irish player play for England over 6/7 year period, talk about over doing the issue. Even the Irish Captain Porterfield said on interview on sky that his ambition is to play for England one day. It's what a lot of them want to do,no fault at all can be attached to the ECB, it's the Irish if anything lacking commitment to their own cause and nationality. If anything the development of the Irish side has been down to them playing a lot of County cricket the past few years, you can see a direct correlation between their improvements and the number of Irish players in County Cricket. Another thing there has been no call from England for the likes of Kevin O'Brien and Stirling, they are simply not good enough anyway.

  • George on July 5, 2012, 2:52 GMT

    Interesting article but disagree that the talent drain has hurt Ireland massively to date. Joyce was missed and Morgan is missed no doubt but this is not the reason for collapses, Ireland's collapses are a lack of experience for the most part and this will come in time.

    The talent drain risk is a big one as if Boyd, George D & Stirlo were to all leave that would be a big issue.

    I'd like to see players for associates not be eligible for test playing ODI / 20/20 teams but be able to play Test Cricket for Full nations and continue in ODI's for associates. That would be a good move forward.

  • Andrew on July 4, 2012, 21:11 GMT

    The Irish need to establish a first class system and then strive to play test cricket. This would eliminate player drain.

  • Vikram on July 4, 2012, 18:16 GMT

    I don't mind England poaching Irish players as much as Counties sometimes preventing them from representing Ireland

  • The_ReverseDoosra_K on July 4, 2012, 17:26 GMT

    I think the process with appears to be player poaching is not ECB's fault (though I don't like this). Morgan wanted to play for England from his childhood and because he was good he wad picked for England. But if he wanted to play for England he should have not played for Ireland because his leaving the Irish team created a void which took time to recover. It is not the ECB's fault it is the lack of commitment and loyalty of some players to their nation. The ECB is actually helping Irish team.

  • The_ReverseDoosra_K on July 4, 2012, 17:26 GMT

    I think the process with appears to be player poaching is not ECB's fault (though I don't like this). Morgan wanted to play for England from his childhood and because he was good he wad picked for England. But if he wanted to play for England he should have not played for Ireland because his leaving the Irish team created a void which took time to recover. It is not the ECB's fault it is the lack of commitment and loyalty of some players to their nation. The ECB is actually helping Irish team.

  • Rameez Shaikh on July 4, 2012, 17:20 GMT

    I would say it is 50-50. Some english commentators and fans even feel that Dockrell and Stirling belong to English side....

  • Pravan on July 4, 2012, 15:32 GMT

    The English need to find talent from their own roots!

  • ismail sadurdeen on July 4, 2012, 14:59 GMT

    well written article!

  • Anshuman Mahanty on July 4, 2012, 14:07 GMT

    I'm very much in favour of having more tri-series and multination tournaments in ODI cricket than the meaningless bilateral ODI tours that saturate the spectator and dilute their interest in this format. If England revamp their international ODI season and make it like it was a few years ago when they used to have an yearly tri-series, this could substantially help Ireland. They could be made the third team and it'll help them in gaining more exposure by making them rub their shoulders with the big boys.

    Even a quadrangular featuring England, the two touring teams and Ireland could be organised.

  • Terry Jones of Australia on July 4, 2012, 11:35 GMT

    ICC needs to alter eligibility criteria to take into account the personal needs of talented players in associate countries. Players should be allowed to play tests for a full member and ODI/T20I for a designated associate side. Eligibility outside of this should be a sliding factor between 5 yrs and 1 yr based on source & destination av rankings across all 3 formats: +100 5yrs, +50 4yrs, 0 3 yrs, -50 2 yrs, -100 1 yr (eg: Ken to Aust 5yrs, Aust to Ken 1yr). To improve competition in Europe, England should create a European County System to replace the England County system with current 18 teams from England/Wales, 3 from Ireland, 3 from Scotland and 3 from Netherland. This could be done due to the European Union's transport setup and easy of movement between countries (unlike other Regions which have restrictions). The first step should be England inviting 3 teams from Ireland to join the England County Competition instead of one team called Ireland like previously done!

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  • Terry Jones of Australia on July 4, 2012, 11:35 GMT

    ICC needs to alter eligibility criteria to take into account the personal needs of talented players in associate countries. Players should be allowed to play tests for a full member and ODI/T20I for a designated associate side. Eligibility outside of this should be a sliding factor between 5 yrs and 1 yr based on source & destination av rankings across all 3 formats: +100 5yrs, +50 4yrs, 0 3 yrs, -50 2 yrs, -100 1 yr (eg: Ken to Aust 5yrs, Aust to Ken 1yr). To improve competition in Europe, England should create a European County System to replace the England County system with current 18 teams from England/Wales, 3 from Ireland, 3 from Scotland and 3 from Netherland. This could be done due to the European Union's transport setup and easy of movement between countries (unlike other Regions which have restrictions). The first step should be England inviting 3 teams from Ireland to join the England County Competition instead of one team called Ireland like previously done!

  • Anshuman Mahanty on July 4, 2012, 14:07 GMT

    I'm very much in favour of having more tri-series and multination tournaments in ODI cricket than the meaningless bilateral ODI tours that saturate the spectator and dilute their interest in this format. If England revamp their international ODI season and make it like it was a few years ago when they used to have an yearly tri-series, this could substantially help Ireland. They could be made the third team and it'll help them in gaining more exposure by making them rub their shoulders with the big boys.

    Even a quadrangular featuring England, the two touring teams and Ireland could be organised.

  • ismail sadurdeen on July 4, 2012, 14:59 GMT

    well written article!

  • Pravan on July 4, 2012, 15:32 GMT

    The English need to find talent from their own roots!

  • Rameez Shaikh on July 4, 2012, 17:20 GMT

    I would say it is 50-50. Some english commentators and fans even feel that Dockrell and Stirling belong to English side....

  • The_ReverseDoosra_K on July 4, 2012, 17:26 GMT

    I think the process with appears to be player poaching is not ECB's fault (though I don't like this). Morgan wanted to play for England from his childhood and because he was good he wad picked for England. But if he wanted to play for England he should have not played for Ireland because his leaving the Irish team created a void which took time to recover. It is not the ECB's fault it is the lack of commitment and loyalty of some players to their nation. The ECB is actually helping Irish team.

  • The_ReverseDoosra_K on July 4, 2012, 17:26 GMT

    I think the process with appears to be player poaching is not ECB's fault (though I don't like this). Morgan wanted to play for England from his childhood and because he was good he wad picked for England. But if he wanted to play for England he should have not played for Ireland because his leaving the Irish team created a void which took time to recover. It is not the ECB's fault it is the lack of commitment and loyalty of some players to their nation. The ECB is actually helping Irish team.

  • Vikram on July 4, 2012, 18:16 GMT

    I don't mind England poaching Irish players as much as Counties sometimes preventing them from representing Ireland

  • Andrew on July 4, 2012, 21:11 GMT

    The Irish need to establish a first class system and then strive to play test cricket. This would eliminate player drain.

  • George on July 5, 2012, 2:52 GMT

    Interesting article but disagree that the talent drain has hurt Ireland massively to date. Joyce was missed and Morgan is missed no doubt but this is not the reason for collapses, Ireland's collapses are a lack of experience for the most part and this will come in time.

    The talent drain risk is a big one as if Boyd, George D & Stirlo were to all leave that would be a big issue.

    I'd like to see players for associates not be eligible for test playing ODI / 20/20 teams but be able to play Test Cricket for Full nations and continue in ODI's for associates. That would be a good move forward.