Ireland v West Indies, World T20 2012, Group B, Colombo

Johnston hits out at lack of fixtures

David Hopps

September 23, 2012

Comments: 100 | Text size: A | A

William Porterfield and Trent Johnston after Ireland's defeat, Australia v Ireland, World Twenty20 2012, Group B, Colombo, September 19, 2012
Trent Johnston is disappointed by a lack of international cricket © ICC/Getty
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Trent Johnston, the Ireland bowler who has been at the heart of many of their greatest performances, has marked what could be his farewell match in a major tournament by condemning the reluctance of Bangladesh and Zimbabwe to play them and put at risk their international status.

Ireland must beat West Indies at the R Premadasa stadium on Monday night to reach the Super Eights and their cause has not been helped by sickness that has been raging through the squad. Ed Joyce was the first player to suffer from a gastric illness which has since laid low half-a-dozen players and members of the coaching staff.

Johnston was one of those who did make the final training session but he was in a far from conciliatory mood, resentful over perpetual references to Ireland as 'minnows' and the barriers that he believes exist to limit Ireland's chances of joining the game's elite.

"Why don't Bangladesh and Zimbabwe want to play us?" he asked. "I know why, because they're scared that we'll beat them and that we'll go above them in the rankings. I know that for a fact.

"And the other guys simply can't play us because they've got programmes left, right and centre and IPL, BPL and Big Bash, blah, blah, blah. So I can understand that the big boys play too much cricket and that they ask how they can squeeze a series in with Ireland. But something has got to be done, because we don't want to be at this 'minnow' level as well, which is what the commentators call us.

"We're associate cricketers and we're aware of that, we're not 'minnows'. I'm sick of hearing 'minnow' on the TV. It's disrespectful to the guys that are here training and putting the work in and it's disrespectful to the people back in Ireland and back in Afghanistan and the others in the associate levels who put so much time and effort into cricket.

"Bangladesh and Zimbabwe aren't 'minnows' either. They're Full Member countries and they've been called 'minnows' in this World Cup and personally I'm just sick and tired of it."

Niall O'Brien looked around Ireland's depleted numbers at practice at the P Sara Stadium and admitted: "It's not ideal but from a personal point of view I have been sick before and you sometimes find new a resolve. It's a Twenty20 and there will be a lot of adrenalin so hopefully that will overcome any illness in the camp."

Ireland have it in their power to plot an unlikely route to the Super Eights because of Australia's victory against West Indies on Saturday night, which swung Australia's way by some rousing strokeplay from Shane Watson and David Warner before heavy rain forced a premature end.

Ireland's own defeat against Australia had involved some testy on-field exchanges with both these batsmen. O'Brien recognised the irony that Ireland's two Australian bĂȘte noirs had come to their rescue.

"Watson and Warner weren't the most popular in the Irish camp a few days earlier but they played really well and it was a great result for us and give us a pick-me-up," he said. "West Indies are specialists in this form of the game, travelling the world to play T20, so it is not going to be easy. They can obviously be destructive but they also have the ability to get out as well."

West Indies have been stunned into near-silence by the manner of their defeat against Australia. They brought the tournament alive by scoring 191 for 8, encouraging all those who had termed them tournament favourites, but then bowled dreadfully as Australia made 100 for 1 in 9.1 overs in reply.

Ireland know that with unsettled weather around that Duckworth Lewis could again come into play and that all manner of eventualities might even up the contest. It is a thought that does not find too much favour with Darren Sammy, West Indies captain. "I think the crowd wants a 20-over match," he said. "So hopefully the weather stays good and we get a full game."

David Hopps is the UK editor of ESPNcricinfo

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© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by   on (September 26, 2012, 13:58 GMT)

I think one solution for Ireland is to play against IPL team for 20/20 and to develop 20/20 cricket and then focus on 50/50 cricket and test cricket.

Posted by anton1234 on (September 26, 2012, 6:53 GMT)

Looks like Ireland will lose yet another player to England in Boyd Rankin. Frankly, I expect him to be picked by England within a year. He has pace and is 6ft 8 so can extract bounce off the pitch. He has a good average in county cricket so his credentials are already there. It will be sad for Ireland and maybe it is time to give them test status so they don't lose any more players to England.

Posted by Chris_P on (September 25, 2012, 23:46 GMT)

Of course Ireland need more competition at this level, & to measure themselves against Bangladesh & Zimbabwe is the perfect barometer. They do have, at least the opportunity for their players to develop their skills in the country league if they are good enough. If they are serious, & the ICC is serious for this to occur, they need to look at dual eligibility for players such as Morgan, who can be available for tests for England & eligible for Ireland (if he chooses) in the shortened formats. This should help Ireland's progress to the top tier, as quality players are needed for rookies who come into the team.

Posted by   on (September 25, 2012, 17:31 GMT)

What this tournament shows that even T20 is a Big Boys affair... Minnows should create their own league or stop playing cricket. Once in every 5 years we see one minnow beating up a Big Boy, (may be the BD beating NZ a while ago was a huge exception) but then even all fouled up Windies become a threat to the top sides if people like Gayle show up. Where as no matter how many Habib-ulBashar, Ashraful and Shakib BD produces, no matter if a Heath streak or Jhonsons Rhodesians throw in, and Irishmen Jhonstons and O Briens do not make a difference. Kenya made into semis of the WC ages ago, so what?

True that they might have added spice to cricket, But sorry guys the last minnow to become a power was 20 years ago, and now they have Murli and Sangakarra and Mahela and the days when minnow could become a power are over, the club is complete.

Posted by   on (September 25, 2012, 12:59 GMT)

Create a two tier Test Championship..simple as that...Div 1 : Aus, Eng, Ind, Pak, SA, SL...Div 2: NZ, WI, Ban, Zim, Ire, Afg. 6 teams in each Div, 1 up and 1 down.

Posted by   on (September 25, 2012, 10:35 GMT)

Trent Johnson forgot that Bangladesh has just toured Ireland & Banglawashed them in a T20 series. Bangladesh went to play that series at their own expense. They had to bear all the costs of that tour. Bangladesh is a test playing nation. Why Bangladesh will play against such an associate nation who can't even arrange a sponsor for a series, can't arrange a TV channel to broadcast international cricket matches? Moreover, Will Bangladesh pay everytime they tour Ireland? No. Bangladesh is concentrating on how can they play more matches against bigger opponents. Bangladesh has beaten Zimbabwe & Ireland so many times that Bangladesh doesn't need to prove anything against them.

Posted by   on (September 25, 2012, 10:34 GMT)

I think calling second level teams as minnows is not at all justified. Ireland, Bangladesh, Zimbawe, and Afghanistan are playing in this tournament and should be treated in the same manner as other countries. Look how Afghanistan played against India. I think they bowled exceptionally well and it was their batting and more so their experience that let then down otherwise they could have easily won the match. They bowled and fielded even better than any other international side. Once they have qualified for the international level, then they should be respected well, even by the commentators.

Posted by anton1234 on (September 25, 2012, 10:27 GMT)

Yopu can say tst cricket has been around for 200 years and will be another 200. I don't agree. If people don't attend tst matched, TV companies will not pay to show matches played out in front of miniscule corwds. Even in England where you generally get biggish test crowds, no terestrial company saw it viable to bid to show it. They were lucky Sky came up with finds as usual. Sky didn't have to pay as much as they did because they had no rival bids.

Things can move very quickly. If ICC are not careful, top players from leading countries will shift to 20-20 cricket full time and who would want to watch second players in test action? Things can move very quickly. Some wealthy businessmen can set up their own league and bypass ICC altogether. There will come a time when people will be able to build their reputations in 20-20 alone. In fact, we have seen a few players move into test cricket after great performances in 20-20 cricket in recent times.

Posted by anton1234 on (September 25, 2012, 10:19 GMT)

Yes I do believe the only way test cricket will survive is to have a test championship. I think a world championship of three tiers is required, as someone suggested here. Tier A could be Australia, England, SA, WI, SL, India, Pakistan, NZ; tier B: Zim, Bangladesh, Ireland, Holland, tier C: Another four countries.

The two teams finishing in tier A team will face off in a one off test match to determine world test champions while bottom team will relegate to teir B. Top team from tier B will see promotion to tier A. Bottom team in tier B will relgate to tier C and and top team from tier C will promote to tier B.

The world championship has to be played over a two-year cycle to make it viable in my opinion 9although how fit a home and away series in a two period I don't know). Four years will be too long for countries to wait and may lose motivation in the fight for promotion/relegation. A world championship has to be quite short in order to keep context.

Posted by kiddsilver on (September 25, 2012, 8:47 GMT)

I really do think we need to a two tier system, especially in Test. With the top six playing each other twice and the top two teams of the second division once in a four year cycle. The bottom team being relegated at the end of the 4 year cycle. This will create a more competitive environment for the smaller teams as they will get two regular test playing teams to compete with regularly and motivate the bottom two teams to improve their performance so they can play/stay in the top tier.

Posted by Hommi on (September 25, 2012, 8:25 GMT)

There is no cricket but Test Cricket.. it has been there for 200 years and will last 200 years atleast :) T20 is not cricket just entertainment..

Posted by   on (September 25, 2012, 7:54 GMT)

Just like County Cricket needed two divisions, so does Test Cricket. Bangladesh and Zimbabwe are but the first two teams in the Second Division. As things stand, a lack of Tests consigns them to the bottom of the pile, a problem also afflicting New Zealand. Furthermore, it's the ONLY way first-class cricket can grow to include the USA and why not give them Second Division status at once! (There are enough quality cricketers around the world who would accept American citizenship to make it viable.) Imagine the play-offs between the bottom two 1st and two top 2nd Test Division teams! Over a period of a month or so, twelve tests to decide where they play for the next four years. Furthermore, between teams in the same division, a minimum of 3-test series with an obligation for the "Firsts" to allocate one test per year to a division 2 team. England vs USA at Lords, India vs Afghanistan at Kolkata, SA vs Ireland at the Wanderers, Netherlands vs WI at Bridgetown. I tell you, it can be done!

Posted by   on (September 25, 2012, 1:14 GMT)

Ireland wining ratio are 28% against Bangladesh and 30% against Zimbabwe. So they cant say they are similar level with these two countries and can enjoy same facility these two country enjoyed. Bangladesh wining ratio against New Zealand is 29% and 25% against West indies. If you take last 10 years stats then its 50-50 ratio with these two teams. Bangladesh is not getting similar facilities which New Zealand and West Indies enjoying. Bangladesh can challenge anybody in their home ground and can beat at least one time if they play 3/4 games. Last Asia cup Bangladesh beat both India and Sri Lanka comprehensively and lost the final in just 2 runs. What happen since than? They don't play any international match last 6 months. They even need to go to play to Jamaica Trinidad local teams to prepare for world T20. How you expect regular performance when they are not getting regular matches. They play test in every 7-8 months and everybody is asking them to performance like a regular team.

Posted by Dashgar on (September 25, 2012, 1:07 GMT)

The idea of giving Bangladesh and Zimbabwe less tests than they are currently playing is ludicrous. They are barely playing tests now and clearly need much more exposure to the format to improve. Ireland need to play more games too but they must understand that Zim and Ban are fighting for legitimacy too. Just having test status means nothing if you can't convince teams to play you and host you.

Posted by   on (September 25, 2012, 0:40 GMT)

If you don't count sub-continent then cricket has no value rest of the world.Its the main sports ( Almost Religion ) in India Pakistan Srilanka and Bangladesh. but Its not the main sports in any other country. Even Olympic committee denied to include in Olympic. If cricket wants to be a global sports then they need to change the plan and have to focus on world rather than elite 8 teams.

Posted by Meety on (September 24, 2012, 23:59 GMT)

@SirViv1973 on (September 24 2012, 16:18 PM GMT) - I would actually like to see 3-tiers of Test cricket that are NOT mutually exclusive of each other. There can be a 4-yr promotion & relegation cycle, which would depend on part performance on the pitch & partly in terms of management of the game. Tier A would play each other over 4 or 5 Tests, & they can play Tier B over 2 to 4 Tests (depending on home & away). Tier B would play each other over 4 or 5 tests, + playing againts Tier A & they could also play against Tier C in 1 or 2 Test series. Tier C would be Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Ireland & Zimbabwe. Stand out performances in WCL Div 1, would mean winners of the Intercontinental would get opportunities to play 4-day matches against teams in Tier C. Sustained good performances could see provisional Test status granted. To gain Full Test status, strong performances in Tier C coupled with good performances against Tier B, AND a good financial position would be required.

Posted by Meety on (September 24, 2012, 23:51 GMT)

@Jose Puliampatta - it is all very well to bag England for "poaching" Irish players (I don't mind the odd jibe myself), but the reality is, if it weren't for the possibility of playing Tests, players like Morgan, Rankin, Dockrell & Joyce, could whither on the vine. A bloke like Tony Johnston can rightly get up on his soap box because he wasn't good enuff to play for Oz & there is a genuine career path for him on the International stage. Would Morgan be as good as he is without access to County cricket? I don't think so.

Posted by Meety on (September 24, 2012, 23:46 GMT)

@Colm Mooney - I think the 1st step for Ireland, is for the ICC to announce that they WILL NOT take Test status off Zim & Bang. Once that monkey is off the back of Zim & Bang, combined with Provisional Test status for Ireland & Afg, the ICC can create a lower "tier" of test cricket which is essential to grow the game. Once Ireland has some form of Test status, their funding will increase, PLUS, they will have potential revenue raising avenues like a Test series v Bangladesh, which SHOULD provide some sort of sponsorship. The proposed FC structure is a great inniative (btw, on a technical point, I didn't think you could gave a FC comp without having Test status???). Ireland do have the benefit of access to the County scene - although it is a double-edged sword with the ability to play for England. I think that Ireland would be very marketable in a Test sense in Australia & England due to historical/cultural relationships.

Posted by anton1234 on (September 24, 2012, 22:41 GMT)

If Major League Baseball can get an average crowd of 31,000 night in night out (remember each team plays in excess of 160 games during the 8/9 month season), why can't a city based 20-20 league in the UK sustain itself? In Australia last year in the Big Bash League (first year of the revamped competition), they managed 18,000 average with one or two matches even getting over 40,000 people at the MCG and big crowds at the Gabba Adelaide as well.

Posted by SirViv1973 on (September 24, 2012, 21:26 GMT)

@anton1234, Im not sure I agree with your comments. There is still plenty of enthiusiam around the world for international cricket and I think if you ask the vast majority of players they still value playing for their country above anything else. Players from countries such as WI,NZL and SRL do want the opportunity to earn the big bucks of the T20 leagues but also want to play for their country look at CG if International cricket wasn't important then he would never have agreed to play for WI again after his spat with the board. Also look at KP he is desperate to play for Eng again. Im not sure I see a franchise system for T20 developing here in Eng either. The counties have always been around and I expect it to stay that way I don't believe there would ever be enough interest for a franchised T20 which lasted the whole summer. Domestic leagues are not played on the world stage and thats the reason International cricket will remain pivotal to the future of the game.

Posted by anton1234 on (September 24, 2012, 19:20 GMT)

As for this whole minnow business.The ICC really doesn't help itself. They let Kenya through the net and hasn't been proactive with Holland where there are enough local born amateur cricketers to do raise the quality of cricket there.

Posted by anton1234 on (September 24, 2012, 19:17 GMT)

To be honest, I don't forsee a future of international cricket for very long. I think 20-20 cricket will become the only form in a decade, maybe two. What will happen is there will be franchise based 20-20 leagues around the world such as the Big Bash League in Australia made up of city franchisees. At the moment it is a league of 8 cites playing only once against other teams, but it will expand to 10 and each team will play the other twice home and twice away. Players will be able to earn more money from 20-20 so will give up international cricket. The teams will be owned by companies and it will become like the MLB in the US.

The same will happen in the UK where teams like London, Manchester, Leicester, Bristol. Nottingham, etc, maybe one in Scotland Glasgow, one from Ireland will create 20-20 league played all through the summer.

Posted by imtiaz82 on (September 24, 2012, 18:04 GMT)

Bangladesh just played a T20 series in Ireland last month and won 3-0.Moreover, the entire tour cost including lodging of Bangladeshi players were paid off by Bangladesh Cricket Board. So not sure why Johnston is complaining about Bangladeshi team's willingness to participate? Infact, Bangladesh team can complain the same way about other nations, like India who hasn't hosted a single series in the last 10 years. Even a one off test match with couple of ODI would have sufficed. Finally, Ireland ,Afghanistan and Zimbabwe are decent teams but do they have similar kind of support as Bangladesh? 160 million cricket crazy population reflects in sponsorship money-- which results in better facilities in the long run.

Posted by   on (September 24, 2012, 17:41 GMT)

these teams have some amazing talent ,they desperately need a system which can give them opportunity to move higher among the top TEN for making Cricket a more global sports rather than just sub-continent or English( i.e how a non cricket playing nation look at it) sport .May be extending the full members to 15 with more frequent one on one encounters ( at it could be done for T20 ).

Posted by Noball_Specialist on (September 24, 2012, 17:39 GMT)

Do a Yoyn Morgan.

Posted by Baundele on (September 24, 2012, 17:23 GMT)

Some posters here are maintaining double standards without looking at the facts. They want Bangladesh and Zimbabwe to lose test status, and Ireland and Afganistan get it! The fact is, during the past one year Bangladesh and Zimbabwe have played only 4 and 2 tests respectively. They are not getting enough ODI matches either. So, they are basically experiencing the same problems with the ICC like Ireland. With the very limited opportunity they got Bangladesh were within 2 runs of becoming the Asian champion, beating both Sri Lanka and India, the teams the ICC favors the most in terms of matches offered. Bangladesh and Zimbabwe are better than Ireland and Afganistan even at their bad days. But that is a different issue, it is no problem if the Afgans and the Irish get test status; but it does not have to be at the cost of other test nations.

Posted by   on (September 24, 2012, 16:57 GMT)

I have to laugh when I read some of these comments specifically about the economics of the game. The ICC is not independent of the Major boards. The ICC is the member boards. It's run like any corporation with the 8 major investors--and they are going to protect their interest. They do give a lot of money away. A few hundred thousand here and there does add up to a few millions. How will you feel if someone garnished more of your wages even for a good cause? Some of the major boards hardly break even. Of the eight only 3 or 4 make any money.

Lastly, how the hell can we expect an IPL owner who paid a very large sum for a franchise to turn around and give away money. I suspect that these owners haven't even made back the money they paid for the clubs in the first place. The IPL is still very young and not without problems. It might be wise to just sit tight for now and protect what ever little gain if any at all.

Posted by braindead_rocker on (September 24, 2012, 16:34 GMT)

A good series would be Ireland, Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Zimbabwe.

Why can't Ireland organize this? This can also be organized in Bangladesh and am sure it will be a sure shot hit series!

Posted by SirViv1973 on (September 24, 2012, 16:26 GMT)

@Ultimate Power, Although this isn't BD fault I don't think too many of Ires better players were available for those series in Ire due to county commitments in Eng. If the ICC gave ltd test status and a place on the CFTP then the counties would have to release the players and such series would be hugley competitive as I think both teams would be very evenly matched in all forms.

Posted by SirViv1973 on (September 24, 2012, 16:18 GMT)

@Meety, totally agree mate have been saying for ages Ire 4 sure and maybe Afghan as well should play tests against Zim and Ban. I also think Ban & Zim should not be playing more than 1 off tests against the stronger nations certainly not away from home. I also think the ICC should look at the format of this tournament. To me it makes no sense having the so called minnows involved if your not gonna give them a fair crack of the whip. Zim were on the plane home before Eng,WI or NZL had even played a game! I think we should either have 2 pools of 6 with a round robin or maybe just have 10 teams split in2 2 pools of 5 with the pool winner going straight thru to semis and 2nd & 3rd then playing the teams from the opp pool in what would effectivly be 2 q finals, semis & final. If we had a 10 team comp then I would put Zim,Ban,Ire, Afg and 2 asssocitaes in to a qualifing tournament with the top 2 making the tournament proper.

Posted by berwickbest on (September 24, 2012, 15:32 GMT)

Unfortunately cricket has been aping football for years - money is the god & rather than investing it for the future the par is milking the profitable bits & ignoring those that don't make money.Surely to help the future some of the millions from IPL should be invested in the future or is the plan just to keep all the money as if IPL will stay the same for ever ?

Posted by mahjut on (September 24, 2012, 14:59 GMT)

as a zimbo there are bits of this rant that annoy me slightly ... we played a tourny vs Ireland only a year or so ago and beat them 2-1, in fact our record has been consistently good vs them despite us going backwards while they were going forawrds. Obviously they've come a long way and as they can attract some foreign interest (their attack today has only Dockrel in it who is Irish born) they may be able in a few years to talk of Zim being 'scared' of them (though that's real schoolboy talk). In fact I imagine Zim are every bit as frustrated with their schedule as Ireland is - playing Ireland would be fine but it's just similar strength teams playing each other when you chuck in BD...we're not too far off a tier system now are we?

Posted by   on (September 24, 2012, 13:44 GMT)

Dont think Johnston understands economics. Neither the bangladesh and definitely not the irish board have money to subsidise loss making tours such as those.

Bangladesh generally operate at a loss with their tours except for the big 3-4 countries. Hence the amount of T20s or ODIs.

Posted by   on (September 24, 2012, 13:43 GMT)

ICC and its god father BCCI has no interest in promoting cricket in associated countries. If Ireland get proper exposure they can regularly beat teams like Bangladesh, and England.

Posted by   on (September 24, 2012, 13:42 GMT)

Dont think Johnston understands economics. Neither the bangladesh and definitely not the irish board have money to subsidise loss making tours such as those.

Bangladesh generally operate at a loss with their tours except for the big 3-4 countries. Hence the amount of T20s or ODIs.

Posted by eyballfallenout on (September 24, 2012, 13:12 GMT)

I always thought, these guys Island, BD Zim etc could easy do the warm up games with touring sides, or even tour to places like Australia and play against the state teams, they would have a great chance against them and also play against some very quality players. But most of all i think a 2 level system so these guys can play proper test series against each other with the top team moving up. They need regular test cricket to improve.

Posted by   on (September 24, 2012, 13:09 GMT)

you welcome too come to pakistan and play but you wont.

Posted by Faridoon on (September 24, 2012, 12:52 GMT)

I think that D/L for T20 games needs to relaz a little more. If there is a rain interruptions, they should give the rain 75 minutes to subside before taking a decision. Only 11 more overs remained to be bowled in teh AUs-WI game, which needs less than one hour to bowl. I don't know how long it rained in their match but since it is a shorter game, tolerance for resumption can be a little longer.

Posted by   on (September 24, 2012, 12:40 GMT)

The minimum, England can do is to stop poaching good Irish players. Morgan should have been captaining Ireland, instead of propping up the middle of his employer England. In league cricket it is OK, but inter-NATIONAL cricket? Otherwise what is the meaning of INTERNATIONAL? You should represent your NATION. As the footballers do.

Posted by arkkrish on (September 24, 2012, 11:47 GMT)

The way ICC is trying to add more nations into the cricketing world is so not gonna work. Test cricket is the toughest form of cricket. If someone excels in Test cricket, then they will be able to play at all levels. Instead of pushing associate nations to play just T20 cricket, the ICC should find a way to conduct more Test matches between these associate nations. Not with a full member test nations (the top 8). Playing for 5 days and bowling more than 400 overs will give them enough experience than playing a whole T20 tournament (which becomes just 2 matches in the end).

Posted by shaantanu on (September 24, 2012, 11:44 GMT)

hmm....if you want cricket to spread and not give newer teams enough exposure in the int circuit how do you plan to spread the game to make it more organising more and more meaningless India SL series i suppose

Posted by Baundele on (September 24, 2012, 11:39 GMT)

The problem is with the ICC FTP; cricket is not much of a concern when they prepare it; the only thing they care is a short-term money. Like Ireland, Bangladesh is also at the receiving end of the ICC's pathetic policies. Cricket has its own constraints (time, cost etc.) and such short-term money policies of the ICC does not help making it a global sport.

Posted by Marcio on (September 24, 2012, 11:06 GMT)

It must be frustrating. And Ireland have been sitting around for the best part of a week since the AUS game. Not great for them. Hope they spring a surprise against the WI, but very unlikely!

Posted by sidds86 on (September 24, 2012, 10:06 GMT)

@Beanolabub: I am not sure if that can be implemented, but I must say that its a very simple and yet great idea. Would definitely give them more matches..

Posted by   on (September 24, 2012, 9:24 GMT)

I agree that they should get a lot more game time against better teams. We see the same thing in rugby where the developing teams get hammered by the elite teams like the All Blacks because they are not used to playing at that level. If the semi-professional teams are given more game time against better teams then we might see more better quality games when it comes to tournament play.

Posted by swesterh on (September 24, 2012, 9:17 GMT)

If Ireland didn't feel they were too good for the CB40, they'd have had 12 list-A matches this summer...

Posted by ronnie22 on (September 24, 2012, 9:11 GMT)

Spot-on comments from a great player. It's high time that those in "authority" recognised there are now many decent international sides in the world and no longer the favoured few. Greater involvement by mor eteams can only do the sport good. Just look at what the huge involvement of football sides has done and how many players from "lesser" countries there now are in top teams around the world. Simple fact for any sports team: the more yiou play at a decent level the better you become - and the more likely your players are less inclined to try to requalify for another country perhaps ? The ICC needs to pull its collective fingers out for the future of the game.

Posted by   on (September 24, 2012, 9:01 GMT)

Irish cricket needs help from England and from nations touring. The Irish have got a good team, and we need to stop pinching their best players.

Anyone who comes to tour England should have to play a three-day or four-day game against Ireland, and an ODI as a warm up.

Ireland also needs at least one and preferably two sides playing in the County Championship.

Posted by   on (September 24, 2012, 8:56 GMT)

@ FieryFerg Ireland attack has George Dockrell, as one commentator said. Possibly one of the best talents in spin bowling in world cricket. it isn't just Irish cricket, but world cricket he put him up with. Teams would murder to have him.

In Boyd Rankin we have a genuine pace bowler, and granted the rest aren't very fast, but they make up for it with their accuracy and disciplined lines.

If BD are so much better then us, how come all three games came down to the last ball.

@Ricky, Ireland have plans to have a 3/4 team FC system in place by next year. Having heard plans for it, it sounds mightily impressive

How can we improve if not given more games, funding is the only reason we can't invite more sides over. Test sides receive 9-10million, Ireland receives 325,000. With that we got to try achieve all our growth. While Test sides get so much, while their systems and structures are sound. They should spend more at associate level where its needed. It's a miracle associate survive

Posted by crashed on (September 24, 2012, 8:50 GMT)

Let there be two goals to play for. The first is the 20/20 International World cup and attached to that a plate fior the non qualifiers. Same so with the ODI World cup. A plate competiution will allow the "minnows" to play against each other and thus not only face the other teams tp play against each other but will also see that all the training and effort is not wasted after only 2 matches is being played. This way the associates can be more representative and their work and training would be towards a goal. Yes they will get a chance to play against the sronger teams and if lknocked out they will still have a chance to prove themselves against similar strength teams in a second competition. As for shortened 20/20 games i agree with those stating that there is no sense in shorten it since it takes only so much time to complete 20 overs a side.

Posted by 1_234 on (September 24, 2012, 8:42 GMT)

So true by Johnston.

The performance of ICC is very poor that they could not produce another test nation. Take test status back from BD and grant to Ireland and Afghanistan. BD could not win in so many year, have that been Ireland or Afghanistan they might have been developed in to true test nations.

Posted by Beanolabub on (September 24, 2012, 8:36 GMT)

I still think that when teams tour England, they should play their warm-up games against the likes of Ireland, Scotland and Holland (3 or 4 dayers) - teams would get a more meaningful match.

It would be also be nice if they could set up and annual 5 nations T20 or ODI tournament (or heaven forbid a test match one!) - give the players experience in playing TOURNAMENT cricket, not just a "series" of matches.

Posted by Irelandcricketfan on (September 24, 2012, 8:02 GMT)

The man is an absolute hero, who lays himself on the line time and again for his adopted country. Here, as with his persistently nagging bowling, he is accuracy personified. I only hope for a good showing this afternoon.

Posted by   on (September 24, 2012, 8:00 GMT)

u ppl r fighter bangladesh log time playing but nowhere near international standard accept few rare performance but dont any hope from these bangla team i have seen u irish team doing well in few years and ur good team on ur day u can beat any team.

Posted by banhire on (September 24, 2012, 7:32 GMT)

Whoever says ireland is better than zim and bangladesh must be ignorant of facts, last 5 ODI's btwn ireland and zim dwwwl for zim including the 160 run defeat for ireland and in just some few months back bangladesh humbled ireland in ireland in t20s

Posted by Smithie on (September 24, 2012, 7:24 GMT)

Zim is BCCI poodle on the ICC so you cannot expect Mr Cement to allow that benefit to be squandered through Ireland getting full Test status.

Posted by bobagorof on (September 24, 2012, 5:23 GMT)

@Ahmed Hussain - fair enough that Rugby, Tennis and football may be more popular (or more widely popular) than Cricket, and that may even be because they are 'structured properly', but the rest of your comment doesn't make much sense to me. "The only reasons these 'minnows' are not as strong as the top teams is because they're new to Cricket and don't have a valuable history in the sport" - well, that's hardly a surprise. Not many teams become top teams immediately after entering a sport. The reason these 'minnows' are not as strong is because they don't get to play matches, which is Johnston's point - it has less to do with the history in the sport because Ireland, Bangladesh and Zimbabwe have been around for 20-odd years. Sri Lanka won a World Cup in that time. As for the '8 team cup', there have been a few upsets that show it is more than just 8 teams (remember Kenya getting to the Super 6's in 2003?). Unfortunately it's become a bit protectionist since then, to its detriment.

Posted by Bulluf on (September 24, 2012, 5:13 GMT)

Ireland need to be proactive and leave the intercontennal cup and pursuit harder cricket like they did with South Africa A and playing full member A sides show the icc your keen for test status. Bangladesh and Zimbabwe dont have enough cricket the icc should step in and say look play a series with ireland and co. Trent Johnstons right 2 no team should be called a minnow. The top 8 should be called the elite the Next 8 should be called the semi professionals and the rest should be called developing nations

Posted by Narbavi on (September 24, 2012, 4:48 GMT)

Surely this Irish team can beat zimbabwe and bangladesh easily and also they can give srilanka a run for their money, no doubt quality team, got to feel gutted for them!!

Posted by jonesy2 on (September 24, 2012, 4:34 GMT)

hmm, here an idea, maybe kevin pieterson can play for ireland! and johnston should have played for england. from what i saw he is better than the likes of bresnan and broad, certainly dernbach.

Posted by   on (September 24, 2012, 3:54 GMT)

Well..first of all ...Trent made a wrong statement ..Bangladesh whitewashed them a month ago in a 3 match series in Ireland!!! What more does he want ..they got whitewashed in Dhaka as well..I know Bangladesh have not been consistent enough. Bangladesh got test status also because of their domestic structure required at test level. After India, Bangladesh is the biggest cricket crazy nation. We all back our team no matter what. Do Irish people have time for cricket to watch? Same used to be said for Kenya..But now where is Kenya after the Tikolo era???Same will happen with Ireland too. U can argue tht they play county but then again if anybody rises England will make him their own like Morgan.So, Trent you need another white wash rubbing from BD before u retire in peace..

Posted by RyanHarrisGreatCricketer on (September 24, 2012, 3:46 GMT)

i agree. there is no point in inviting these associate countries to world cups if u are not going to do anything in between to give them a chance to improve

Posted by SpitFire on (September 24, 2012, 3:34 GMT)

The problem is not with Bangladesh or Zimbabwe, even they lack fixtures against top teams. Last summer Bangladesh invited New Zealand and they refused to play, they were also scared after that 4-0 thrash. However, I do understand the woes of Johnston, these commentators actually demoralise the cricketers calling them minnows. Bangladesh board paid from their own pocket to go play a practice traingular with Zim and SAF and those too were unofficial matches. The problem faced by the Irish are the same problem faced by Bangladesh. What ICC can do is lock the teams with close vicinity in ranking that they can play teams of two ranks higher than the team. For example, Bangladesh should play with NZL and WI only (for tests & ODIs), similarly, Ireland can play Zim and Bangladesh. As a Bangladeshi fan, I think this should be the best solution to provide all the teams with enough exposure in international arena.

Posted by Htc-Android on (September 24, 2012, 3:34 GMT)

@Ahmed hussain. i agree with you mate. just wait and watch the 8 team world cup will come down to 6 team world cup. new zealand and windies are already fading away and losing interest on the game. as long as ICC is there cricket will never spread across the world. they will keep on wasting all the promising new teams and play 100 meaningless test matches between top teams.

Posted by   on (September 24, 2012, 1:19 GMT)

Now I'll give this to them--- they play very hard fought brave cricket and often punch above their weight. There are a few promising players among their ranks. They might not be the most skilled but they make up for it with grit and determination. We can all agree the shorter the format the smaller the odds of a lesser skilled team pulling off the upset if any of the top teams have an off-day. If Ireland was to play England or Pakistan whom they upset in world events 100 times each, I doubt they'll be able to win 3 games combined of the 200 total completed matches. I doubt they'll be able to win in double digits if their opponents were Zim and Bang. They are making noise to play test. I doubt the matches will go beyond day 3. AND THAT MY FRIENDS ARE THE FACTS.

Posted by   on (September 24, 2012, 1:18 GMT)

You don't just jump in the ring with the heavy weights and get your brains bashed in and never fight again. NO! there's a proven worn path to sustainable success. You train and fight lesser boxers to hone your skills and you step up to opponents gradually. Just like Sri Lanka did I can't remember them fussing one bit as Ireland do.

The record books will be rewritten every match and some of them will be meaningless if they were to play test. The last thing cricket want is to be associated with the word meaningless such as some of the meaningless matches we've been having in this world cup. IT HURTS THE GAME.

Posted by   on (September 24, 2012, 1:16 GMT)

Ireland has got to work and earn their way up. They need to show sustainability for generations to come long after this crop of current cricketers are long gone. They need to develop and sustain a feeder program firstly (first class cricket). Then there are the other logistical elements like being able to provide grounds and pitches fit for international cricket. A sustainable fan base, sponsorship and a steady stream of revenue mainly TV contract to sustain the program. When the ICC is confident they can sustain a program they will invite them in. Ireland are looking at it the wrong way they should invite and welcome home and away A or B tours rather than fussing about the ICC fixture set in stone for decades. I don't think the cricket public in India will pay to see India devour Ireland in 2 days of a test match. Both teams will gain zero in my opinion. It will hurt and water down international cricket more than it can help; hence, the effort to exclude the minnows in WC.

Posted by   on (September 24, 2012, 1:10 GMT)

Are you kidding me? Does Trent Johnston really believe that Ireland is in the class of the bottom half or quarter of the top test-playing nations? I really believe he's mainly using this as an opportunity to fire up the troops against the WI tomorrow. LETS SHOW THEM WE BELONG. I furthermore don't think they or anyone should take exception to the fact that an infant cricketing brother is being referred to as "minnows" it is a cricketing jargon that has been used prior to refer to infant developing cricket nations and it is quite a befitting euphemism and I find nothing derogatory with it in this context.

Posted by Meety on (September 24, 2012, 0:44 GMT)

@Abhishek Adhikary - I am an Ozzy who has toured your country & I have seen first hand the following cricket has (at least with young kids). I do not believe that anybody is holding back Nepal though. Administartors in your own country need to get more pro-active. Look at Afghanistan - they have everything against them, an unstable country & had no facilities, but on talent alone they have overtaken Nepal to be at the highest level below Test status. There are great signs for Nepal though, 2 years ago your team got promoted to WCL Div 4 & just recently went undefeated into WCL Div 3. However, to really be on the path to greater exposure, you need to get thru to Div 2 & then Div 1. Afghansitan in less than a decade went from Div 7 to Div 1, so the template is there.

Posted by Dashgar on (September 24, 2012, 0:42 GMT)

The ICC needs to communicate much better to Bangladesh, Zimbabwe and the associates about what their status and potential to rise and fall is. If the weaker test teams are given assurances on their test status they won't have to fear these games. They never are though. The ICC never wants to the lower ranked teams at all and I don't know why. You can't blame Zim and Ban because every time Ireland beat one of the big nations it is their status that is questioned. Not the team that actually lost the game. Think of the world cup when Ireland beat England, people called for Ireland to REPLACE Bangladesh in tests. Yet in the same tournament Bangladesh beat both England and Ireland. The unfairness goes both ways. ICC is to blame.

Posted by Meety on (September 24, 2012, 0:33 GMT)

@jackthelad on (September 23 2012, 18:12 PM GMT) - I can see why the likes of TJ would dislike the term "minnow", however, I think it is MEANT to acknowledge the fact that infrastructure is not at the same level of the established Test nations. The fact is Bangladesh does not have a FC structure near as good as say Oz, Eng or India - & so the term is a loose one size fits all description of teams that will battle to compete with the top level sides. There is a great article by Kimber currently on this site on the topic, it was only about 17 years ago, Sri Lanka were considered a "minnow". They won a W/Cup as a "minnow" & since have gone onto win test series & be runners up in several more W/Cups. @MattyP1979 on (September 23 2012, 18:23 PM GMT) - I think England's 9/60 against arguably the worst attack in the world, should mean England get relegated to Associate status - any takers????????

Posted by Meety on (September 24, 2012, 0:24 GMT)

Johnston has a point, but I feel it is a little misdirected. Zim & Bang should play Ireland & Afghanistan more as IMO it is mutually beneficial. In a hypothetical 5 game ODI series between Bangladesh & Ireland, I would expect Bangladesh to win 3-2. This would mean that Bangladesh would be playing against a team that is comparable in skill to their own, & must provide some sort of a boost compared to losing 4-1, or 5nil as they may well do against a top flight test team. The fact is, Bangladesh& Zimbabwe do not have as many matches inthe FTP schedule. I fully believe the IZZ should give provisional Test status to Ireland & Afghanistan. This would be a "license" to play Tests against Bangladesh & Zim only. This could easily add between 2 to 6 tests per year to the Zim & Bang calender where they currently barely play that many in any given year. IMO - that would be a win/win for all 4 countries.

Posted by   on (September 23, 2012, 23:42 GMT)

I strongly agree with Trent...Bangladesh and Zimbabwe have been around for ages & what have they done? they were at the bottom of the table in the 90s and they are at the bottom of the table now..ICC should decide whether they want cricket to be a global game or a game played within the commonwealth states??This issue can only be solved if ICC divides league of 8 teams at 9 levels..ICC already has division 1 to division 8 so why not have division elite(or whatever name one may give) and make relegation a possibility..this will allow teams to be promoted and play more games or be relegated..other issue that hampers growth of upcoming countries is cricket is perhaps only international game where in u can field 10 tourist players. I am not trying to be ultra nationalist here but how can a country sustain its cricket like that?? I am from Nepal and its sad that our progress is halted by countries who play tourists..ICC needs to be proactive and make cricket more competitive and open to all

Posted by Htc-Android on (September 23, 2012, 22:34 GMT)

ireland should play one dayers regularly against top team. may when teams tour england. give 2 matches for ireland. or england can arrange a tri series along with another top team and ireland. if they dont play matches thay cant impress the crowds in ireland.

Posted by   on (September 23, 2012, 22:14 GMT)

That's why sports like Football, Rugby, Tennis etc are much more popular than Cricket because its structured properly and has more teams and players from many countries unlike Cricket. Johnstone is absolutely right about this 'minnow' tag because its rude and the only reasons these 'minnows' are not as strong as the top teams is because they're new to Cricket and don't have a valuable history in the sport. Only 8 teams of more than 200 play Cricket full time so that shows how much the rest of the world i.e. USA, China, South America, North Africa, Most of Europe etc dislike the sport. Instead of calling it the "World Cup", should instead call it an "8 Team" lol cup so fans of the other sports who are not fond of Cricket can see what state Cricket is truly at :)

Posted by anton111 on (September 23, 2012, 22:04 GMT)

Take a tour of the Caribbean. The individual territories of Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, Barbados and Guyana will more than give you good first class and T 20 competition

Posted by bluefunk on (September 23, 2012, 21:46 GMT)

the irish are a lot better than bangladesh, and zim on current form. bd only got test status on the back of one victory over pak in WC '99, whom they haven't beat even once since. go irish!

Posted by   on (September 23, 2012, 21:31 GMT)

No. Wi would go through since they have a better run rate .

Posted by Saim93 on (September 23, 2012, 21:23 GMT)

Im sure anyone would feel insulted to be called a minnow, associate is the actual word

Posted by FreddyForPrimeMinister on (September 23, 2012, 21:09 GMT)

Really interesting and heartfelt comments from Trent Johnston. I think he's probably right, though I also feel that matches with other countries will be a good stepping stone. Personally I'd like to see two Test divisions of 8 teams. Zim and Bangladesh would be in Div 2 now (sorry guys!) but there could be room for promotion to the 1st division (with probably no relegation) every 3-4 years. That way the associate nations (plus Zim and Bang) can see a real means of being able to progress, which has to help them develop the game in their respective nations. Good luck to Ireland meantime - my Irish grandma will be cheering you on from up above no doubt! :)

Posted by aariej on (September 23, 2012, 20:10 GMT)

@laxmanrules- WI will qualify ahead of ireland on nrr if there is no game.

Posted by warneneverchuck on (September 23, 2012, 19:15 GMT)

Ireland can definitely beat so called test team BD and zim

Posted by westindian4life on (September 23, 2012, 19:08 GMT)

Why don't Ireland play against the A teams of the major countries...Why won't Ireland play a 20 20 tournament against Trinidad, Afghistan and Barbados like Bangladesh did?..because they are afraid that they loose and thats a fact !...Bangladesh got beaten by an understrength Trinidad team in a 20 20 warm up competition for the World 20 20...the only way to get better os to play lots of cricket against good opposition...Ireland should try to play in the upcoming Caribbean 20 20 and or in the Regional four day tournament coming up .....

Posted by VijayaBhaskarDK on (September 23, 2012, 19:00 GMT)

Common windies you can win this tournament. I personally feel rampaul is not a good option, We have seen in multiple tournaments, his economy rate in T20 is very poor.instead of rampaul we can go with Badree. Pollard should be given with more balls to bat. Instead of smith, russel can be given a chance who is powerful hitter & helpful slow bowler .smith is just a blind hitter, doesn't have consistency. Gayle & Charles can open the innings.

Good luck windies for winning this worldcup.

Posted by recycle-bin-is-empty on (September 23, 2012, 18:57 GMT)

Minnow is indeed a disrespectful word, thats why I never say that in my comment to any team. You can call them associates but calling minnow is unwarranted. BDW good luck Ireland and WI, hopefully tomm. match will be an intense and highly entertaining one.

Posted by SagirParkar on (September 23, 2012, 18:57 GMT)

more power to Johnston and his ilk.. and countries in similar position as Ireland.. i sincerely do wish that Afghanistan, Ireland, Netherlands and other improving countries get more exposure and experience...

Posted by FieryFerg on (September 23, 2012, 18:54 GMT)

As a Scotland fan I can appreciate what he's saying but I don't think Ireland help themselves by crying out for Test status. They're a decent one day outfit but they're bowling is woefully inadequate for longer form games where you actually have to bowl sides out - defensive medium pace won't do. The Afghans might do better as they do actually have a reasonable pace attack - better than some Test sides on the evidence here.

Posted by laxmanrules on (September 23, 2012, 18:33 GMT)

What happens if there is no game? Do Ireland go through?

Posted by Akshaythekaxk on (September 23, 2012, 18:28 GMT)

He is right...BD and Zim shuud play against them

Posted by   on (September 23, 2012, 18:26 GMT)

Greatest statements ever! As a Bermudian cricketer I'm disgusted at the segregation and special treatment cricket gives to test playing nations. Especially as their is no clear cut path for any of us to play at top level cricket on ANY level. No other sport has this country club membership style governance. It's a disgrace to international sport, cricket should not be allowed to use the words WORLD or INTERNATIONAL any longer util they use a football type of membership system

Posted by cricketWI on (September 23, 2012, 18:23 GMT)

I personally don't think Ireland will be a push over in this up-coming clash. Both teams are aware of their chances.

Posted by MattyP1979 on (September 23, 2012, 18:23 GMT)

Got to agree with his comments here. Why not have Irl/Ban/Afgan/Zim/NZ/Aus play more regular. After the famed 2 year cycle, award 'Test' status to the best 2 teams. Test cricket seems to be too much an elite club where it is extremly difficvult to get in and near impossible to get thrown out. Other teams deserve their chance and the ICC need to find a way to get more countries involved at the highest level. It gives associate countries something to strive for.

Posted by ExtremeSpeed on (September 23, 2012, 18:17 GMT)

That's why sports like Football, Rugby, Tennis etc are much more popular than Cricket because its structured properly and has more teams and players from many countries unlike Cricket. Johnstone is absolutely right about this 'minnow' tag because its rude and the only reasons these 'minnows' are not as strong as the top teams is because they're new to Cricket and don't have a valuable history in the sport. Only 8 teams of more than 200 play Cricket full time so that shows how much the rest of the world i.e. USA, China, South America, North Africa, Most of Europe etc dislike the sport. Instead of calling it the "World Cup", should instead call it an "8 Team" lol cup so fans of the other sports who are not fond of Cricket can see what state Cricket is truly at :)

Posted by   on (September 23, 2012, 18:15 GMT)

If I was Irish, I would take heart from the first edition of the T20WC in South Africa; again, Windies batted first; again, they posted a formidable score; again, they bowled horribly; again they lost their first match which they should have won... They then limped out versus Bangladesh, another match they should have won, especially as they had begun as a surety for the second round, too!

Posted by jackthelad on (September 23, 2012, 18:12 GMT)

'Minnows' certainly is a disrespectful term, these teams with smaller player bases, less experience and, perhaps, fewer high-quality players still give all they can to cricket, and should be allowed some dignity. Press writers are in general too quick to jump on chunks of preformed text (which allows them to shirk their responsibility to report and discuss accurately) instead of thinking about particular situations and coming up with appropriate and interesting language and analysis. So, good on you, Ed, and writers - take his very pertinent comments on board, yes?

Posted by supporter_of_minnows on (September 23, 2012, 18:10 GMT)

its not Bangladesh and zimbabwe's fault either as they wanna play the top 8s but they also dont get enough fixtures!! they just cant spend the year by playin most of the year with associates!!

Posted by   on (September 23, 2012, 18:09 GMT)

Trent Johnston has a point here. The Irish are a potential powerhouse in the making. Their bowlers seem strong and accurate and theyve got the big hitters needed for a t20 game. I like seeing the Irish do well but against the likes of Gayle, Samuels and Polard tomorrrow, I dont see that happening !

Posted by SLfan on (September 23, 2012, 18:02 GMT)

I think Jhonston is spot on regarding the reason that why Zimbabwe and Bangladesh don't want to play with Ireland. I would rate Ireland ahead of those 2 nations any day, simply because of the 'Big Heart' they always show in the field...As a Sri Lankan, I would love if SLC can arrange a series with Ireland because we should encourage this kind of spirited teams who really impressed the world within a very short period. I know that our cricketers will never hesitate to play with Ireland because they know what's the 'SPIRIT' means... Good Luck Ireland !

Posted by Ultimate Power XI on (September 23, 2012, 17:59 GMT)

Utter Rubish to say BD is scared of Ireland.Over the last two years BD has toured Ireland twice, Most recent being the T20 series (in which BD defeated them 3-0). Therefore it is hypocritical to say BD does not want to play Ireland. Although I would like to see Irleand cricket develop further and gain the Test status soon,I believe this type of comment will not any further support from BCB and the BD fans.

Posted by Realfighters on (September 23, 2012, 17:57 GMT)

He has legitimate reason to complain. Ireland always play good cricket but never get enough chance to play a series. How do u expect them to win against big team if they play in every four years. Kenya showed promise once but never get enough support from icc. Bangladesh's warm up match was also against zimbabwe and ireland. When india, srilanka, england playing 100 match per year, this associates and bd and zim team rarely get chance to play a big series. Icc should distribute equal number of matches among all members.

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David Hopps David Hopps joined ESPNcricinfo as UK editor early in 2012. For the previous 20 years he was a senior cricket writer for the Guardian and covered England extensively during that time in all Test-playing nations. He also covered four Olympic Games and has written several cricket books, including collections of cricket quotations. He has been an avid amateur cricketer since he was 12, and so knows the pain of repeated failure only too well. The pile of untouched novels he plans to read, but rarely gets around to, is now almost touching the ceiling. He divides his time between the ESPNcricinfo office in Hammersmith and his beloved Yorkshire.
Tournament Results
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West Indies won by 36 runs
Australia v West Indies at Colombo (RPS) - Oct 5, 2012
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Sri Lanka v Pakistan at Colombo (RPS) - Oct 4, 2012
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India v South Africa at Colombo (RPS) - Oct 2, 2012
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Australia v Pakistan at Colombo (RPS) - Oct 2, 2012
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