ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 / News

England v Ireland, World Cup 2011, Group B, Bangalore

Contented Cusack cherishes upset

Brydon Coverdale in Bangalore

March 3, 2011

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Alex Cusack was the foundation of Ireland's innings with a man-of-the-match winning 65, United Arab Emirates v Afghanistan, ICC World Twenty20 Qualifier, Super Four, Dubai, February 13, 2010
Unlike other Irish cricketers, Alex Cusack does not covet a county contract © International Cricket Council

In 2007, when Ireland were celebrating the other great triumph in their cricket history, Alex Cusack was still a carpenter by trade. Originally a Brisbane boy, he had two years earlier packed up his chisel and saw, his bat and helmet, and swapped the Queensland sun for the Dublin drizzle.

And on that St Patrick's Day, like many of his countrymen, he was watching Ireland stun the cricket world with victory over Pakistan in the World Cup. Four years later, he has played a key role in another joyous day for the cricket fans back home.

"I was sitting at home on the couch in Dublin, glued to the television. It's quite incredible looking back on it now," Cusack says. "Now I have a full-time cricket contract. If I never have to go back to a building site I'll be happy."

Cusack, 30, is softly spoken, and like his older Ireland team-mate Trent Johnston, he hasn't lost much of his Australian accent. The morning after the win over England he reflected on the part he played in a 162-run partnership with Kevin O'Brien, the star of the match.

"He was hitting them so well that I thought if I could just get the singles and get him on strike and chip in with a two or a four or whatever as well, that would keep the partnership ticking," he says. "I was just trying to play straight and get bat on ball. If anything was up there I was going to have a go at it."

And that's what Cusack the carpenter did, chipping away and building an innings of 47 that, by the time he was run out, left Ireland needing 55 more from 51 balls. He walked off to cheers from the Irish fans at Chinnaswamy Stadium, and watched the rest of the victory unfold.

"Everyone in the rooms was cheering every run," he says. "The boys were 100% behind them. It was very nervy as well, but we just had a feeling at the end there that we were going to do it, it was going to be our day.

"Kevin's done it before, big innings like that in county cricket, I think it was against Hampshire he got 93 off about the same amount of balls. He's definitely got the ability, and once he's hitting them like that he's hard to stop."

But unlike some others in the Ireland side, Cusack, who got his passport because his father is Irish, is in no hurry to pursue a career in county cricket. He's happy sticking with Clontarf Cricket Club in Dublin.

"We've got the full-time contract with Cricket Ireland now, so there's no need for me to be trying to play county cricket," Cusack says. "I think they play too much cricket anyway. I'm happy enough with what I'm doing, it's a great ride. If I can keep it going for a few more years, all well and good.

"They play every bloody day. You look at other cricket like Australian cricket, they don't play anywhere near as much in state cricket. It's a lot of cricket to be playing, and then on top of that if you play for Ireland, I don't know how the boys do it."

Cusack is just happy to be an international cricketer and this week, the Irish fans are pleased he came to their country.

Brydon Coverdale is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

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Posted by Andrew on (March 4, 2011, 0:41 GMT)

Large chunk of Oz heritage is from Ireland, only fitting we give them a bit of their sporting success in return.

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Brydon Coverdale Assistant Editor Possibly the only person to win a headline-writing award for a title with the word "heifers" in it, Brydon decided agricultural journalism wasn't for him when he took up his position with ESPNcricinfo in Melbourne. His cricketing career peaked with an unbeaten 85 in the seconds for a small team in rural Victoria on a day when they could not scrounge up 11 players and Brydon, tragically, ran out of partners to help him reach his century. He is also a compulsive TV game-show contestant and has appeared on half a dozen shows in Australia.
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