Ed Joyce hopes for early Ireland switch
Cricket Ireland are aiming to fast-track the requalification of Ed Joyce in time for next year's World Cup.
Joyce, 31, played 50 times for Ireland between 1997 and 2005 and was widely recognised as the finest batsman in the country. His desire to play Test cricket led him to qualify for England, but his opportunities were limited to the one-day arena, and he played the last of his 17 ODIs for England against Sri Lanka in the 2007 World Cup.
With the 2011 World Cup scheduled for February Joyce would be just short of the four-year period that he would normally have to serve but Cricket Ireland are seeking an exemption from the ICC.
"When I made the decision in 2001 to try and play for England, it was with a view to trying to play Test cricket which is the pinnacle of the game and which of course Ireland doesn't play," said Joyce. "While I strongly believe I'm good enough to play Test cricket for England, I've taken the decision now to try and play for Ireland again. There are a few reasons for this, with the most obvious being that I'm a born and bred Irishman.
"Secondly, I feel I have a lot to offer to Irish cricket. I had a very successful 2009 with Sussex winning the Most Valuable Player award for the Friends Provident trophy and also two winners medals in theTwenty20 Cup and Nat West Pro40 competition.
"I feel I'm playing the best cricket of my career and would like to bring this form with me to help Ireland be even more successful on the world stage, a success which I am committed to running in tandem with my Sussex career, in the same way that other Irish players have satisfied club and country commitments really well."
Phil Simmons, the Ireland coach, welcomed the news and hopes that Joyce's experience will add to the development of Irish cricket.
"It's fantastic news that Ed has decided to play for Ireland again," he said. "He's a superb cricketer and will be a great boost to have a player of his calibre in the team. It's a really exciting development and will further strengthen our squad. He brings quality and experience, and those are two very welcome attributes for a coach."