Ireland news November 9, 2010

Joyce cleared to represent Ireland at World Cup

ESPNcricinfo staff

Former England batsman Ed Joyce has been cleared to represent Ireland at the World Cup in February next year after being granted a special dispensation by the ICC. However, ex-New Zealand international Hamish Marshall's request to be allowed to play has been denied, meaning he won't be eligible to play for Ireland until April.

Both players last played international cricket for their respective former countries at the 2007 edition of the World Cup, and under normal ICC regulations would not have become eligible to play for Ireland in official ODIs until April next year. Looking to strengthen their squad, Ireland asked the ICC earlier this year to allow a slight shortening of the usual four-year qualification period to allow both to take part in the World Cup.

"Ed was granted permission for his four-year standout period to be slightly reduced so that he could compete in the World Cup," explained an ICC spokesperson. "This was done on the basis of exceptional circumstances and the unique facts of his specific case, which included his Irish background and his very strong ties to Irish cricket from childhood up to senior national representation."

"It's obviously tremendous news," said Joyce, who had already joined Ireland on a pre-World Cup training camp in India. "Playing for Ireland again is something I've given a lot of thought to over the last few years and to be given the opportunity to do so, a little earlier than expected and on the biggest stage, is absolutely fantastic.

"Having seen the talent and work ethic of the squad over the last week or so in India, I feel Ireland will, once again, make a huge impact at the World Cup and I look forward to hopefully offering a lot to the team in the tournament and the whole of 2011."

Joyce, 32, was one of Ireland's strongest batsmen at ICC Trophy level, scoring 758 runs in 14 matches between 2001 and 2005 at an average of 84.22. He had played in 50 games for Ireland - the last of which was in the ICC Trophy final against Scotland in July 2005 - before he switched allegiance to England and made his one-day international debut against his former team at Belfast in June 2006.

"It's a huge boost to have Ed available for the World Cup, adding to the selectors' headaches in an already strong squad - but that's a nice problem to have," said Ireland coach Phil Simmons. "Of course, it would have been fantastic to have both Ed and Hamish available, but it's not to be.

"I've seen first hand over the past 10 days here in Pune just what hard working and talented players both are. Their dediciation and professionalism is evident for all to see, and everyone has responded positively to their being with us. I feel very sorry for Hamish, but this squad will be at other big tournaments - of that I'm certain."

Marshall, 31, was born in Auckland and played the last of 66 ODIs against Ireland at the 2007 World Cup. He subsequently turned down a New Zealand contract so that he could continue his county career with Gloucestershire as a non-overseas player and also joined the ICL. But in April this year he made clear his intentions to qualify for Ireland as an Irish passport holder, and is also eyeing a coaching role in Irish cricket.

"Cricket Ireland is delighted to welcome back Ed to the fold again, and we are sure he will make a massive contribution to the squad," said chief executive Warren Deutrom. "We regret that Hamish has missed out on this occasion, but we have no doubt he will play a huge part in future World Cups and we are looking forward to him taking the field against England at the RSA Challenge ODI next August in Dublin.

"We would like to thank the ICC for its positive consideration of the case for Ed, and express our special appreciation to both the England and Wales Cricket Board and New Zealand Cricket for their great cooperation and generosity throughout this process in terms of facilitating Ireland to have its best possible squad at the sport's showcase event."