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May 29, 2011
Trent Johnston, the Ireland allrounder, has stressed on the importance of beating Pakistan in the second ODI in Belfast, saying that another Full-Member scalp will strengthen Ireland's case to be considered for the 2015 World Cup. Ireland are 0-1 down in the two-match series after losing the first game, in which they were dismissed for 96, by seven wickets.
"It's important we put in a performance because Ireland and the next World Cup are in the limelight," Johnston told the BBC. "The issue is on the tips of people's tongues that the Associates and Ireland should be allowed a qualification process [for the 2015 World Cup]. Because of that we really need to keep the fire burning and produce a performance against Pakistan.
"We know it is not the be all and end all, because we have been consistent in our performances for a while now and think we deserve a chance. But at the same time we can help our cause if we beat Pakistan tomorrow and get another Full-Member scalp."
The ICC will re-evaluate its decision to limit participation in the 2015 World Cup to the Full Members at its annual conference in June, after there was widespread criticism over their move to axe the Associates from one-day cricket's showpiece event. Ireland were the best Associate team in the 2011 World Cup, beating England and Netherlands, and running West Indies and Bangladesh close.
Ireland's cause, and that of the Associates, received a boost at a recent meeting of the ICC's Cricket Committee, which unanimously supported a qualification system for the 2015 World Cup. Johnston was the Associates representative at the meeting at Lord's and was encouraged by what he heard.
"It was pretty resounding among the people at the meeting that they were happy with a 10-team World Cup, but they were uncomfortable with it being a closed-shop," he said. "The consensus was that it is unfair and that there should be some sort of qualification process.
"You look at the last World Cup and while there were some lop-sided results with the minnows, ourselves and Holland had some pretty good performances, while a young emerging team like Afghanistan should be given a chance as well. It was pretty unanimous and we even had the CEO of New Zealand [Justin Vaughan], which is a Full-Member nation, back us as well so that is reassuring."
The final decision, however, will be down to the same people who took the initial decision to shut out Ireland and the other Associates from the tournament in Australia and New Zealand. "The committee that will discuss it next month is the one that made the decision for a ten-team, closed-shop World Cup," Johnston said. "Obviously the talk around the cricket world has been they got the decision wrong initially, so hopefully they look at what's been said and decide differently this time.
"There is a lot of backing for us, people have come out and said it is unfair. The only thing we can do now perhaps is help our cause with a better performance against Pakistan on Monday."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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