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Ireland calls for Test status to 'halt exodus'

ESPNcricinfo staff

August 8, 2012

Comments: 55 | Text size: A | A

Boyd Rankin removes Ed Joyce with his first ball, England v Ireland, Super Eights, Guyana, March 30, 2007
Richard Holdsworth: "[The globalising of cricket] will not be realised if the next best non-Test nation is merely a breeding ground for England." © AFP
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Richard Holdsworth, Cricket Ireland's performance director, said Ireland had attempted to secure fast bowler Boyd Rankin's services but could not match up against the "lure" of Test cricket. Reacting to Rankin's retirement as an Ireland player, Holdsworth said only "an accelerated pathway" towards the benefits afforded to Test countries would help Ireland "halt the exodus" to England, for whom it would otherwise be a "breeding ground".

On Wednesday, Rankin announced his retirement from international cricket at the end of the year as he bids to step up to the Test level via English county cricket. Rankin would be the third leading Irish player to leave Ireland for England, following Ed Joyce and Eoin Morgan.

"Cricket Ireland offered Boyd a significantly improved contract to remain an Irish international cricketer but unfortunately we were unable to compete with the lure of Test Cricket and the financial rewards of being a potential England cricketer," Holdsworth said. "This further loss only strengthens our aim of becoming a Full Member of ICC and ultimately a Test-playing country.

"This will be the third Irish player we have lost to the England cause in just six years, notwithstanding Ed Joyce's return. It is our strong view that we must be given the opportunity very soon to finance a full-time international programme and centrally contract all our players in order to halt this exodus."

Ireland, whose performance has stood out among the non-Test playing countries, cannot just be a "breeding ground" for England, Holdsworth said. "We were very grateful for ICC's recent boost to our funding to permit us to implement a domestic first class structure in 2013 and play more international fixtures against the Full Members.

"However it is becoming increasingly obvious that only an accelerated pathway towards the financial benefits and opportunities afforded to the Full Members will allow us to keep hold of our home-grown developed players. The ICC has an excellent ambition to ensure that there are more competitive nations on the world stage; however, this will not be realised if its next best non-Test nation is merely a breeding ground for the England team."

Ireland coach Phil Simmons said Rankin's decision to leave was a "damaging blow", but he was confident of other Ireland players stepping successfully into Rankin's role. He also credited Rankin for being a driving force behind the team's recent successes.

"Boyd has been a superb strike bowler for us, particularly in World Cups and qualifying tournaments. The new ball partnership he forged with Trent Johnston has been one of the main reasons for our success since 2007," Simmons said. "His extra pace and the lift he generates with his height made him a very dangerous proposition.

"It's obviously a very damaging blow for Ireland, but we've lost players before and bounced back and I'm sure this time will be no exception. His absence will create opportunities for others and I'm certain they will grasp them."

Rankin has taken 110 wickets for Ireland since debuting as a teenager in 2003, with a total of 60 wickets in ODIs and Twenty20 internationals. At the 2007 World Cup in the Caribbean, he was Ireland's leading wicket-taker, his scalps including those of Younis Khan, Michael Vaughan, Ed Joyce, Stephen Fleming, Herschelle Gibbs and AB de Villiers.

Rankin will now pursue cricket with English county Warwickshire, with whom he has signed a new three-year deal.

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by gothetaniwha on (August 11, 2012, 0:43 GMT)

Ireland need a first class structure in place first before they even dream of Test Status .As for Afganistan , they will never achieve test status ,no money , and no western team will tour there

Posted by AKS286 on (August 9, 2012, 19:26 GMT)

irish, namibia, afghan are better than zim, wI, nz

Posted by Manco on (August 9, 2012, 18:02 GMT)

AjaySridharan: Bro, Ireland is a separate country and they had their own delegation at the Olympics. You must be thinking of Northern Ireland.

Posted by MunafAhmed811 on (August 9, 2012, 16:37 GMT)

I support Ireland. From what I have seen they have potential to one of top 6 test playing nations based on performances till now. Defeated (Kicked) out Pakistan out of WC2007 , defeated(thrashed) Eng in Wc2011 and many other victories

Posted by AjaySridharan on (August 9, 2012, 15:01 GMT)

I love the Irish cricket team, but find this whole issue of Ireland losing out to England to be a bit silly. They'll compete in the Olympics as one nation of Great Britain, but will go back to their regionalism when it comes to Cricket?! Perhaps they should consider having one Great Britain/UK cricket team. I support the cause of the non-test playing countries asking for test status on other grounds, but in this particular case, it is silly. Maybe the Queen should step in! :)

Posted by Jim1207 on (August 9, 2012, 10:51 GMT)

What's one good valid reason that ICC is not making countries like Ireland, Afghanisthan as test playing nations? They need not arrange FTP much with top countries, but they could arrange many matches with Bangladesh, Zim and many others as possible so many aspiring cricketers would be playing at Test level. If ICC is not considering doing this, then how would new nations would want to play cricket. Every gentleman curses T20 but the problem is why are we not allowing everyone to play Test Cricket. This is absurd, weird and illiterate from the governors of cricket.

Posted by Masking_Tape on (August 9, 2012, 10:38 GMT)

If he was quitting on Ireland for an IPL contract people would've been going crazy! England is to Ireland, what IPL is to Test cricket. I'm not an IPL supporter, and don't mean to drag IPL into this as well, but I just had to point that out.

Posted by Meety on (August 9, 2012, 2:42 GMT)

The whole "England poaching Ireland players" is a double edged sword, most people on here are rightly annoyed as it lessens the chances of Ireland putting fwd an irrefutable case for promotion. The other side is, England is a grenuine career path for players in a country where the sport is a poor cousin to other codes. Players like Dockrell & Rankin have become better players by playing in England county cricket with access to professional coaching & training. So it is NOT all take, take, take from England - although it is a valid stir against England!!!!!

Posted by Meety on (August 9, 2012, 2:38 GMT)

I wonder how many more matches Dockrell will play for Ireland?

Posted by ChrisH on (August 9, 2012, 2:09 GMT)

I can tell from the subsequent responses as well as the earlier ones that people still don't really understand what Test status entails. Simply put it means being able to play test cricket based on drawing your team from your own DOMESTIC first-class competition. A competition becomes first-class once it is adjudged so by a full member board or by the ICC. But a competition can never be given first-class status if the matches are less than 3-days in length. For those who do not know, Bangladesh and Zimbabwe had up 2-day cricket which was turned into 3-day cricket before getting test status (Zimbabwe had 2-day cricket all the way back to the old days as Rhodesia and lest people forget multi-day cricket has been around in Bangladesh for DECADES since Bangladesh used to be part of Pakistan from the 1940s to the 1970s and before that it (along with Pakistan) used to be part of British India where first class cricket was played). So stop bashing Zimbabwe and Bangladesh.

Posted by Robster1 on (August 9, 2012, 0:36 GMT)

If Ireland were an Asian side, India would fully support their quite justifiable elevation to test status.

Posted by   on (August 8, 2012, 23:54 GMT)

Ireland can't get it before Kenya.

Posted by sabbor on (August 8, 2012, 22:17 GMT)

ppls dont worry i m sure ireland will get test statues soon!!!

Posted by   on (August 8, 2012, 20:14 GMT)

There should be no associate nations in cricket. You can see Netherlands,Afghanistan,Ireland,Scotland,Namibia these countries have too much talent like Louis van der Westhuizen who had scored 159 in t20 still they don't count it as international statistics.

Posted by fr600 on (August 8, 2012, 19:42 GMT)

Now that Ireland is begging for test status, people have doubts about Zim/BD. I have been to BD for the last WC and I must say they have the craziest cricket lovers in the world. I've been to Zimbabwe too during a WC and they too had almost everything a full-member should have. I don't know how it's now for Zimbabwe though given what happened in the recent past.

Posted by Cpt.Meanster on (August 8, 2012, 19:34 GMT)

@Patrick Clarke: I agree 100% with you buddy. England's poaching is a blight on world cricket. Sure, they might say that it's the Irish players that come knocking. But it's England'd duty to turn back these strays and properly direct them towards Irish cricket by providing more funds and helping with the development of cricket infrastructure across Grand Eire. This is unfair to Ireland who seem to lose many players to England for no apparent reason. The same goes for Pakistan who try to poach Afghan players from their talented team. These two countries need to be warned by the ICC or penalized. India on the other hand needs to ACT like a super power and take some responsibility to help these countries. World cricket affairs is so sad now. Everyone wants to protect their bottoms and they fail to see through bureaucratic agendas.

Posted by   on (August 8, 2012, 19:12 GMT)

Ireland should get test status right now, ASAP.

Posted by essky on (August 8, 2012, 17:12 GMT)

If Ireland could get 6 or 7 sides to play one round of four day cricket they should be able to get Test Status. That's what West Indies has.

Posted by Htc-Android on (August 8, 2012, 16:51 GMT)

as long as ICC is there cricket is never gong to develop. this is how wasted kenya and their doing the same with ireland. if bangladesh can get test status after beating pakistan then why not ireland who so far defeated bang,ENG,PAk,zim. they did far better than Bang did before getting their test status. I am sure if ireland gets test status within 10 years they will be a competitve team. its a good news that they are starting to play domestic cricket from next year.

Posted by mihir_nam on (August 8, 2012, 16:49 GMT)

England currently has few really top class bowlers. He might get selected for ODI's and loose both Ireland cap and English Test Dream like Ed Joyce.. Well surly Ireland cannot stop, when their Warren Deutrom says Ireland will apply in 2020 ..( Mostly likely to fade away like Kenya) . This Bangladesh still not confident in front of Lost many ODI's to them. Even Scotland and Dutch defeated them in T20. Either ICC promote Ireland or strip Bangladesh Zimbabwe to maintain cricket of old class.

Posted by sameer111111 on (August 8, 2012, 16:29 GMT)

Can somebody please explain how Bangladesh has test status and Ireland doesn't? Had Kenya been supported ten years ago, they would have had a bona fide test team by now. Don't let the same mistake be repeated again.

Posted by ChrisH on (August 8, 2012, 16:21 GMT)

Ireland will never become a full member as long as they keep begging for handouts and accelerated pathways. They have wasted a lot of time and money between the 2007 World Cup and now. NO current full member was EVER given what Ireland are asking for. Every single full member had some kind of multi-day domestic cricket organized and paid for by the local board before they became a full member. Most had 3-day domestic cricket but some had 2-day cricket. Ireland only has 1-day domestic cricket. Had Ireland cut some of it's one day competitions and instituted a 3-day competition between 4 teams representing the Northern, North West, Leinster and the Munster (and Connacht) cricket unions (the ones that make up the irish cricket union) then they might well have satisfied all the criteria that the ICC has concerning gaining full member status (and the criteria are publicly available). Who knows, they might even have been able to get onto the 2011-2020 future tours program.

Posted by tatactg on (August 8, 2012, 16:12 GMT)

@maximum6 sure ireland is so much better than Zim/BD that they lose t20 to bd 0-3 at home(bd only played 6 t20s in last 3 years) and cannot sell 6000 tickets (only 1500 attended the matches on average) - that shows the depth and support for Ireland in cricket.

Posted by _NEUTRAL_Fan_ on (August 8, 2012, 15:44 GMT)

Spot on Patrick Clarke! Politics is keeping teams like Ire and eventually Afgh away from test status. I have said before that Ire remind me of NZ and the Andy Flower n co Zim, where through hard work, discipline and acknowledgement of limitations, they often punch above their weight. NZ's record in ICC tourneys is remarkable considering all their limitations. Ire are a better side now than when Bang got test status and at the RATE at which they are improving, could very well beat Bang consistently in Irish conditions in a few yrs IF they r given more help n better competition from top teams. ICC are letting their golden generation go to waste, an opportunity for Ire to market their game. Their close affiliation with county WILL cont. to help them also. If ICC truly cares about spreading the game, they will give Ire tests status very very soon. And I appeal to TRUE cricket fans to hope for the same. I put the game before my own team n I wish for others to do the same.

Posted by nmdasaya on (August 8, 2012, 15:31 GMT)

they are way better than Bangladesh when they ere given test status

Posted by Tigg on (August 8, 2012, 15:13 GMT)

I feel abd for Ireland. Boyd Rankin is a class bowler who will probably never play for the England Test team.

Givce them test status tomorrow, get Rankin and Morgan back in the fold and Ireland will have a side to push Zimbabwe, Bangladesh, New Zealand and the West Indies.

Posted by   on (August 8, 2012, 14:57 GMT)

Well, as a Bangladeshi i would like to see Ireland as a full member, in fact i want many more countries to play international cricket on a regular basis, cricket can't be a game/business of 10 teams, it is not fair, but i really want to say the associate boards that, "look, many countries donot win an olympic medal, but that does not mean they don't have the right to play or participate, but the important thing is the passion, infrastructure, live broadcasting facilities, u must have the passion, infrastructure for the game, if u have, it;s time, if not then u should try to build up those, bcoz otherwise u will have shortage of players of your own....... !" and that will not help, we , the Bangladeshis would really appreciate other nations to come forward, and we donot want to make any obstacles , neither we would like to bad mouth about some other teams, but infrastructure and passion is very very imp, even if ICC takes away our test Status, still there will be domestic leagues....

Posted by   on (August 8, 2012, 14:31 GMT)

@fr600, our biggest ground is in Malahide. It's 12,000 capacity

Posted by   on (August 8, 2012, 14:27 GMT)

its nothing to do with England, more to do with getting a Warwickshire contact.

Posted by   on (August 8, 2012, 14:26 GMT)

Let's see Ireland play first-class matches against English counties. If they can achieve a good record there then they might be able to acquire a higher status. Can they maintain domestic first-class cricket: Leinster and Ulster perhaps. Zimbabwe managed with just two first-class teams for years, so it's possible, but I think there's some way to go yet.

Posted by   on (August 8, 2012, 14:23 GMT)

@maximum6...Ireland are a good team but they're definitely not better than Bangladesh or Zimbabwe because the last time Ireland met these two teams in a series or tournament, Ireland lost to both of them. I think you haven't been following their Cricket so its understandable where you're coming from.

Posted by   on (August 8, 2012, 14:03 GMT)

@satish619chandar..."Bangladesh was helped by India"? Dude it was actually Pakistan who had a massive role in allowing Bangladesh to achieve full membership status. All India did was playing Bangladesh in their 1st Test Match. India did very little to help Bangladesh infact they still don't invite them to play a series so really India doesn't really like the idea of having Ireland as part of the elite infact when did India last play Ireland in a one-off match or series? because Bangladesh, Australia, Sri Lanka, Pakistan etc have all within the past year so that shows where India are.

Posted by 2.14istherunrate on (August 8, 2012, 13:53 GMT)

The sooner Ireland get Test status the better.They will better keep hold of the players they have and seriously they are easily better than B'desh and Zim, and could maybe give one or two others a run for their money. I bet there are a few slow seaming wickets around Ireland for others to try and bat on. Good luck with the move.

Posted by fr600 on (August 8, 2012, 13:32 GMT)

Ireland needs to improve their infrastructure if they want a test-status. Do they even have a decent stadium?

Posted by yorkshire-86 on (August 8, 2012, 13:11 GMT)

I dont see what Rankin will gain through this. If he could play for England tomorrow, there would still be at least 8 (Anderson, Broad, Tremlett, Bresnan, Finn, Onions, Shahzad, Woakes) quicks above him in the pecking order, and of those only Anderson is significantly closer to retirement. Rankin has taken 151 first class wickets in 10 Years as a senior player, thats a mere 15 Wickets per Year.

Posted by tfjones1978 on (August 8, 2012, 13:01 GMT)

The ICC need to immediately do something, this has gone beyond a joke. The ICC was meant to encourage developing cricket nations, instead it is ripping the guts out of those countries and then complaining that they "cant compete" against the best. How can developing cricket countries compete with the ICC allow full members to destroy the fabric of the game in other countries for their own greedy adventures? The ICC need to resolve this immediately. There are several options available to them including: [1] Creating an "Associates XI" full member and having the associate teams thought of as first class teams (like in WI) will voting rights given based on UN designated teams (ie: WI gets one vote for each nation), OR [2] Create a multi-tiered test program with relegation, OR [3] If they cant do the right thing, at least allow a player to play test cricket for full member whilst being an associate country and protecting the associates from next day turn over of players. Just rediculous!

Posted by Jonathan_E on (August 8, 2012, 12:07 GMT)

Ireland should get occasional tests, and England should support their bid.

Let them start off with series against Bangladesh and Zimbabwe - maybe against New Zealand and Windies, and occasional one-off matches against England, or against other nations touring England, in the same way that when other nations toured India or Pakistan they would have a Test against Sri Lanka at the end of the tour.

And as they continue to improve, let them have longer series. Right now we tend to have a 2 or 3-match series at the start of the summer against a "weaker" nation, and then another against a "stronger" nation - It would be FAR more fun to start off a 5-test Ashes summer with 2 tests against Ireland than 2 against Bangladesh.

Posted by Riderstorm on (August 8, 2012, 12:02 GMT)

Way to test cricket remaining the ultimate form of cricket. 1. Introduce Test championship at the earliest (within a year would be best) 2. Bring in Associate teams into test arena by dividing the test playing nations into groups with top 5/7 playing each other and rest of teams each other and at the end of turn swap the bottom and top of both groups with a qualifier thereby sustaining the level of quality. You cannot keep the test arena closed as it is now for ever. This is the best time with the competition it has with respect to t20, as new teams would bring in fresh talent and new possibilities.

Posted by PanGlupek on (August 8, 2012, 12:01 GMT)

@Jeremy Dunleavy, You might be right that they would struggle initially, but do you remember Bangladesh & Sri Lanka when they first arrived on the scene? Probably not, judging by what you wrote, but Ireland are far better now than Bang or SL (and probably Zimbabwe) were when they got test status (or India or NZ for that matter - how many years did it take them to win thier first games?). Thier results against bigger teams are significantly better than any of these sides were when they were first given a sniff.

You might also be right that they won't get it, but that would be for political & financial reasons of other nations rather than because of ability (As Patrick Clarke pointed out very nicely).

If it did somehow happen in the next couple of years, I hope the ICC allow special dispensation to Eoin Morgan to be allowed to play for Ireland immediately instead of waiting 4 years to re-qualify.

Posted by delboy on (August 8, 2012, 11:54 GMT)

Naturalise Sarwan quickly and get him playing international cricket again.

Posted by Praxis on (August 8, 2012, 11:52 GMT)

And that's why cricket isn't much popular beyond about ten countries.

Posted by countjimmoriarty on (August 8, 2012, 11:51 GMT)

I'm afraid Boyd Rankin is kidding himself if he thinks he is a test class bowler. From what I've seen, he is a meiocre county bowler at best.

Posted by unregisteredalien on (August 8, 2012, 11:47 GMT)

Very well said Patrick Clarke. Why can cricket fans see things so clearly and fairly but its administrators cannot?

Posted by Meety on (August 8, 2012, 11:42 GMT)

IMO - should at the least be granted a "Provisional" Test status, which would allow them to compete with Zimbabwe & Bangladesh, I would imagine Bang & Zim would win most encounters, but it would create a career path for Irish players to play elite cricket.ATM - Ireland is currently ranked just behind Zim in ODIs & well ahead in T20s, this would suggest they would be of a competitive level as Zimbabwe. A "Provisional" status would help avoid the horrors that Bangladesh endured in their first 5 or 6 years where they were unprepared for Test status. IMO Ireland are at a better standard NOW, then when Bangladesh got Test status in 2000. Give them a go. If they win or even competitively draw against Zim & Bang - they could be allowed to play against other nations on a limited basis. I think Afghanistan are about 4 yrs behind Ireland - so if I had my way, I'd say Test status for Ireland in 2014, & Afghanistan 2018, (both provisionally until their results suggest full status.

Posted by satish619chandar on (August 8, 2012, 11:41 GMT)

BD was helped by India and the subcontinent teams to gain full status.. But Ireland even after having more wins than BD is not at all supported.. Ireland does looks best of the associates by some margin.. I expect them to be drafted as full team before their big players retire aged.. Atleast it will stop the upcoming players not to migrate to other nations as they need to play tests..

Posted by Clan_McLachlan on (August 8, 2012, 11:35 GMT)

Storm in a teacup. Dude's a decent seamer but he wouldn't make any Test side today other than Bangladesh or New Zealand. With Broad and Finn younger than him, either he knows something we don't or he's being an idiot.

That's not to say that Ireland shouldn't be playing Tests. They certainly should be. Only one way to learn to swim - the deep end. They can't do worse than Bangladesh.

Posted by Munkeymomo on (August 8, 2012, 11:25 GMT)

@Jeremy Dunleavy: Perhaps, but would they do any WORSE than Bangladesh? Unlikely, probably in the subcontinent yes, but on the whole they would match them I think. Sure they may get whipped for awhile but who's to say they wont do a Sri Lanka and become a major dominant force in the game in not a long time?

@Patrick Clarke: I agree, the ICC/Test Nations is the most sickening boys club. It's the only thing about cricket I'm really uncomfortable with. Say everyone can play tests if the agree to a series. Who cares about records being broken? It's time for nonsensical tradition to end, this is the modern era. Rugby world cups include way more teams than the cricket world cup, which reflects the IRBs actual goal of globalisation, as opposed to false promises.

Posted by   on (August 8, 2012, 11:16 GMT)

Jeremy - The Test playing are too good for Ireland?. Seriously think man before you speak. What has Ireland done to show we can't compete.

This is without funding, well proper funding. Bangladesh receive 18 times the funding Ireland do. While our players are being mentioned as future English stars for a reason.

Also currently the South Africa A side is 44-3 (16 overs) against Ireland A. Not bad for a side who would struggle?...

Posted by RandyOZ on (August 8, 2012, 11:12 GMT)

Well put Patrick Clarke. England's poaching is a stain on the world game and the sooner the ICC stops it the better.

Posted by   on (August 8, 2012, 11:08 GMT)

@Jeremy Dunleavy...You're right Ireland will struggle but so what? Everyone including England struggle at times in Test Cricket which probably in my view one of the toughest games or formats in the World of all Sports. However, it would have made more sense for Ireland and even the Netherlands to play Test Cricket because not only the game will spread to their countries even more and into future generations but it will mean that lower ranked teams like Zimbabwe, Bangladesh and even New Zealand and West Indies would get to play enough Cricket so that way these teams would stop bragging on to the higher ranked teams to play more Cricket with them and wasting their time. I believe a two-tier structure should be placed in Test Cricket. The only teams that are not supportive of Irish Cricket are clearly England and India everyone knows that but Ireland still need to show to the ICC that they're very serious about this game especially off the field and that way, they may have a sniff.

Posted by   on (August 8, 2012, 10:39 GMT)

Its amazing that still Ireland have not been given full membership status and obviously deserve it and besides, it will be good for the World of Cricket because more teams will be competing at the highest level and it will also mean that lower ranked teams especially Zimbabwe and Bangladesh will have more opportunity to play games and that way, the standards will improve. Clearly England knows Ireland have talented players and in my opinion want to take their best players for their setup in fact even England have admitted they don't have much young talent coming through despite all the funding they provide. I wonder if England is really England because a lot of their players are imports from other countries and its just not right and clearly taking advantage. But Ireland too should also blame themselves because at this moment, there's no government support for the game, can't attract a reasonable amount of crowd and they can't even provide a broadcast for their matches.

Posted by zub770 on (August 8, 2012, 10:26 GMT)

england board is foolish as they don't support ireland to help for globalising the cricket and allowed irish player to play for england as england many good & brilliant players.

Posted by   on (August 8, 2012, 10:13 GMT)

Unfortunately, the current Test Nations operate a closed shop policy towards other nations and only want to cherry pick the best talent from them and stop those coutries getting a fairer share of TV revenue etc. England are probably the worst offenders though recent stories about Pakistan wanting the best players from Afghanistan to be made available for selection for Pakistan is another depressing development. Other countries like India can't see beyond protecting their in-built voting majority bloc on the ICC. Both Ireland and Afghanistan deserve a route to obtaining test status sooner rather than later. Given the right encouragement, Ireland could become the New Zealand of the Northern Hemisphere but I can't see it happening sadly due to the blinkered mentality of the current Test Nations which is seriously retarding cricket's development as a proper worldwide sport.

Posted by   on (August 8, 2012, 10:05 GMT)

If Zim can play tests, Ireland should...

Posted by   on (August 8, 2012, 10:04 GMT)

ireland will never get test status. The test playing are too good for ireland. Ireland would struggle to compete like bangladesh!

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