England tour of Ireland 2013 August 30, 2013

Ireland aim for 'embarrassing' case


Ireland's push for greater global recognition reaches another important landmark next week when they host England in front of what will be a record crowd at the new stadium at Malahide. The ODI is on course to be a 10,000 sell-out and, while the available seating at the new venue is one reason for the record figure, there is also a feeling that cricket in Ireland has hit a new peak this year.

The national side came very close to beating Pakistan in a two-match ODI series, while they continue to qualify for all the global tournaments put in front of them. The Inter Provincial three-day tournament has also been launched and Cricket Ireland's aim is to earn first-class status for that competition by 2015 in their pursuit of being a Test nation by 2020.

However, opportunities against Full Member teams remain rare and have to be fought for around the politicking tables of world cricket, but Cricket Ireland are determined to make the game so successful in the country that it becomes "embarrassing" for other nations not to play them more often.

"The perception of Ireland cricket continues to be one that is fairly low within the Full Member world due to the opportunities spurned by others to play us," Warren Deutrom, the Cricket Ireland CEO, told ESPNcricinfo. "But that doesn't stop us doing what we can; investing in our senior squads, investing in our facilities, getting public and private funding, and growing the sport where we can attract these big matches.

"Basically, it's about building the argument until it's one that is too embarrassing to ignore regarding how good we are becoming. We have few and far opportunities against Full Members, but look at what we do when they come along. People may still say we don't expect Ireland to win these games, we expect them to be competitive. Well, I'd say we are extremely competitive when we get the chance."

Phil Simmons, Ireland's coach, said that there is now a very different mindset within the team compared to a few years ago. "The way that we played against Pakistan showed we are learning every time we go out. We should have won the second match. We are learning how to win games. Since the 2011 World Cup, we've had that mentality. We go in to win the game and not just compete."

Deutrom was keen to stress that the England fixture on September 3 was not the "be-all and end-all" for Irish cricket. He is well aware that pinning all ambitions on one fixture every two years does not do Ireland any favours, and also the weather does not have a record of being especially fair to this fixture, but acknowledges that it does carry extra weight given England's recent Ashes success and the fact it will be covered by Sky TV.

"Above everything else it's about the perception of Irish cricket," he said. "Having 10,000 in an Irish cricket ground against England, in front of TV cameras, with the President of Ireland and chief executive of ICC, says everything that we in Cricket Ireland have been trying to drive home."

Neither is Deutrom going to be drawn into a debate over the strength of the England side that is coming over. A number of key figures - Alastair Cook, Ian Bell, Stuart Broad, Graeme Swann, James Anderson and Kevin Pietersen - will not be making the trip to Dublin. So, as in 2011, it will be an experimental England side that is captained by Eoin Morgan, who was also the captain for the 2011 one-off encounter. This time there is also the presence of Boyd Rankin, the former Ireland quick who played against England in the 2011 fixture, to stir the emotions of the locals.

"The under-strength team still won last time," Deutrom said, referring to England's narrow 11-run success in a rain-curtailed match. "It's not as though we are hammering whoever they send over. It's a full England team that is being sent. It is at the ECB's risk that the team does not win, then they have to face the potential fall-out of that.

"If I was the ECB, I'd say whichever team we have sent over since 2006 has won. Ironically, the game we did beat them in, at the World Cup, was when they played most of their big names. We need to beat whatever they send over to justify."

Andrew McGlashan is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Bangla on September 5, 2013, 15:06 GMT

    Ireland do not need TEST status, their players play for England and Ireland. What is the point granting TEST status for "same team" twice? Afghanistan deserve TEST status, and they should get it. Afghanistan's improvement in cricket is much better than Ireland. With full access to county and England, Ireland is not even close to Afghanistan where players dont get a chance to play much cricket, forget about county.

  • Dummy4 on September 1, 2013, 11:08 GMT

    The way Ireland is being run coupled with their remarkable success on the field is everything that Zimbabwe, and to a lesser extend Bangladesh, is not.

    Realistically if you had to say which of those three nations had the chance of long-term success you'd have to say Ireland. Bangladesh may have the cricket-mad population base but the way Ireland is being governed fills me with confidence that I don't get from Bangladesh.

    As for Zimbabwe, it's hard to see them getting anything but worse from here.

  • Dummy4 on September 1, 2013, 5:24 GMT

    Ireland and Afghanistan are the teams to beat. They are now predictable teams who are growing time to time and can cause upset to the full member nations if they are given more chances...

    I hope Ireland will cause upset, and hope to see K Obrion remembering us world cup 2011.

    I really love Ireland and Afghanistan competing the full members. Hope they will be given more and more chances.

  • Michael on August 31, 2013, 13:37 GMT

    There is an obvious way in which England should be helping Ireland get full membership which after watching Bangladesh and Zimbabwe really struggle( the latter through no fault of their own) I have little doubt Ireland would fulfil really well simply because they work at it. But I would say that they need it soon before their present crop of players disappear and they still have the likes of Joyce to lead them. England have a crowded fixture list but one more ODI game would help them and not hurt us.Also a couple of Lions games would help. Compared to other minnows these guys are gold. Lets strike while the iron is hot.

  • Mark on August 31, 2013, 12:48 GMT

    What people (usually from the outside the UK and Eire), fail to grasp is the ECB has done a lot over the years to help develop the game in Ireland. They played in one of our one day tournaments for years, and many players have enhanced their games playing for county sides. Obviously it is a blow to Ireland losing Morgan and Rankin but Irish cricket would have been in a much worse position without the help if all Irish cricketers were treated as official overseas players and were competing with players from Test playing countries for county contracts.

  • Charles on August 31, 2013, 12:31 GMT

    For all its faults, the ECB actually does a hell of a lot for Irish cricket, more than many other Full Members do for Associates. This annual ODI is a great cash injection for Cricket Ireland with the crowd it can attract, and is really good exposure for the game, and the involvement of the Irish team in English domestic cricket until recently surely aided their development as a nation. The loss of players like Morgan and Rankin is unfortunate, but it's worth remembering that Ireland has benefited greatly from overseas-born players, too.

  • Android on August 31, 2013, 11:14 GMT

    ireland have perfect chance to win one off game as English team is in transition in limited over format and aus can attest to the fact that how difficult can be transition at times. also ireland did defeated england in the world cup in 2011 when o brien scored a marvellous century. hope ireland repeat yhose wonderful feats and defeat england in ireland this time around.

  • Shipu on August 31, 2013, 10:41 GMT

    Test Cricket is clearly unrealistic for now but definitely Ireland should be playing at least 10 ODIs annually against full member nations whoever if possible along with their ODI games against their fellow associates. That way Ireland team will have like 16 games a year and along with the Cricket they play domestically, should bode them well when they compete in International tournaments in this case the World Cup. ICC should do more to help develop Irish Cricket because another major European Cricket country is obviously good for the sport and will mean that Cricket has major nations from all over the world playing at the highest level. Cricket is the fastest growing sport in Ireland now so that says something. Good luck Ireland against England!!! should no doubt be a great occasion for Irish Cricket and people.

  • Cricinfouser on August 31, 2013, 9:33 GMT

    @BRUTALANALYST - This 'ECB taking all the best talent' is a very old myth. The decision to play professional cricket in England and to qualify for England is made by individual players, not by the ECB.

    @Jonathan_E - Where is the evidence that England are not supporting Ireland's candidacy? I'd suggest that reverse is true - in the absence of a proper first class structure in Ireland, county cricket has played a key role in developing the best Irish players.

  • D on August 31, 2013, 8:08 GMT

    Ironically, a lot of the bigger teams don't play Ireland for fear of being embarrassed by them.

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