Ireland news December 19, 2013

Ireland to play in West Indies 50-over competition

ESPNcricinfo staff

Ireland have accepted an invitation to play in the West Indies' domestic 50-over competition, which will run from the end of January to mid-February. The tournament will be held in Trinidad and Tobago, the home country of Ireland's coach, Phil Simmons, and provides a further challenge for a side that has begun to outgrow its Associate status.

Following the tournament, Ireland will also play two T20 internationals and an ODI against West Indies in Jamaica on February 19, 21 and 23.

Ireland currently hold ICC titles in all three formats and secured their qualification for the 2015 World Cup by winning the WCL Championship earlier this year. They will join seven teams in two groups in the Regional Super50, playing in Zone A alongside Guyana, Windward Islands and Jamaica.

"It's a fantastic opportunity for Ireland's cricketers to play in this prestigious competition," Simmons said. "There's no doubt that the matches will be of a very high standard and it's a perfect platform for Irish cricket to show the West Indian public just how far their cricket has progressed in the past few years.

"The Caribbean holds a special place in Irish cricket history - for many this was where our unique journey started in 2007, and hopefully will be the catalyst that sees Ireland eventually be granted Test status by 2020."

Ireland pulled off one of the great World Cup shocks by beating Pakistan in Kingston at the 2007 World Cup and making it through to the Super Eights stage. They also pulled off a spectacular win over England at the 2011 competition and have qualified for four out of five editions of the World Twenty20. Last year, Cricket Ireland set out its plans to secure Test status by 2020.

"We won't be coming just to make up the numbers - we're here to try and win the trophy, and while it will be difficult given the calibre of opponents, there's no fear factor in Irish cricket any more," Simmons said. "We have much to be proud of and this past season where we won all three trophies we competed in has given the squad great confidence going into 2014."

Ireland previously played in England's domestic limited-overs competition but declined to join Scotland and Netherlands in the 40-over format used between 2010 and 2013. Although bilateral arrangements with Full Members have been hard to come by, Ireland hosted ODIs against England and Pakistan in 2013

Cricket Ireland's performance director, Richard Holdsworth, said: "We're extremely grateful to the West Indies Cricket Board for this opportunity. It will give the squad exposure to a high standard of competition which is vital as we prepare for the 2015 World Cup."

Ireland will play their games at the Queen's Park Oval in Trinidad, with Guyana their first opponents on January 31. They will then take on Windward Islands, the holders, on February 3 and Jamaica on February 8.

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • ESPN on February 5, 2014, 3:35 GMT

    great oppertunity for irish boys... to expose themselves... and hoping for a close fight against WI...

  • Dummy4 on December 22, 2013, 7:18 GMT

    yeah great opportunity for cricket Ireland

  • Jay on December 21, 2013, 4:47 GMT

    Honestly, some of the Irish boys are BETTER than these WI players. I think WI and Ireland can merge to form one team. Hey, does it help that Ireland already have a West Indian coach ?

  • Derek on December 20, 2013, 22:16 GMT

    Time to negotiate a merger. Suggestions for a suitable name?

  • Joe on December 20, 2013, 12:29 GMT

    Ah Ireland will play WI in 2 T20 and and ODI against the West Indies In February. Great News! So perhaps Matt R there was after all a method in the madness? And I still say the ECB were wrong to make their domestic limited overs competition a 40 Over a Side competition as its not played internationally anywhere.

  • Basil on December 20, 2013, 5:18 GMT

    I'll be very surprised if they don't win it.

  • Dummy4 on December 19, 2013, 21:55 GMT

    IMO Great move by CI - and such a natural choice with Phil at the helm

    @Sajjo No question Afghan deserve more opportunities - but I think Afg have a few things in the melting pot with Sri Lanka. In Trinidad, Ireland complete an 8 team line-up - anything more gets too untidy.

    @Matt R Disagree there Matt - The English 40overs comp is VERY different - the problem being that we have so many players in County Squads now - (a) we can't field full strength - (b) we far too often find ourselves playing against our own lads. The W Indies is different conditions playing cricketers we are much less familiar with. Great preparation for 2015:

  • Joe on December 19, 2013, 19:31 GMT

    Maybe they rejected the ECB 40 over competition as ODI's are a 50 over competition? And yeah good move by Phil and Cricket Ireland to get some exposure to conditions outside the UK & Ireland in the lead up to the CWC2015 it also give Phil a chance to look at fringe players in the squad.

  • Dummy4 on December 19, 2013, 19:30 GMT

    this is a good opportunity for Ireland. But we should have also invited Afghanistan they deserve the chance also

  • Dummy4 on December 19, 2013, 19:00 GMT

    Makes their decision to reject the ECB's offer to have an Irish XI in the county 40 over competition seem rather more strange.

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