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Ireland v England, RSA Challenge

England arrive in Ireland as unloved neighbours

Cricket Ireland politely insists that the ECB is doing all it can to help Irish cricket but many keen followers of the game are grumbling more than ever

Ger Siggins

September 1, 2013

Comments: 117 | Text size: A | A

Eoin Morgan takes part in some fielding practice, London, June 18, 2013
Eoin Morgan sees his captaincy of England as a huge complement to cricket in Ireland © Getty Images
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Reg: "All right, but apart from the sanitation, medicine, education, wine, public order, irrigation, roads, the fresh water system and public health, what have the Romans ever done for us?"
- Monty Python's Life of Brian, 1979

Irish sports fans do have to thank the English for quite a lot. But apart from football, rugby, tennis, cricket, table tennis, boxing and hockey, what have the English ever done for us, really? Ahead of England's biennial visit to Malahide this week, Irish cricket followers are grumbling about the nearest neighbour more than ever.

Warren Deutrom, Cricket Ireland's chief executive, politely insists that the ECB "does as much as they have the time, effort and resources to do" but many of us long-suffering aficionados of Irish cricket are not so sure.

It's not just that their selectors have been grooming and cherry-picking our best players for more than a decade. Nor that they have rubbed our noses in it by selecting one Irishman to captain England - at his former club - and another to make his one-day debut here.

Nor even that they have ridiculed Cricket Ireland's best efforts to create a national stadium in a village field and sell 10,000 tickets to watch the nations clash, by sending a team devoid of any of its household names.

No, although all the above contribute to the throbbing ulcer, the real pain and anger are caused by the perception of an utter lack of support for Ireland's efforts to lift itself into the game's elite.

Perhaps Irish fans should be glad that the self-obsessed bunch that have just won the Ashes are not on their way. Certainly the manicured outfield in Malahide can do without the liquid deposits they left for the Oval ground staff to mop up last Sunday. On their last visit here the response of one prominent player to a request for an autograph was to tell a nine-year-old to "f*** off".

England, the three-time Ashes winners, seem pretty unloved in their homeland too, and it clearly rankles with them. When they took a 3-0 lead in that series the public reaction was underwhelming and focused on the team's flaws - which moved spiky wicketkeeper Matt Prior to demand that supporters lay off the criticism and "show us some respect".

And last week, when England fans who had paid £110 to watch a display of time-killing batting responded with boos, Stuart Broad - whose £500,000-plus annual wedge is paid out of those same ticket receipts - tweeted that "true fans" wouldn't have done so.

The response of Independent columnist Michael Calvin last weekend was typical of the UK medi, which has fallen out of love with Andy Flower and Alastair Cook's team:

"These have been the counterfeit Ashes… the contests have lacked authenticity. The approach of the England management has been myopic and mean-spirited. Cook's team have played in a vacuum of joylessness and indifference to their wider responsibilities.

"Matt Prior's demand for respect, a dressing-room buzzword without meaning or merit, sums up their isolationism. It is the product of an overwrought, self-regarding culture which has manifested itself most ominously at The Oval, where the attempt to kill the game degenerated into a parody of professionalism."

The England players talk of respect, without realising that the notion is one you command, not demand. And they are pretty slow to hand it out too, as one incident from the 2011 ICC World Cup illustrates. Ireland stunned England - and the world - by chasing down 327 in Bangalore, a victory that was largely down to Kevin O'Brien's 50-ball century.

In his book Six After Six, O'Brien wrote about an incident during his innings.

"... just after I got to 50, James Anderson bowled a ball at my feet. I got my bat down on it just in time.

'Good ball, Jimmy,' I said to him. Anderson's face darkened and snapped back, 'What would you know what a good ball is?' 'Well, I mightn't know what a good ball is,' I came back with, 'but I know a bad one. I just hit your last one over there,' as I pointed my bat towards the grandstand."

 
 
When the ECB agreed to come to Stormont in June 2006, it tried to have the game downgraded. It wanted a 50-over "friendly", meaning it could use up to 15 players willy-nilly, making a farce of the biggest game Ireland had played up to then
 

The cricketing relationship between our islands is like the whole of Irish history writ small: Oliver Cromwell banned the game, the Duke of Wellington helped restart it, Charles Stuart Parnell scrapped over it, Eamon De Valera hid his love for it, and Martin McGuinness and Ian Paisley united over it.

On Tuesday, President Michael D Higgins will shake the hands of the teams before taking his place in the overflowing stands - a far cry from the day that one of his predecessors attended a match in the centre city ground of Trinity College during the Second World War.

"Dev" had dropped down from the parliament in Leinster House to meet Sir John Maffey, the British representative in the Irish Free State, who was playing in a charity match. De Valera picked up a bat and demonstrated some textbook shots, at which a press photographer hurried over to check out the commotion. Dev flung the bat away and fled, terrified at what his own strongly Gaelic and nationalist Irish Press might be forced to write if a photo appeared of him enjoying the hated game.

That apparent need to keep Irish cricket as a guilty secret extended into this century in many quarters, but the surge in fortunes after the 2007 World Cup has at least taken the game out of those murky shadows.

But the one entity that keeps Irish cricket at arm's length is the very one you might expect to be most keen on encouraging a promising neighbour. Ireland's qualification for the 2007 World Cup also meant games against ICC full members qualified for ODI status.

But when the ECB agreed to come to Stormont in June 2006, it tried to have the game downgraded. It wanted a 50-over "friendly", meaning it could use up to 15 players willy-nilly, making a farce of the biggest game Ireland had played up to then. It took an intervention by ICC to force the ECB to accept the game's status.

And when Deutrom began his visionary leadership of Cricket Ireland in 2007, one of his first initiatives was the Future Cup, a tri-nation tournament also involving India and South Africa. This really infuriated the ECB, which saw such events as a potential threat to its TV dominance of Western Europe and its lucrative deal with Sky Sports.

Heavy-handed threats followed but a deal was patched together that Ireland's prestige home fixtures would no longer clash with England games, in return for which they would deign to visit once every second season.

In 2011, as he has this week, Flower sent over a second-string peppered with has-beens, would-bes and never-gonna-bes. They demanded a 10.15am start to facilitate an early exit, staying barely 30 hours in Dublin - in contrast to the Pakistan and Australia teams who came for a week and visited schools and clubs, giving a priceless boost to the development programme.

And the courtesy of negotiating dates doesn't come into it, with the setting of this week's game coming via a one-line email to CI saying "We will play you on September 3rd". An Autumn Tuesday during the week schools reopened after the summer holidays made CI's marketing campaign a far more difficult one.

But the most damage the ECB has inflicted on Ireland has been its grooming of our best players. Back in 2001 when Ed Joyce began his quest for Test cricket, few begrudged him his desire to push himself to the limit of his ambitions. One of his first games for England, a floodlit T20 in Southampton in 2006, gave him a good idea about how he was valued.

A nasty ankle injury saw him taken by ambulance from the field to hospital, some miles away. When he got the all-clear, after midnight, he limped outside in his full England kit, where he realised he hadn't a penny on him. His new masters hadn't bothered to send an escort, or even organise his transport back. A Southampton taxi driver took pity and returned him to his hotel, bruised inside and out.

Eoin Morgan was next, a brilliant limited-overs batsman but one whose Test career could well be over after 16 games, doomed to the same one-day limbo of his former comrades.


Boyd Rankin was expensive in his opening spell, England v Ireland, World Cup 2011, Bangalore, March 2, 2011
Boyd Rankin: coerced by his county to ditch his country © Getty Images
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Boyd Rankin was coerced by his county to ditch his country, but now he lines up against them with just a faint hope of forcing his way into Test cricket and no way back to Ireland before the 2015 World Cup, when he will be 31. There are real fears that belligerent one-day specialist Paul Stirling could be next.

The last time England came to Dublin, Morgan was made captain, which even the UK media decried as "indelicate" and "insensitive". He saw it as a huge compliment to Irish cricket:

"I played with Ireland when Ed Joyce made his debut for England, when he played at the World Cup for England, when he scored his hundred at the SCG for England, and again it was a proud moment for Irish cricket," he said. "The fact that you can pride yourself on producing guys who can play at the highest level is a huge compliment."

Paying a compliment to Irish cricket was unlikely to have been foremost in the mind of the England underage coach who sidled up to Morgan and William Porterfield in 2000 after Ireland U-17s beat England U-15s at Oakham in Leicestershire.

"He was impressed with them, and encouraged them to go 'down the England route'," another member of the squad told ESPNcricinfo this week. "The headmaster of the host public school offered Eoin a scholarship that very afternoon and the following year he was back and forth with Middlesex, the start of the qualifying process."

Deutrom insists Ireland's drive for Test status will head off this problem. ICC encourages Full Members to support Associates in their region, and the official view handed down by Cricket Ireland is: "I think they take that pretty seriously".

He points to the Ireland women's participation in the English county championship, the (rejected) offer to the men to play in the YB40, and to "unseen support" in coach education and player development as evidence of good faith. It also must be acknowledged that the counties have acted as a finishing school for Irish talent and provided a living when there was none at home.

The Irish people are noted for the warmth of their welcome to visitors, and Deutrom has been living in Malahide long enough to know how a good host behaves. He certainly won't be welcoming his guests with a broadside, but even he must bridle when he reads names like Jamie Overton and Danny Briggs in the England squad, let alone those of Morgan and Rankin.

Tuesday's game is a sell-out and the Blarney Army will certainly out-sing its Barmy counterpart. On the field, with no shortage of motivation, the team in green will be hoping to do the same.

Ger Siggins has been writing about Irish cricket since 1984 and has written four books on the subject

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by PFEL on (September 4, 2013, 7:01 GMT)

Not surprising that England haven't supported Ireland's push for international status. If Ireland became a Test-playing nation England would lose a valuable region from which to gain their own players. England rely on imports to be competitive against teams like Australia, South Africa, India, New Zealand, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. I'm not saying it's right, but English Cricket has shown time and again that it cares only about it's own goals and well-being. If Ireland want someone to actually help them they should look to Australia or maybe India.

Posted by   on (September 3, 2013, 19:54 GMT)

Chin up Ger - hope you enjoyed the day.

Posted by NRC1979 on (September 3, 2013, 19:31 GMT)

People seem to forget that it is the choice of the player if he wants to qualify for and play for another country. Nobody forced Joyce, Morgan, Rankin to play for England, they did it to further their career whilst various Australians, South Africans and Englishmen have chosen to play for associate nations to have the chance of playing International cricket. With particular reference to Ireland, it will change as and when Ireland gain test status and I hope that when it happens there will be an 'amnesty' whereby the Irish can renounce their 'Englishness' and represent Ireland again without waiting 4 years. The worry is, however, that a number of county payers will suddenly find Irish grandparents in order to play test cricket (similar to what happened to Scotland last winter). It is a problem created by the close links between the countries and mixed nationalities accentuated by the proximity and historic links between Britain and Ireland, unique to world cricket.

Posted by InnocentGuy on (September 3, 2013, 19:19 GMT)

While it's deplorable that the ECB hasn't seemed to take an interest in bettering Irish cricket, the Irish shouldn't really blame ECB for picking their players. When there is a system in place for such movements to happen and it is legal, it just comes down to the players' choice. CI should just try and invest more into setting up a good first-class circuit and try to get more matches going with other full-member countries.

Posted by   on (September 3, 2013, 18:42 GMT)

And here's something else to resent - getting beaten by six wickets with seven overs to spare after shooting out the first four for less than 50 and barely a recognisable name in the England side. Pipe, smoke, etc. :p

Posted by GrindAR on (September 3, 2013, 18:00 GMT)

One leaf out of why england is not part of Euro.

Posted by indicricket on (September 3, 2013, 17:52 GMT)

If it were not for the South Africans, Irish, West Indians, Indians, Pakistanis...at various times, English cricket would have rolled over and died. In spite of this they have never won the worldcup.

Posted by Longhairrocks on (September 3, 2013, 13:27 GMT)

Listening to the CEO of Cricket Ireland on TMS, he suggested that Ireland should stop disparaging the teams England send across and he noted that the ECB has given Ireland a lot of support including financially on an annual basis, which as he noted, they are "no obligation" to do so..

Posted by   on (September 3, 2013, 8:45 GMT)

Why does England owe Ireland anything at all? If the system allows country hopping and it is a free market, then the Irish should do more to hold onto their players..

Posted by tjl99 on (September 3, 2013, 8:15 GMT)

Interesting that Siggins is against England's selection of Irish cricket players. Perhaps if he feels strongly about this he should campaign against Ireland's regular trawl of England and other countries for their football and rugby players.

Posted by tatactg on (September 3, 2013, 7:25 GMT)

@Rob Quin Before you compare Ireland player's with Zim/BD why don't you wait till December,wait for the Intercontinental Cup final against Afghanistan.Afghanistan is the current holder of the 4 day associate trophy(last time Ireland couldn't even qualify for the final).Ireland have to prove that they are the best associate 4 day side - then you can talk about how their players are so much better than Zim/BD(as if Ireland is producing players who is topping the ranking charts for 4 straight years).Inflated Average playing associate 4 day matches doesn't prove quality(ex. Andrew White , J Mooney).

Posted by Longhairrocks on (September 3, 2013, 7:18 GMT)

A little perspective is in order, the accusations that England keeps poaching Ireland's best players is somewhat over the top, with the clear inference that there has been a queue ready to step into the England side. Just how many Irishmen have played cricket for England over the last decade or so? Morgan, Joyce and Rankin.....

Posted by gimme-a-greentop on (September 3, 2013, 6:54 GMT)

Fine comeback chirp from Mr O'Brien...

Posted by jmcilhinney on (September 3, 2013, 6:29 GMT)

@Nick Hanlon on (September 2, 2013, 20:39 GMT), the problem is that the ICC basically IS the bigger teams, so they'd be levying themselves.

Posted by jmcilhinney on (September 3, 2013, 6:25 GMT)

@Rob Quin on (September 2, 2013, 18:02 GMT), you may well be right about the Irish players' records being superior to those of Bangladesh but I think it's really a case of once bitten, twice shy. If Bangladesh had never been given Test status then I think that Ireland probably would have by now. After Bangladesh not having progressed as hoped, they just want to make absolutely sure that they don't end up with a repeat.

"England cannot produce enough quality home grown players to make up a squad without relying on Irish, South Africans, a Kiwi, a West Indian and Zimbawean". Of course they can. They just chose not to.

Posted by   on (September 3, 2013, 6:01 GMT)

Country hopping shud be banned for good of Irish cricket with provision to play county cricket for fiscal benefits :-) Doesnt seem fair for management nurturing n grooming a talent in Ireland for England

Posted by jmcilhinney on (September 2, 2013, 23:37 GMT)

@anton1234 on (September 2, 2013, 13:39 GMT), I don't think that Anderson is made out to be a kind, gentle figure at all. He's a fast bowler and the vast majority of fast bowlers have plenty to say to most batsmen. Have you not watched any cricket? I saw Anderson make plenty of comments to plenty of the Australian batsmen, as I've seen plenty of fast bowlers from plenty of countries say plenty to plenty of batsmen from plenty of countries. Should England bowlers behave differently towards Ireland batsmen for some reason? Besides that, I doubt that Kevin O'Brien is some kind gentle figure either. Do you really believe that he was paying an opposition bowler a compliment or do you think he was actually rubbing in the fact that he was smashing them to all parts at the time? If you're going to poke the dog then don't be surprised if it snarls.

Posted by   on (September 2, 2013, 23:27 GMT)

England do not "poach". The players "decide to move". We live in a global economy where to artificially restrict trade and labour opportunities on national grounds within the EU IS ILLEGAL! Morgan CHOSE England because it offered him more opportunity. If England had turned him down because he was Irish they would be BREAKING TRADE LAW. They would be subject to the possibility Morgan taking them to the European court. Ok their is no prescident yet, but neither was there for Kolpak or Bosman and others, but if tested, the freedom of players to play for whoever they have entitlement to play for would, without a shadow of a doubt, be proved and enfoced in and by the law. I'd rather Morgan did not play for England. Most fans would rather he didn't. Not because he isn't a nice bloke or that we don't appreciate him as a player, but because he isn't English - It dilutes the natural patriotism that national sport can (and should) provide But there is nothing we can do about it.

Posted by Robster1 on (September 2, 2013, 22:35 GMT)

Unless the BCCI are willing to dilute their Asian vote the Irish are doomed to forever losing all their better players to England. Would the Irish beat Bangladesh and Zimbabwe - probably yes and the BCCI wouldn't be able to control how the Irish voted.

Posted by ThatsJustCricket on (September 2, 2013, 22:12 GMT)

The major problem here is the drain of talent towards England. If Irish cricket keep losing their best players to England how are they ever going be competitive?

Posted by   on (September 2, 2013, 20:39 GMT)

Fact is the strong must support the weak otherwise cricket will end looking like the Scottish Premier League.Cricket needs to do what American and Australian sports have done over the years; levelled the playing field for all teams.But it needs to be done on an international scale.I would suggest the I.C.C. should charge a levy to the bigger teams in order to subsidise the likes of Afghanistan,Ireland and Holland.

Posted by   on (September 2, 2013, 20:34 GMT)

What a bitter article. The Anderson piece - it's sledging - everybody surely knows he has plenty of words on the pitch, whether it's Ireland or Australia. maybe England could have scheduled this game and then put the Ashes around it?

Will be at Malahide tomorrow, hoping for a good competitive game, and one that both sides benefit from. I knew that I wouldn't be seeing the Ashes side, but I'd be seeing possibly the future of England and some very good established bowlers as well.

Posted by   on (September 2, 2013, 20:08 GMT)

England aren't bringing their first choice team? Neither have they been picked for games against Australia. James Anderson can be a bit of a nasty lad? Welcome to top level sport.

Posted by tatactg on (September 2, 2013, 18:27 GMT)

Irish cricket & their fans , whinging and demanding all the time out of their peculiar sense of entitlement!!.Until recently their demands were directed to Zim/BD (That they tour Ireland spending from their own pocket & if somehow the Irish win 1 match - make it a case to denigrate Zim/BD cricket), but now that it is against ECB we can see many responses.This is a team which doesn't has the guts to field 11 Irishman in the field (always had 3/4 imports in the playing 11) & they talk about poaching players and the civility/morality of this issue.

Posted by   on (September 2, 2013, 18:12 GMT)

I realise this is a pretty touchy subject. I'm absolutely supportive of Ireland playing against the 'core' test-playing nations and I'd love to see that. It'd definitely 'spice up' things for England on the international stage.

However, the Ed Joyce example was - quite frankly - utterly pathetic, and the reason Eoin Morgan can't make the test team is because he's got a truly abysmally shoddy temperament for the long game. Boyd Rankin is a class act, but his batting just isn't good enough for the current England test side.

Long story short, Ireland have some very good players (I would personally argue better than Bangladesh, etc - especially in the shorter forms) and I hope they get more games, but the pointless England-bashing isn't going to win them any support.

Posted by   on (September 2, 2013, 18:02 GMT)

@SteveBack I'm asking you to compare first class averages of the Irish team with players that play test cricket for Zim and Bangladesh and by extension any other full member you wish. First class averages, sorry for confusion. I understand Ireland have requested ICC grade the Inter Pro competition in Ireland as first class standard and hope this review will happen next year with recognized first class competition beginning the 2015 season. FYI Steve Ireland have been an international team since beating England by 107 runs in 1855.

@jmcilhinney You compare Irelands test credentials with that of Bangladesh others with Zimbabwe, Ireland's record is superior to that of Bangladesh when they were promoted and is more comparable to Sri Lanka and no-one questions the standard or contribution of Sri Lanka. Alternately England cannot produce enough quality home grown players to make up a squad without relying on Irish, South Africans, a Kiwi, a West Indian and Zimbawean.

Posted by   on (September 2, 2013, 17:26 GMT)

If Kevin O'Brien is offended by Anderson's mild comment then I dread to think of him playing against McGrath, Warne, Merv Hughes etc.

Posted by jw76 on (September 2, 2013, 16:22 GMT)

I sympathize with the way English cricket has been poaching Irish players. Just the same thing has happening with top Zimbabwean players, starting with Graeme Hick, and more recently Ervine, Ballance and Jarvis - it is hard to believe that all these players voluntarily pulled out of playing for Zimbabwe without any encouragement from their county clubs. I hope the rumours are untrue, though, that Irish cricket has been trying to persuade Craig Ervine to switch allegiance?

Posted by   on (September 2, 2013, 14:30 GMT)

Some people are suggesting its the ECB's fault that Ireland dont play in more ECB competitions! I do believe ireland were invited to join the CB40 (now YB40) but they refused. Hence why the Unicorns now play in this competition.

Posted by Paul_JT on (September 2, 2013, 14:13 GMT)

Whilst I would certainly like to see all three European Associates represented in at least one of county crickets limited over competitions (50 over or T20), Ireland protest too much. Unlike Scotland, the Irish game is on tv. And unlike the both Scotland and Netherlands, Ireland chose not to participate in county cricket.

Whilst Ireland players qualifying for England is a problem, it is the responsibility of all Full Members, not the ECB alone, to reorganise the international game so Ireland (and all Associates) can grow towards Test status.

Posted by anton1234 on (September 2, 2013, 13:39 GMT)

Jimmy Anderson surprises me. He is supposed to be the quiet guy and yet he was one of the three supposedly urinated at Oval and I do not doubt Kevin O'Brien for one second when he says Anderson told him how he would know whether it was a good ball or not. Just because he plays for Ireland does not mean to say he doesn't know what makes a good or a bad ball. Anderson is not the kind, gentle figure he is made out to be by the media.

Posted by gbqdgj on (September 2, 2013, 11:00 GMT)

Interesting article and I have to say that having read this it does seem that the ECB are responsible for the death of Irish cricket, the lack of investment by the Irish government in cricket, the fact that the Tooth Fairy doesn't exist and indeed that Santa Claus is nothing but a story we tell children to make them behave. In all honesty I could write an article which would tell the complete reverse story, a story in which Irish cricket has benefitted from years of investment by the ECB, that because of the ECB Irish cricketers have a test team to strive for and that without the ECB/MCC there would have in fact been no Irish cricket to speak of for many decades.

Posted by Longhairrocks on (September 2, 2013, 10:54 GMT)

Yup the Irish join in the general anti English narrative of world cricket with their own peculiar sense of entitlement.

So Anderson niggled at an Irish batsman? So the Irish are allowed to dish it out but it is not be returned? Every fast bowler has dished out some verbal observations down the years, why should an Irish batsman be exempt from receiving any?

Seriously, most English cricket fans I know are pro the idea of Ireland playing test cricket and for the ECB to help as much as possible, however, and this may come as a surprise to the terminally entitled across the Irish Sea, but the ECB must put England's interests first.

Ireland must somehow put a first class structure in place or failing that somehow with a little more grace than has been shown to date, suggest to the ECB that a representative Irish side, becomes part of the county system ...

Posted by Shoeshine on (September 2, 2013, 10:39 GMT)

"We are very lucky to have England as the full member in our region. They have been nothing but incredibly generous with the opportunities they have afforded Ireland at all levels.

"That generosity is now beginning to pay off, and we are starting to take the stabilisers off the bike and stand on our own two feet as a country that has an improving record of achievement against some of the best teams in the world." - Warren Deutrom.

The article implies a grudging politeness towards England, not the kind of statement above. It's basically a whinge and blaming England for anything and everything he can. Pretty poor stuff.

Posted by   on (September 2, 2013, 10:36 GMT)

@Rob Quin: You're asking us to compare Porterfield's first-class average to other opener's averages in Test cricket. Why? The difference in standard between Tests and domestic first-class is, by definition, quite a big step. If Porterfield only averages 30 domestically at the moment, mostly against mediocre county attacks, then this suggests that he would be pretty unsuccessful in Test cricket. Ed Joyce I'll give you but it was his decision to play for England as he wanted to play international cricket. Ireland weren't an international team by the time he debuted for the English.

Posted by PMonaghan3 on (September 2, 2013, 10:15 GMT)

Can anyone explain to me why Irish cricketers, once of international stature, play preferentially for England? England! I suspect everyone knows what I'm astonished by.

Irish stars might more validly be assigned to some other object of England's past preferred forms of foreign policy. Why not India, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, New Zealand, or Australia? Or South Africa, for that matter - there's a country that could use some top-notch players to compensate for all its home-grown who play for England.

Posted by jmcilhinney on (September 2, 2013, 10:15 GMT)

@Hatter_Mad on (September 2, 2013, 8:14 GMT), "I bet the Irish players don't pout if they feel they lack respect", but isn't that exactly what this whole article is, or is it just the Irish fans that are aggrieved at England not sending their best team and not the players? Before anyone thinks that I'm too biased, I have an Northern Irish father, English mother, was born in Northern Ireland and lived their until I was four, from which point I've lived in Australia.

Posted by   on (September 2, 2013, 9:47 GMT)

I agree that England have played such a negative style of cricket this summer that I have stopped supporting them. They have shown such contempt for the spectators and the spirit of cricket and seemingly according to this article for Irish Cricket that I hope the Bhoys in Green stuff them out of sight.

Posted by   on (September 2, 2013, 9:20 GMT)

This England team in Ireland will be more or less the same as the limited overs team that are playing Australia at the minute - are we to assume that they are also just as offended? Also, this England team has been bred to win by any means, which is something that for many years they couldn't manage. Under Flowers stewardship this team have won a few ashes and become (however briefly) the best team in the world. Ruffling a few feathers and harmlessly sledging a few batsmen along the way is a small price to pay. To tell us our players are un-likeable seems more about getting the reader on side, rather than having any real basis in truth.

Posted by   on (September 2, 2013, 9:14 GMT)

Simply, to prevent the talent drain, Ireland should get Test status ASAP. To get this, they will need to play first-class games against English county opposition. One idea - perhaps expensive - is that they participate in the English County Championship as a first-class side; another could be that they played two 3-match 4- or 5-day series against an England Lions side, one group home and one away, every year.

Posted by   on (September 2, 2013, 9:09 GMT)

Surprised at the action of the ECB treatment of Cricket Ireland as how good would it be for Ireland to become a Test playing nation. England should not worry about another nation developing and possibly beating them in the future. I hope by 2020 we have Ireland and Afghanistan both playing Test cricket and possibly the Netherlands in that mix too.

Posted by mikeindex on (September 2, 2013, 8:44 GMT)

Excellent article. Yes a bit one-sided, but what's wrong with that? Seems to me that if there are separate team qualification lists for Tests and ODIs - as there clearly are, since Ireland have full ODI status but not Test status - there should be separate player qualification lists too. I.e. players like Morgan and Rankin should be eligible to play Tests for England (or maybe that should be 'British Isles') while still playing ODIs for Ireland. Simples.

Posted by YorkshirePudding on (September 2, 2013, 8:39 GMT)

People forget the england management have every right to select who ever they wish. Did india show disrespect to Zimbabwe a few years ago picking a third string team? If I remember correctly a 3-4 of those players are now fixtures in the Core Indian ODI and Test teams.

it should also be noted that only 3 Test players are ODIs to face Australia. England are in the processs of building a squad for the 2015 WC and so will want to try as many players as possible over the next 2-3 ODI series with a balanced squad ready for a series in aus in 2014/15 ahead of the WC.

Posted by glance_to_leg on (September 2, 2013, 8:35 GMT)

Interestingly the finest modern musical tribute to cricket comes from an Irishman, Neil Hannon of the Divine Comedy and The Duckworth Lewis Method. In Samuel Beckett, Ireland also boasts the only Nobel Prize Winner to have played first class cricket. It would be good for Irish cricket, good for Anglo-Irish relations, and good for the game as a whole if the ECB would start assisting the development of the sport across the Irish Channel. But I don't think one can blame Irish players from seeking to further their careers in England (and in England colours). That said, if I were one of a host of good young English players, I would be annoyed to see Morgan or Boyd Rankin (neither of whom seems in especially good form) given preference.

Posted by Hatter_Mad on (September 2, 2013, 8:14 GMT)

Rather miserable reading, I had always laboured under the impression that the ECB had a nurturing approach to Irish cricket. What are they scared of? Do they think that English fans will desert their "unloved" team and start following Ireland in their droves? They possibly might if Ireland's matches were shown on terrestrial TV (and I bet the Irish players don't pout if they feel they lack respect).

Posted by jmcilhinney on (September 2, 2013, 7:49 GMT)

I'm also not quite sure why Danny Briggs being in the England team should be a problem. Australia didn't seem to be insulted when he took the field against them for the last two T20Is, unless the three batsmen he dismissed had something to say when I wasn't listening. Surely Ireland should be pleased to see Briggs playing, as it means that England are less likely to be interested in George Dockrell.

Posted by jmcilhinney on (September 2, 2013, 6:08 GMT)

@TenDonebyaShooter on (September 2, 2013, 5:28 GMT), that's a rather ridiculous comparison. Even if England has had lows, they've also had highs and they have a long, long history. It also wasn't that long ago that England were #1 in Test crciket. Do you seriously suggest that Ireland are capable of that any time soon? It may well be that, if Bangladesh had been able to be competitive in Test cricket then Ireland might already have Test status. The ICC don't want to make Ireland a Test nation and then see them lose continually for years with no real sign of things getting better. Let's not forget that Bangladesh beat England in that same WC that Ireland did but when have Bangladesh looked like getting close to a Test win against England? Test cricket is a BIG step up from limited-overs cricket.

Posted by   on (September 2, 2013, 5:29 GMT)

You should not be surprised at all. Every good player Ireland has produced and played for Ireland end up being snatched up by England. Do we not or can we not produce players within our system in UK. Why on earth do we have to depend on players from Ireland and South Africa to make up the England team. This is disgraceful and cricket administrators must address this issue. If I was an Irishman or a South African I would be justified not having any good relationships with England Cricket administration.

Posted by TenDonebyaShooter on (September 2, 2013, 5:28 GMT)

A quick question for those England fans who are so concerned about standards in test cricket as to question the test status of so many other nations as to leave themselves hardly anyone else to compete with. It isn't so long ago (only 14 years) since your team was ranked ninth in the world in test cricket, and it's only last winter that they'd have lost a series to the eighth-ranked team but for the miracle of Matt Prior's static bails; in order to protect standards in test cricket, should England then have their test status removed?

Posted by   on (September 2, 2013, 4:34 GMT)

No disrespect to Ireland as I am half Irish myself but even if Ireland have a worthwhile first class system with id say 6-8 teams and at least 3 ICC quality test grounds then Irish cricket is going to be a feeding ground to English cricket because every aspiring cricketer wants to play test match cricket...I hope 1 day Ireland do get the chance to play in the test match arena but for the moment I think they should be helping their players in the best of their ability to have the privilege of playing test match cricket for England, Australia, South Africa etc

Posted by jmcilhinney on (September 2, 2013, 3:07 GMT)

@OCMills on (September 1, 2013, 21:53 GMT), while I see your point, Irish fans may just be the only people ever to complain about not seeing Jonathan Trott play in an ODI. ;-)

Posted by   on (September 2, 2013, 3:07 GMT)

It's incredible how little my fellow England fans know about Irish (and English) cricket. Firstly, the ECB don't "let" Irish players play as non-foreigners, EU law means they are obliged to. Any EU passport holder has the right to work in England, which is why the saffer Berg can play for Middlesex using an Italian passport. Secondly, Ireland do not yet have first class cricket, but their interprovincial cricket is of at least as high a quality as Zim and Bang 1st class, and their best team, Leinster, would not be out of place in CC division 2.

Posted by   on (September 2, 2013, 2:42 GMT)

Hello people! Ireland do have a national domestic tournament which they are trying to get to a first-class level. Check your facts before you make ignorant comments!

Posted by jmcilhinney on (September 2, 2013, 0:57 GMT)

I'm also not quite sure what Kevin O'Brien's anecdote regarding James Anderson is supposed to illustrate. Is there an implication that fast bowlers from other countries are polite while England's are the only ones to make uncomplimentary remarks to batsmen? If Ireland are expecting fast bowlers from any country to be polite then maybe they aren't quite ready for Test cricket.

Posted by samedwards on (September 2, 2013, 0:44 GMT)

To all the English posters claiming that they are helping the Irish by letting them play in the county cricket, they are not doing so because of some sense of altruism towards Associates. They are doing so because the quality of the players, whom they hope to poach for themselves. They only see Ireland as a feeder nation for their team, with absolutely no respect for them as a cricketing team.

Moreover, they use their financial clout to make it difficult for some of the Irish county layers to play for their country. Niall O'Brien had to shift counties because the Leics were unhappy with him playing for the Irish. Giles forced Rankin to retire by threatening to not give him a contract. So, just mull over the facts, and pray tell me, apart from using the Irish as a feeder system, what else have you done? Don't tell me that it is your superior training which entitles you to poach the players, for these guys learnt to play and love cricket in Ireland.

Posted by   on (September 2, 2013, 0:16 GMT)

Why does Ireland require a First Class structure when their talented players can fine tune their skills in the English county competitions? The leading African footballers all play in European domestic competitions, and it doesn't matter that their domestic comps aren't great - the national teams are more than competitive. It seems like the ICC and the elitists look for reasons why teams can't be promoted rather than reasons why they can.

Posted by trav29 on (September 2, 2013, 0:15 GMT)

just a point for those saying there is a lack of understanding about EU labour laws , that would only become an issue if a county wished to challenge the ECB over the restrictions on "overseas" players which would not be in a counties interests as they would be biting off the hand that feeds them

atm irish players are not counted as "overseas" because they play for associate nations , if Ireland became a full member that would change

and before anyone says I don't know what I am talking about look at the limits on kolpak players. under EU law there should in theory be no limits on players from countries where the kolpak agreement applies , but again the counties and ECB have agreed what the limit should be, and again if a county wished to have more kolpak players than the current agreement they could in theory challenge the ECB quota via the EU courts and would win , but again its not in their interests to do that

Posted by jmcilhinney on (September 2, 2013, 0:12 GMT)

Ireland have some good players but those players wouldn't be as good as they are without English county cricket. That's not to say that England allowed those Irish players to play county cricket as a favour that Ireland should be thanking them for but nor did they do it as a way to poach players and it's not an opportunity that Ireland could provide on its own, so it should not be scoffed at either. If Ireland have an issue with their players playing in or for England then they should look at those players as the issue.

Posted by Optic on (September 1, 2013, 23:52 GMT)

LOL I think this article says a lot more about the writer and Irish cricket than it does about England. By the way who are you to speak for me about how much England loves it's team. How very searching of you to quote the media as though they're the gauge by how much fans like their team. Then to quote something Anderson said to O Brien during the WC as to show supposed lack of respect. It's clear you haven't a clue what you're talking about because fast bowlers say things like that to a lot better players than O Brien, again you're searching. Not a word from you about the years and years that Ireland played in the domestic County structure, improving it's profile and talent, all the way through the 90's til 2009,without which you wouldn't be even writing an article,

@Joe Donnelly Have a word with yourself, 3 players over nearly a decade have played for England and look how successful they've been. You talk like you're some untapped resource when the reality is the opposite

Posted by shillingsworth on (September 1, 2013, 22:58 GMT)

t would be hard to find a greater waste of an opportunity to write an informative piece promoting Irish cricket ahead of an important international match. Sadly all that is on show here is ill informed prejudice.

The little anecdotes used as a substitute for genuine evidence to back up the arguments are laughable. 'Player refuses autograph' is the oldest one going. Strangely, the player is never named. So Anderson and O'Brien exchanged words during a World Cup match - what of it? It's hardly the material for an international incident, nor would it have been the first such exchange to have been exaggerated or misquoted.

The crocodile tears for Morgan are pathetic. The usual way of resurrecting a test career is to make runs in first class cricket. Morgan hasn't done so consistently for some time. It's an odd kind of 'one day limbo' when you play every England match, sometimes as captain and are a key part of their plans for the next World Cup.

Posted by cabinet96 on (September 1, 2013, 22:37 GMT)

It's time to lay off the lemons...

Posted by   on (September 1, 2013, 22:29 GMT)

Ireland cricket just want a chance that's all. With the help of the ICC and the ECB country structure (and now our own first class level) we actually HAVE a team and a structure capable of moving to the next level. Why then do we only have 3 ODI's against test teams this year? And before you beat too much on Ger Siggins, how do you think we feel about Paul Stirling - 2 x 100 in 4 innings against Australia and Pakistan on the only 3 games this year? We are petrified he will be next, Dockrell as well to wear the 3 lions.

And enjoy the atmosphere of 10000 Irish cricket supporters on Tuesday - it will be a thing to behold.

Posted by OCMills on (September 1, 2013, 21:53 GMT)

@Yevghenny Most Irish cricket fans would agree that we are not ready yet for test cricket. We are putting a first class structure in place with a view towards test cricket by 2020. Currently what we need is games against full members to develop. We have had 7 since the end of the 2011 world cup. For reference, England & Australia have played 49 against full members, India have played 59 and Pakistan, who have not played a game at home in the period, have played 51.

@Ryan McAlister Players in squad to play Ire and not against Aus: Gary Ballace, Danny Briggs, James Taylor. Players to play Aus and not against Ire: Kevin Pietersen, Joe Root, Jonathon Trott. While the first 3 are good young players, you can't argue they are of the same stature as the latter 3.

Posted by   on (September 1, 2013, 21:43 GMT)

it is clear England could do more, but without a first class structure there is little to be gained by promoting test status. As for Irish players playing for England, they have to get there on merit, and they get an opportunity they would not be afforded otherwise provided they are good enough. Does Ed Joyce contribute more to Irish cricket now or prior to his involvement with England? More fixtures, not necessary at full level, but A fixtures and games against counties would help players develop. But Ireland need to be implementing a first class structure asap for any serious progress. The strength of Irish cricket at present is significantly improved by the county opportunities made available due to EU rules.

Posted by   on (September 1, 2013, 20:57 GMT)

Got to agree with Yevghenny on this one. It's no good blaming England for the lack of a first class structure. It is inevitable that the best Irish players will want to play county cricket, and ultimately for England. Ireland need a first class structure, and should not be admitted to test cricket until they do. Bangladesh stands as a warning....

Posted by   on (September 1, 2013, 20:24 GMT)

The lack of encouragement for Ireland's quest for Test Status by England and others is very short sighted. They could easily develop into the New Zealand of the Northern Hemisphere with the right encouragement. International cricket badly needs a few more teams to make it more interesting. Cherry picking their best players and then dumping them is no help at all.

Posted by tjl99 on (September 1, 2013, 20:07 GMT)

There is a similar article to this in the Saturday independent from Joe Callaghan. He cites Henry II (king 800 years ago) in his article which is all about why Callaghan thinks Eoin Morgan should not captain England. So, the Irish hate us, you don't like the team we select to play you and you don't want the selected captain. Oh, and it's on the wrong date. You Irish don't complain much, do you?

Posted by Cubitt on (September 1, 2013, 18:53 GMT)

To those saying there shouldn't be more Test nations, why not have a two tier system? Or Ireland get provisional test status until they prove themselves against the bottom 2-3 test nations. Also as for the First-Class structure in Ireland, why not share one with England. Maybe add an Irish county (similar to Glamorgan) to the County system. Ireland doesn't have the population for a competitive high standard league, doesn't mean they can't get the best out of a smaller pool if pitted against English counties. This would of course require great support form the ECB.

Posted by OhhhhhMattyMatty on (September 1, 2013, 18:46 GMT)

If England have done so little for Irish cricket, why are Porterfield, Stirling, Joyce, O'Brien x 2, Dockrell and Murtagh playing in English County Cricket without being labelled as overseas players? (Not to mention Morgan and Rankin as well!)

England and its coaches/teams are training these first team Irish cricketers to become the top Associate players! (Same for ten Doeschate!)

Posted by Wallruss on (September 1, 2013, 18:37 GMT)

Somebody's got out the wrong side of the bed this morning

Posted by   on (September 1, 2013, 18:31 GMT)

@Ryan -from cricinfo article on the england ODI squad "Pietersen, Joe Root and Jonathan Trott will not travel to Dublin for that match...Gary Ballance, Danny Briggs and James Taylor are the three players replacing Pietersen, Root and Trott in the 14 to take on Ireland" not exactly like for like if you are trying to convince people to buy a ticket

Posted by   on (September 1, 2013, 18:27 GMT)

Several contributors to cricinfo have already admitted that Ireland currently has no credible first-class cricket structure. So, were it not for England and its counties, Ireland's best players would effectively have nowhere to play. So much for "unloved neighbours", eh, Siggins? Ask the O'Briens and the Porterfields and Joyces what they think of England and its invitations to play quality, competitive cricket.

Posted by whatawicket on (September 1, 2013, 18:14 GMT)

its England who make the Irish as good as they are for without our 1st class system their players would not be able to play the cricket that a test playing country needs to play. then of course Ireland then have to use overseas players to make up their numbers

Posted by   on (September 1, 2013, 18:10 GMT)

Give it a rest. The constant carping about the English is the least attractive feature of the Irish character. I am a Canadian who has visited Ireland and I can tell you that whinging about the English almost never stops. If it wasn't cricket, it would be something else.

Posted by   on (September 1, 2013, 18:08 GMT)

The ignorance of some comments here beggar belief, from a complete mis-undertanding of EU labour laws, to the quality of cricket played in Ireland, to the suggestion of a 'golden generation'. The comment on William Porterfield is absurd compare his average to all opening bats in test cricket, why not mention Ed Joyce's average and first class run total ? To the assumption maker that we will not be competitive in 10 years, why because the England team will be made solely of Irishmen and non nationals. Finally, Ryan how many are in the squad compared to the Champion's Trophy final, and no it is not the same squad. Do some research people educate yourself and get used to the fact Irish cricket is here to stay, the ECB know it and that's why they are attempting to dismantle our team.

Posted by Lara213 on (September 1, 2013, 18:04 GMT)

Not knowing any of this, England and the ECB come across as unfailingly condescending, gratuitously officious and unhelpful towards Irish cricket; it reminds me in many ways of Australia's attitude to New Zealand; I think they refused to give them a test for decades until 1973/74!

Whenever a new nation emerges in world cricket it should be the responsibility of the ICC and test nations, esecially the big three, to make the max. effort to help them into the big league, lest their cricket whither and interest dies out. Cricket like rugby is in danger of stagnating if it doesn't and encourage smaller countries to foster the game at the highest level.

At present it sounds like the ECB is just doing enough to allow Irish cricket to bob along the bottom to throw up the odd talent they can then snatch into the England team, but not enough to allow Ireland's emergence in its own right. A very short sighted, self-serving approach that does neither nation any favours.

Posted by landl47 on (September 1, 2013, 17:51 GMT)

Either this should have been on Page 2 or Mr. Siggins is a very confused man. All in the same article, he accuses England of cherry-picking and grooming Irish players, of not valuing them and treating them badly, insulting the Irish by making one of them captain of the England team and of not caring about Ireland at all. At the same time he acknowledges that Irish players who want to make a living playing cricket and aspire to be test players have been given the opportunity to do so in England.

The Irish are many things: lyrical poets, hilarious comedians, passionate lovers, wonderful singers. No-one ever mistook them for logical thinkers.

Posted by shillingsworth on (September 1, 2013, 17:46 GMT)

@TenDonebyaShooter - In exploring England's alleged opposition to every recent recipient of test status, the author of this article would no doubt agree with your one sided view. A more balanced assessment would perhaps mention that, in the light of the subsequent results achieved by Zimbabwe and Bangladesh, England's opposition was not without justification.

Posted by shillingsworth on (September 1, 2013, 17:37 GMT)

@Narkovian - Irish players do not get 'snaffled up' by England. They choose to improve their game in England by playing professional cricket, an opportunity not currently available in Ireland. As with any other player in a country's domestic competition, they have the opportunity to represent that country, subject to performance and eligibility. Again it is the player's choice whether to take that opportunity or not.

Posted by   on (September 1, 2013, 17:30 GMT)

This is the same England squad who will face Australia over 5 games this month.

The idea Ireland have been uniquely snubbed by the ECB is complete nonsense.

Posted by Red_Stripe on (September 1, 2013, 17:29 GMT)

Anti English ramblings based on very little. Irish cricket shouldn't be expecting England to promote their cricket, this is something they need to do internally. Can anyone really blame Morgan and Rankin for choosing England considering the potential fixtures they are involved in. I really hope this is not the consensus of opinion in Ireland otherwise I don't see Irish cricket progressing.

Posted by shillingsworth on (September 1, 2013, 17:28 GMT)

It would be hard to find a greater waste of an opportunity to write an informative article about Irish cricket ahead of an important international match. My guess is that the author knows quite a lot about Irish cricket. Sadly all that is on show here is ill informed prejudice. The portrayal of English cricket fans is inaccurate. I doubt if this piece represents the views of Irish supporters any better, despite the grandiose claim in the headline.

Posted by RodStark on (September 1, 2013, 17:25 GMT)

One idea would be to make it much easier for players from non-test nations to play for a test nation and then go back and play for their home country if it didn't work out. This is not the same situation as (predominantly South African) players switching countries. Players like Morgan could be fully available to play for Ireland when not selected by England, though they should not take part in games between the two countries involved for obvious reasons.

Posted by Yevghenny on (September 1, 2013, 17:21 GMT)

what on earth have I just read? I am used to some good reads on cricinfo, it's by far the best coverage of the game, it's not an excuse for some irish fans to start moaning about all things English. You even threw in the classic "abusing 9 year old autograph hunter" story without actually naming names. Pathetic article, and very disappointed to see it on cricinfo. Irish cricket has an awful lot to be grateful to England for. But how can a nation that doesn't even have its own 1st class structure possibly think they are good enough for test cricket?

Posted by blitzNM on (September 1, 2013, 17:17 GMT)

@ john velton test cricket needs more teams. Its just so boring sometimes that same 2 teams play eachother evry year. I mean this year.....2 ASHES ! that means 10 tests of same 2 teams ! i think there shud be only maximum of 3 test series with more teams. I think ireland and afghanistan deserve test status. They have got good quality players that can be developed....India, Pakistan, Srilanka, NZ...all developed the same way. india won there 1st test after 15-20 years. and see now. Afghanistan and IRE will develop with experience. And with test experience, they will excel more in ODIs and T20s

Posted by   on (September 1, 2013, 17:17 GMT)

It is not good to see two Irish players playing against Ireland in Ireland. ICC must give test status to Ireland they deserve this but if icc will not give test status i am afraid Ireland will lose their important players like in the past Mogon,Rankin all i can say is best of luck Cricket Ireland you are future chaps

Posted by   on (September 1, 2013, 17:12 GMT)

Interesting article, I'd have to agree with most of it. Considering just how close our two countries are England only ever play one ODI at a time here. How hard would it be to do even a 2 game series?? I do hope that Cricket Ireland would propose that, once security concerns are met, that Ireland do a tour of Pakistan as a gesture of goodwill to Pakistani cricket for being one of only two countries to play a proper series in Ireland

Posted by whatawicket on (September 1, 2013, 17:06 GMT)

i am sure most on here seem to think England go looking for these guys to play for them. if Irish and they want to play county cricket and get well paid by the counties then i say good luck. if after they play regularly they want to still play for Ireland they can do, but then there comes a time when they fancy playing test cricket and want to put in the time were they come available for England. in that case if their stats continue through that period then under ICC rules they can play for England. any of the home countries Scotland Wales or Northern Ireland automatically can play for England, in fact Rankin i would guess has more right to play for England than Ireland as he was born in Northern Ireland. in simple terms Ireland does not have the players or the infrastructure to run 12 months of the year cricket.

Posted by sonicattack on (September 1, 2013, 16:59 GMT)

By far the worst article I have ever read on cricinfo, bad on so many levels I don't know where to start! This is not representative of the few Irish cricket fans I have met who have welcomed the opportunity that Irish players have to display their talents on a wider stage than Ireland can manage at the moment, and let's be realistic, Joyce, Morgan et al do have a choice...and I'm sure that they have earned a few bob along the way which may also be a factor. The UK has offered many Irish men and women opportunities in all walks of life for many years and long may it continue. Oh, and having been an English cricket fan for many decades (even tho' I am Welsh!) I have seen far more boorish behaviour from English players before - yet I and many others will still support them....and I do want Ireland to achieve full status also. Grrr......

Posted by TenDonebyaShooter on (September 1, 2013, 16:59 GMT)

I hear a lot the argument that English cricket does Irish cricket favours by giving its players experience in the county championship, and I'm not convinced. Do you think English counties pick Irish players out of altruism? No, they pick them because they are the best available players. The posters saying that English cricket should look after itself and not help Irish cricket seem to be missing the point of this article that what the English authorities are doing often actively hinders Irish cricket. The only point I would make in criticism of this article is that it doesn't explore the fact that this is traditionally the attitude English cricket authorities having taken not just to Irish cricket, but practically every new side trying to break into cricket's elite. It was England who were the one team to vote against test status for Zimbabwe back in the 1990s, for instance, which partly explained why the David Lloyd "we flipping murdered em" tour of 1996 was such a PR disaster.

Posted by crikkfan on (September 1, 2013, 16:58 GMT)

A lots of comments seem targeted at the author of the article - the undercurrent of the article seems to be not that Eng should do favors, but is ECB going out of the way to being detrimental and antagonistic to Irish cricket? Is there some truth to it - some of the anecdotes seem to indicate so. Time for Irish cricket to stand up for itself and show the world through performance.

Posted by Paul_Somerset on (September 1, 2013, 16:58 GMT)

If Ireland were to be granted full status any time in the near future, it would be a disaster. It simply lacks the necessary deep, first-class structure to support that status and would no longer be able to develop its talent free-of-charge via the English counties, as it does now.

Their players would no longer be allowed to play as non-overseas cricketers in the County Championship, and whatever young talent emerged would never fulfil its potential. The national team would regress to a sub-Bangladeshi level within a decade.

Posted by   on (September 1, 2013, 16:45 GMT)

Ireland have some good players and I like their happy-go-lucky, brave and plucky attitude to the game. However, I've been really disappointed with Will Porterfield's first-class performances. Is he lacking in confidence? His average is only just in the thirties. The leading Associate nation needs its premier batsmen to increase on these sorts of records before thinking of competing in Tests.

Posted by Wharfeseamer on (September 1, 2013, 16:38 GMT)

The article seems a little one-eyed to me. I would expect a little more balance where the author does provide more examples of the ECB's help to Irish cricket. The historical references are cheap and lazy. Ireland won't - and shouldn't - get full status until they have an established first class competition in place that demonstrates they have continuing strength in depth and not just a 'golden' generation of players with nothing coming behind. It makes sense to help develop Irish cricket by inviting them to play in ECB one day competitions but it seems that previous invitations have been turned down.

@trav29 Ireland's players are either EU or UK passport holders and are therefore free to play for any county and not be counted as an overseas player

Posted by   on (September 1, 2013, 16:35 GMT)

All a bit bitter if you ask me. Still it spices things up, & helps with the ticket sales I expect.

Posted by 364ThirdMan on (September 1, 2013, 16:24 GMT)

I'm sure most English cricket lovers feel a touch guilty about this - it does seem that more could be done to help Ireland (and Holland for that matter) to play a higher level of cricket and offer more to cricket-lovers in those two countries. Surely what's needed now is an international second division of eight teams to include teams like Zimbabwe, Bangladesh, Holland, Kenya, Ireland and others with opportunities to play on World Cups and T20 tournaments to provide the necessary finance.

Posted by   on (September 1, 2013, 16:19 GMT)

England has always cherry picked players from Ireland and SA. It is time Ireland is given the respect it deserves and England stop weakening the Irish team. The rules are conveniently made for England to continue their practise

Posted by Fluffykins on (September 1, 2013, 15:59 GMT)

Why is the ECB's fault players born in Ireland chose to make themselves available for England if they qualify? No one is pressed ganged into playing for England, it's up to the conscience of each individual to make a decision based on what's best for them and for the millionth time it's no one else's business but their own.

Posted by   on (September 1, 2013, 15:52 GMT)

trav29 the ability of Irish players to play for English counties has nothing at all to do with the largesse of the ECB but to do with European Employment law. And to try and say that one midweek 2nd string team sent to Ireland once every 2 years shows support from the ECB is ludicrous. Last season the BCCI/IPL wanted to bring two IPL teams over to Ireland to play a short T20 series against the hosts. This was blocked by the ECB /Sky as they hold the rights for any matches held in the UK. Imagine the money and the prestige that Irish cricket would have gained from these matches and then try and tell me that the ECB are keen to support Irish cricket. Now the pipeline of talented cricketers keen to leave SA has dried up Ireland seem to be the next go to nation for poaching. And to suggest Ashley Giles had his Warwickshire hat on and not his England one when he told Boyd Rankin to chose between Warks and Ireland also believes in Yeti's and Bug Eyed aliens.

Posted by anton1234 on (September 1, 2013, 15:50 GMT)

Give Ireland test status as soon as possible before everything goes pearshaped, as happened with Kenya. Kenya looked like like becoming a genuinely good side between the late 90s and middle 2000s before everything went downhill quickly. The ICC did not see Kenya as adding financially to it's coffers and therefore let the game practically die there. If not careful same thing will happen to Ireland whereby the best Irish players sign for couny sides and the contracts will restrict them from appearing for Ireland. And the very best ones will opt for England internationally.

Posted by masjoe on (September 1, 2013, 15:28 GMT)

Ger Siggins seems an angry man. Lets hope England can reward him.

Posted by salazar555 on (September 1, 2013, 15:22 GMT)

Why should England do Ireland any favours? They are their own country and must sort themselves out. Australia doesn't do New Zealand and favours and India doesn't do Pakistan any favours. Just because you are close Geographical, it doesn't mean you have to go out of your way to help them get their act together. Let Ireland sort themselves out.

Posted by   on (September 1, 2013, 15:21 GMT)

Who cares what the media think of the team. So long as they keep winning, it doesn't matter one bit what pen-pushers and armchair captains think.

Posted by   on (September 1, 2013, 15:19 GMT)

I don't understand why so many armchair watchers of cricket want Ireland to have full test status. I would prefer FEWER test teams rather than more. How do we fit all the tests into the test schedules? Is India going to host a test series with Ireland, and will there be sufficient crowds to make it economically viable? What test series are going to be cancelled to let their teams play Ireland? Zimbabwe already have that problem - what's the point of having test status if the big teams never play you? Sure it's sad for the Ireland players (but, realistically there is not one at the moment that could get into the England test team - Rankin and Morgan can't - and England are not the strongest side), but I do not understand how a country that has no first-class competition can expect to get test status. Infrastructure and supporter interest are as important in giving test status as playing ability

Posted by Nutcutlet on (September 1, 2013, 15:16 GMT)

I can't help but agree with much of the thrust of this article. The ECB, IMO, has an obligation to promote Ireland's case for (a) integration into the English county system via comps like the YB40 (after all, we've had Holland, Scotland & the Unicorns) after recruiting the best Irish players & (b) eventual Test status. To put this another way, if Ireland were positioned geographically where Bangladesh is, the BCCI would have ensured that Ireland was on the Test rota. Pity England can't fix it for Ireland in like manner! As for the England team - yes, they seem to have developed a certain disdain for matters that they consider trivial (like a tour of NZ, after the exertions of India or bowling a respectable no' of overs in a session) in recent months, not being able to find the territory between confidence & arrogance. I do not warm to this England side's demeanour. So, for all of the above reasons, I hope that Ireland gives England a very rude awakening; they most certainly deserve it!

Posted by Scrop on (September 1, 2013, 15:12 GMT)

ECB is so good a cherry picking the players from Ireland and Proteas..

Posted by Hammond7249 on (September 1, 2013, 15:05 GMT)

I'm not entirely sure who these "England supporters" are who don't like the current squad, but please don't count me among them. Root, Bell, Cook, Trott, and Prior are selfless players who always play for the team and tend to act with the utmost professionalism. It's so very typical of the British to hate everything about their country and their constant self-criticism/self-loathing is grating. This may not have been England's greatest ever Ashes series and some of the players may not always conduct themselves as you may want but to actively want Australia to win over the winter is, frankly, disgusting. Let's remember that their players aren't always on their best behaviour either. And what do you expect from men, really?

Posted by SettingSun on (September 1, 2013, 14:53 GMT)

I'm going to read between the lines, Ger, and suggest that you don't really think much of England.

Seriously though, this is the most myopic and one-sided article that I have ever seen on Cricinfo. I thought you were going to finish it with a cover version of the South Park song Blame Canada, albeit with England substituting for Canada. If you think so little of us then I'm sure you'll be contacting Cricket Ireland and requesting that you don't bother playing us any more if we have done nothing but hold you back and insult you.

Posted by trav29 on (September 1, 2013, 14:52 GMT)

a remarkably biased and inaccurate portrayal of the true situation

its up to the ICC not the ECB alone to provide support to associate members , why should the ECB be beholden to support irish cricket just because of proximity

irish cricket already benefits from their players being allowed to play in English domestic cricket without being classed as overseas players and having to compete with other players for those spots but that gets conveniently forgotten when there is an opportunity to criticise the ECB

it is the players themselves that want to play on a bigger stage that choose to make themselves available for England under the same rules that allow Ireland to play non-irish players btw

Posted by 5wombats on (September 1, 2013, 14:50 GMT)

What a horrible dreary article. Perhaps Ireland would be happier if it's players weren't afforded the opportunities that several have taken advantage of over the years. The comments on the political historical aspects really demonstrate how the writer would rather like for Irish cricket to stay in the past. Mentions of Oliver Cromwell and De Valera show where this guy is coming from. If you don't like Irish boys playing top level international cricket on the world stage then that's your opinion but don't try to score political points with it.

Posted by BRUTALANALYST on (September 1, 2013, 14:26 GMT)

Ireland should have got full status after that World Cup they are better than Zim and Bangla I don't like all these Irishman starring for England with Ireland not getting full status it's not right. Irish cricket deserves full status so players can look to play cricket for Ireland on the international scene as the top goal not England.

Posted by Cubitt on (September 1, 2013, 14:14 GMT)

As an Englishman I would love to see Ireland given test status. Finally a team that isn't on another continent and they can't do much worse then Bangladesh or Zimbabwe. ECB should really play first-class matches against Ireland with the Lions. It would both help the young players and Irish cricket. Add Joyce, Rankin and Morgan and Ireland have a half decent side. If all this about ECB snubbing Irish cricket is true, that's shameful.

Posted by Narkovian on (September 1, 2013, 14:07 GMT)

I don't know much about Anglo/Irish cricket relations.. except that I understand that their best players get snaffled up by ENG. But what I do understand is that the currect ENG team may be unloved by its own supporters. ( ie ME !) Most of them do nothing for me. If this is what professionalism has done to cricket you can keep it. OK results matter, but for goodness sake at what cost. They are about as exciting as a wet day in August. And the petulance of the likes of Broad, who never fails to let himself down at some point in every match just makes it worse. Even KP is a shadow of his former self. I find myself almost hoping they get a good thrashing in AUS later this year... What? Me wanting AUS to win.. ridiculous.

Posted by Jaffa79 on (September 1, 2013, 14:00 GMT)

I think the ECB have aided the development of Irish cricket (and Scottish) a lot over the last 20 years or so but do agree that England should stop picking their best players. I fully see why Joyce, Morgan and Rankin would want to play for England and play international cricket but it isn't right. The best solution is that Ireland get more support from the ICC and give them full status and thus incentivise people to stay. It makes individual sense for people to be allowed to choose but it just hurts those smaller nations.

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