November 5, 2013

Chasing Test status

Tim Brooks
Can Ireland convince their up-and-coming stars that home is where the heart is?
51

Something strange and almost eerie happened on September 3 this year. The twitterati focused on non-Test cricket. For several hours the Irishmen leading England's charge over their countrymen was a trending topic. That the top run-scorer, Eoin Morgan, and the strike bowler, Boyd Rankin, had both previously played for Ireland was trivia gold, the currency of choice in social media reporting.

It provoked many to consider the selection policy of the ECB and, perhaps for the first time, to view this not just in the context of English success but also in light of the development of cricket on the continent. The prevailing view of the commentators and columnists was that Test cricket would always be the pinnacle of a player's career and therefore that as long as eligibility criteria were met the opportunities should follow. It was tough luck on Ireland, they conceded, but they could be proud of the calibre of the players they produced.

There were a few nods to Ireland's formal application for full member status but these amounted to little more than an acknowledgement that the availability of Morgan and Rankin would be jolly useful in such a lofty aim. Very few got to the nub, which is that Ireland are being assessed for a decision on which the whole future of their cricket hinges, without being able to showcase their best players. This issue is anything but trivial to Irish cricket.

It seems the old adage that the ultimate honour and accomplishment in sport is to represent your country is, sadly, just a romantic notion. Rankin had the opportunity to spearhead Ireland's emergence as a major cricketing force, to leave a true and lasting legacy. Instead he chose to explore the possibilities of Test cricket and that choice is up to him. The ECB have set out their stall. They will select the best players available for selection, and will not in any way jeopardise their own aspirations to be the leading team in the world.

This leaves us with Ireland and their challenge to steer a course to full membership when their best players are jumping ship. Warren Deutrom, CEO of Cricket Ireland, explains what they have done to retain their players. "We surveyed our players last year and asked them directly what sort of structures we needed to retain our best talent in Ireland. The primary responses revolved around developing our own professional domestic structure, striving to play Test cricket, and putting in place our own national academy. These are now live initiatives that form the spine of our strategic objectives for the national squad."

Ireland is one of six associate nations that form part of the ICC's High Performance Programme, seeking to bridge the gap between leading associate nations and full members. This provides additional funding that enables Cricket Ireland to offer contracts to their players and they hope to use this financial incentive to gain long-term commitment from senior players.

"We intend to offer our most important players two-year contracts that take us up to the World Cup," says Deutrom. "One of the roles of our new national academy manager will be to instil in our young players the desire to remain loyal to their country and to sell the benefits that will accrue cricket-wise and financially as the game continues to grow in Ireland."

The model for Irish success is Kevin O'Brien, who has enjoyed a professional career and gained a global profile through starring for Ireland. In Deutrom's words: "He doesn't need to play for an English county in order to further his cricket career".

Cricket Ireland has notified the ECB of their professional squad of players for the 2015 World Cup and hope that their English counterparts will not seek to undermine their preparation. "The ECB recognised that the ICC has invested significant funding into Ireland to help us to be more competitive on the world stage and that, as the World Cup is the most high-profile benchmark of competitive progress, it stands to reason that we should prepare for that event without fear of losing vital players in the lead-up."

With the Future Tours Programme already creaking with fixture fatigue and the full members' share of revenue set to shrink if there is an 11th slice of the pie, Ireland will need philanthropy to prevail over finances

While acknowledging that losing Morgan and Rankin has lessened their chances of full member scalps, Deutrom is focusing on the future and pointing to the young squad that secured recent victories over Scotland, as well as the exciting crop of teenagers who will be nurtured in their academy. "ICC will only be concerned if we don't identify and develop new talent to take the place of those we lose, and all we had was just one 'golden generation'. ICC also looks at the broader picture of whether the game is growing in popularity: whether there is media coverage, whether there is corporate buy-in, and government support. We are only getting stronger on and off the pitch and we believe that, eventually, our case for elevation will become unanswerable."

Of course that desire, however strong Ireland's case, will be decided by the full members, who dominate decision-making in the ICC's governance structure. Unsurprisingly, in such a system self-interest often prevails. In this way Ireland's objective is as much to win support amongst the full members, as Bangladesh did, as meet the ICC's criteria. But with the Future Tours Programme already creaking with fixture fatigue and the full members' share of revenue set to shrink if there is an 11th slice of the pie, they will need philanthropy to prevail over finances.

Ger Siggins, a seasoned Irish cricket correspondent and champion of their bid for full member status, believes the lure of Test cricket holds the key. "The players who have gone to England said they wanted to play Test cricket, so obviously that is what Ireland has to push for. The only difference then would be the money, and Cricket Ireland can't compete with the ECB there. To keep players interested Ireland will need to upgrade its fixture list, keep qualifying for ICC events and bring more money into the domestic game.

"It is incredibly damaging that Ireland cannot field a full-strength side. Bangladesh got into the elite on little more than one win at the 1999 World Cup. Ireland has beaten five full members in the last decade, some several times, and still can't get a sniff of full member status."

But this is not just a case of a full member exploiting the resources of an associate neighbour, wherever you stand on how ethical or significant that is. A fortnight before the game in Malahide, Kyle Jarvis, the promising Zimbabwean seamer, ditched country for county in signing for Lancashire. He could play Test cricket but has chosen not to. Perhaps then it isn't about Test cricket at all but personal ambition. Kevin O'Brien is an associate player earning a good living, courted by lucrative Twenty20 franchises and boasting a global fan-base. Jarvis is a Test player for an unfashionable team with little career security.

Ryan ten Doeschate used Netherlands as a springboard for wealth and fortune. If Ireland enable Paul Stirling to do the same perhaps he won't listen to English overtures and who knows, in doing so in time he may find himself playing Test cricket for his home nation.

This article was first published in the November 2013 issue of All Out Cricket magazine. Read what Jonathan Trott thinks about Australian claims to have got inside his head

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • ygkd on November 5, 2013, 3:26 GMT

    Ireland won't keep it stars until it plays Tests. Whether or not it can play Tests without having kept its stars is a moot point. One can't blame Joyce, Morgan, Rankin etc for taking the decision to head over the Irish Sea for as long as the ECB would take them, however. They have had to look after themselves and their career. It isn't as if Ireland's got a foot in the door of the big boy's club. They remain on the other side of the door knocking loudly. Isn't it about time someone answered in the affirmative?

  • Yevghenny on November 7, 2013, 12:08 GMT

    TheRisingTeam, Bangladesh toured Ireland last year and won 3-0

  • Knightriders_suck on November 6, 2013, 20:04 GMT

    There are three big bullies in world cricket. BCCI, ECB and ACB to an extent. Irish cricket is toed to ECB which means any attempts to get status puts the votes balance in ICC committees unfavourable to India. BCCI will block this and ECB won't care.

  • whatawicket on November 6, 2013, 19:54 GMT

    i do wish foreign supporters writing on here would understand the way the UK works. Northern Ireland is part of the UK and England, Northern Ireland, Wales Scotland are part of the UK. its been said many times but most do not seem to understand this fact. Rankin born in Northern Ireland = born in the UK, as far as availability, England is his test qualifying country. i get fed up with the same old story cropping up time after time.

  • on November 6, 2013, 15:05 GMT

    Ireland's best hope for Test status is Afghanistan progressing to Test status. The BCCI won't dilute the voting power they have over world cricket by bringing in a second European team. With another Asian team joining the ranks, they might be persuaded. Sad but true.

  • SachinIsTheGreatest on November 6, 2013, 12:14 GMT

    @ygkd, the only flaw in your argument is that it is in English cricket's best interests to ensure Ireland does not get test status. It is a very careful balance the ECB has to maintain where the quality is just good enough that they can swoop down on those players for their own team but not get too good that test status becomes inevitable. Irish cricket will suffer a lot inspite of the tremendous talent they have because of the way ECB lords over it.

  • on November 6, 2013, 11:33 GMT

    England certainly not producung quality english cricketers thats why they are stealing cricketrs from S.africa Ireland Aus Zim or so.England is nationalist fro eng football team but cric is the national sport but full of foreign players.SHAME.Why its called ECB it should be called EWCB as abreviation us England and Wales cricket board n if wales as well part of board then why its not called as England n Wales

  • blarneyarmy on November 6, 2013, 9:51 GMT

    @tjl99 'Perhaps Ireland can set everyone an example and stop picking non-Irish players for their football and rugby teams. Until then the moral high ground must feel a little uncomfortable.'

    I fail to understand what roles the Irish rugby or football (would this be the ROI or NI team?) play in any debate on the future development of Irish cricket. These sports and their respective nationality issues are not comparable.

    But on that theme, can you enlighten me with the details of the non-irish players who are dominating the make up of the rugby team? I can think of 1 or 2 peripheral players in the past 5 years who are not Irish born.... Not exactly an epidemic!

    The cricket issue goes beyond any debate on family lineage or residency rules. In any other global sport it would be inconceivable for a player to represent the full national team of his home country and then simply switch to the nearest neighbour on the basis of incremental financial gain. It's just not cricket......

  • Robster1 on November 5, 2013, 23:57 GMT

    It doesn't matter unless the BCCI permits it and of course they won't let it happen as it would dilute their current power base.

  • 2MikeGattings on November 5, 2013, 21:41 GMT

    I support Ireland's test status. The team has been good enough for a while but the domestic infrastructure has been the issue.

    I don't think you can blame players qualified to play for both countries who choose Ireland, nor the ECB for picking them. Ed Joyce went in the other direction & CI didn't raise any objections that I am aware of.

  • ygkd on November 5, 2013, 3:26 GMT

    Ireland won't keep it stars until it plays Tests. Whether or not it can play Tests without having kept its stars is a moot point. One can't blame Joyce, Morgan, Rankin etc for taking the decision to head over the Irish Sea for as long as the ECB would take them, however. They have had to look after themselves and their career. It isn't as if Ireland's got a foot in the door of the big boy's club. They remain on the other side of the door knocking loudly. Isn't it about time someone answered in the affirmative?

  • Yevghenny on November 7, 2013, 12:08 GMT

    TheRisingTeam, Bangladesh toured Ireland last year and won 3-0

  • Knightriders_suck on November 6, 2013, 20:04 GMT

    There are three big bullies in world cricket. BCCI, ECB and ACB to an extent. Irish cricket is toed to ECB which means any attempts to get status puts the votes balance in ICC committees unfavourable to India. BCCI will block this and ECB won't care.

  • whatawicket on November 6, 2013, 19:54 GMT

    i do wish foreign supporters writing on here would understand the way the UK works. Northern Ireland is part of the UK and England, Northern Ireland, Wales Scotland are part of the UK. its been said many times but most do not seem to understand this fact. Rankin born in Northern Ireland = born in the UK, as far as availability, England is his test qualifying country. i get fed up with the same old story cropping up time after time.

  • on November 6, 2013, 15:05 GMT

    Ireland's best hope for Test status is Afghanistan progressing to Test status. The BCCI won't dilute the voting power they have over world cricket by bringing in a second European team. With another Asian team joining the ranks, they might be persuaded. Sad but true.

  • SachinIsTheGreatest on November 6, 2013, 12:14 GMT

    @ygkd, the only flaw in your argument is that it is in English cricket's best interests to ensure Ireland does not get test status. It is a very careful balance the ECB has to maintain where the quality is just good enough that they can swoop down on those players for their own team but not get too good that test status becomes inevitable. Irish cricket will suffer a lot inspite of the tremendous talent they have because of the way ECB lords over it.

  • on November 6, 2013, 11:33 GMT

    England certainly not producung quality english cricketers thats why they are stealing cricketrs from S.africa Ireland Aus Zim or so.England is nationalist fro eng football team but cric is the national sport but full of foreign players.SHAME.Why its called ECB it should be called EWCB as abreviation us England and Wales cricket board n if wales as well part of board then why its not called as England n Wales

  • blarneyarmy on November 6, 2013, 9:51 GMT

    @tjl99 'Perhaps Ireland can set everyone an example and stop picking non-Irish players for their football and rugby teams. Until then the moral high ground must feel a little uncomfortable.'

    I fail to understand what roles the Irish rugby or football (would this be the ROI or NI team?) play in any debate on the future development of Irish cricket. These sports and their respective nationality issues are not comparable.

    But on that theme, can you enlighten me with the details of the non-irish players who are dominating the make up of the rugby team? I can think of 1 or 2 peripheral players in the past 5 years who are not Irish born.... Not exactly an epidemic!

    The cricket issue goes beyond any debate on family lineage or residency rules. In any other global sport it would be inconceivable for a player to represent the full national team of his home country and then simply switch to the nearest neighbour on the basis of incremental financial gain. It's just not cricket......

  • Robster1 on November 5, 2013, 23:57 GMT

    It doesn't matter unless the BCCI permits it and of course they won't let it happen as it would dilute their current power base.

  • 2MikeGattings on November 5, 2013, 21:41 GMT

    I support Ireland's test status. The team has been good enough for a while but the domestic infrastructure has been the issue.

    I don't think you can blame players qualified to play for both countries who choose Ireland, nor the ECB for picking them. Ed Joyce went in the other direction & CI didn't raise any objections that I am aware of.

  • tjl99 on November 5, 2013, 20:52 GMT

    Perhaps Ireland can set everyone an example and stop picking non-Irish players for their football and rugby teams. Until then the moral high ground must feel a little uncomfortable.

  • SidLovesIndia on November 5, 2013, 18:38 GMT

    All ICC cares about is how much money will come in from the country to grant it Test status. That was what gave Bangladesh status instantaneously. If Cricket Ireland can rope in a big spending sponsor for media (TV/internet) coverage, they can get into the big league. They have shown how competitive they have been for too long without anything concrete happening.

  • on November 5, 2013, 17:54 GMT

    The theft of players like rankin,Morgan hampers Irish cricket. in such cases,the test playing board should pay the associate a fine of 5 years of player earnings or trade a player of similar age and experience ! That's fair , I was born in tonga, which suffers in rugby terms a fate similar to Ireland's

  • samedwards on November 5, 2013, 17:17 GMT

    (contd.) "The lesson here is that Ireland needs to concentrate on building its own domestic structure. Playing the victim and blaming the ECB for everything is not only inaccurate but achieves nothing." And Ireland is doing that. But the problem is even with its domestic structures , Ireland is NOT going to get Test status, because England doesn't want to lose a catchment area. And so, England will continue to steal Irish players, because it has a 'right' to play Test cricket.

  • samedwards on November 5, 2013, 17:16 GMT

    @clarke501," Rankin is contracted to Warwickshire. They are perfectly entitled to enforce the terms of his contract." Rankin was also contracted to Ireland, In fact the reason he decided to quit playing for Ireland is because he wanted to play Test cricket. Ireland offered to match the sum provided on his Warks contract, but with Giles promising to fast-track him to the team in place of other contenders, he decided to quit for Ireland. And there, you can see the whole issue. England using the lure of Test cricket to attract cricketers. (contd.)

  • CricketingStargazer on November 5, 2013, 16:19 GMT

    @johnathonjosephs I can recall this being proposed back in the '80s for cases such as Neil Radford (Zambia and England) and later, Steve Tikolo. It never had a realistic chance of getting off the ground. However, with the WCL now extending to 8 Divisions, it begins to make sense again. Middlesex's Gareth Berg turns out for Italy, Kent and England's Geraint Jones turns out for Papua New Guinea, Gavin Hamilton (Scotland/England/Scotland), Ed Joyce (Ireland/England/Ireland), etc.

  • CodandChips on November 5, 2013, 16:12 GMT

    I reckon experience gained from playing county cricket would help Irish cricketers to play the longer form and understand skills required. However reliance on country cricket means that Ireland are less likely to get test status, because they need their own first class system. I wish ECB would help Ireland. The whole Rankin poaching thing with Warwackshire and ECB refusal to help Ireland doesn't give us a great reputation.

    Ireland need to find a way of playing test nation countries for ODI and T20I series before/after they have toured England. Also they should try and tour other test nations. If these other countries eg Aus, India really cared then surely they would host Ireland. Maybe Ireland could play 4 day fixtures vs' A' sides.

    Weather doesn't help either.

    The England vs Ireland game in Dublin should have been enough to show that there is plenty of interest in Ireland for the game. Worth noting that Ireland's best bowler, Tim Murtagh, was born in England. Strange game cricket

  • johnathonjosephs on November 5, 2013, 15:20 GMT

    I wonder if there can be an exception to Associate Nations for international cricket. I think the ICC should implement a rule in which associate nation players can play for both their native country and another country they have citizenship in. For example, most Irish players are citizens or Ireland AND England. Why can't they play for both countries? That way, even if England steal Rankin, Morgan, and Dockrell, the same players can also play for Ireland and develop that country's team. If they can do it for the T20 franchise systems, why not for international cricket? I see no way these countries get test status without it. Players like Morgan, Hameed Hassan, and Ten Doeschate are just too good of players to be put in bad situations like this.

  • o-bomb on November 5, 2013, 14:57 GMT

    At the 2015 world cup Ireland should have first option on picking players like Rankin and Morgan as they are Irish and not English. I can understand them leaving with hopes of playing test cricket as (wrongly in my opinion) Ireland isn't given test status, but surely ODIs should be treated slightly differently. If a player from an associate nation wants to play test cricket I don't think this should rule them out from playing ODI cricket for their home nation.

  • on November 5, 2013, 14:37 GMT

    ICC is not an "inclusive" club, but an "excluding" club. I don't think this is a trend exclusive to Cricket. The big boys in the ICC don't seem to be that interested in expanding the game, especially with the T20 fascination now in vogue.

    I wish Ireland the best of luck. In terms of Cricket Ireland has done more than enough to become a full member.

  • shillingsworth on November 5, 2013, 14:24 GMT

    @CricFan 'The fact that most of Ireland players also play in Eng county cricket means, they will never be short of top level practice'. Therein lies the problem. Counties are much less likely to sign Irish players once Ireland gets test status, given that their international commitments will take precedence.

  • YorkshirePudding on November 5, 2013, 14:20 GMT

    The best way for Ireland to get test status is (1) Have more than a 3 team FC system, (2) Play full Test status Teams A-sides home and away over the course of 4/5 years.

    If at the end of that time they have managed to draw or beat the A-Sides then they are ready for test status.

    The last thing we want is another Bangladesh, who were promoted too quickly.

  • shillingsworth on November 5, 2013, 14:20 GMT

    @samedwards - Rankin is contracted to Warwickshire. They are perfectly entitled to enforce the terms of his contract. He was playing for Ireland, Warwickshire and the England Lions. Giles was merely stating the obvious - something had to give. International T20 matches outside the global events have always been an ideal opportunity to try out players - Rankin's selection doesn't seem at all odd to me but then I'm not trying to bolster some far fetched conspiracy theory. Kevin O'Brien did actually go on trial at Notts and he wasn't very good. As he understandably wants to make a decent living playing cricket, I assume that he did indeed need to go and play for Gloucester too.

    The lesson here is that Ireland needs to concentrate on building its own domestic structure. Playing the victim and blaming the ECB for everything is not only inaccurate but achieves nothing.

  • landl47 on November 5, 2013, 14:00 GMT

    Just to put the record straight, Rankin is from Northern Ireland, which is part of the UK, not part of Ireland. He has a UK passport by right of his own birth. He's not an Irish player who had to qualify for England, he's a UK player who qualifies automatically. Playing for Ireland actually held him back in his international career.

  • landl47 on November 5, 2013, 13:54 GMT

    There is always a lot of sympathy and support for Ireland because they lose players to England. However, the fact is that Ireland would have very few top-class players at all if they didn't come to England to play county cricket. It's England where they develop the skills and get the experience to play at top level (unless it's Australia, New Zealand or South Africa, all of whom have contributed players to Ireland's national side). If England allows these players to elevate themselves to test class and then they go and play for Ireland, which country is losing out?

    When Ireland puts in place a first-class system in which it develops its own players, then it can call for test status. While it's using England's FC system instead of creating its own, it doesn't deserve to play tests. As for Kevin O'Brien not needing an English county- he's been on the books of four counties. Not being able to make it in county cricket is not quite the same thing as not needing it.

  • CricketChat on November 5, 2013, 12:55 GMT

    The fact that Ireland has supplied players of international caliber who represented Eng, no less, should be enough to convince ICC to afford test status to Ireland without delay. I think Ireland will be poised to overtake Zim and BD within 2 yrs of gaining test status once more funding comes in to build better infrastructure and training programs through sponsorships that follow test status. The fact that most of Ireland players also play in Eng county cricket means, they will never be short of top level practice.

  • Thomas_Atwood on November 5, 2013, 12:48 GMT

    I think the current situation is beneficial to Irish cricket. Young Irish players have a pathway: sign for an English county, get good coaching, become professional cricketer, get central and / or IPL contract - kerching. This must be part of the reason why Ireland with a population of 7 million and where cricket is not a particularly popular game is a relatively successful cricket country compared to Bangladesh with 160 million population and cricket as the number 1 game. If Ireland obtained test status they might well damage the current pathway and for what? South Africa, best test team by a mile can't get tests so what chance Ireland. I have two unpopular suggestions. 1)Ireland should join the county championship. 2) We should acknowledge that the English cricket team is no such thing and never has been. I shall be supporting the Irish and British Lions in the forthcoming ashes series.

  • Yevghenny on November 5, 2013, 12:44 GMT

    I would love to see Bangladesh take Ireland apart in a 5 day game just to give some people a sense of how far Ireland have to travel in test cricket. It's amazing how much the difficulty of this format is being underestimated

  • tatactg on November 5, 2013, 12:12 GMT

    First Ireland has to beat Afghanistan in the Intercontinental Cup final to prove that they are indeed the best Multi-day first class side among associates.Any talks of test status before that is premature.Afghanistan is the current champion of the Intercontinental Cup - currently they are the best 4 day outfit below full members.

  • on November 5, 2013, 11:40 GMT

    In my opinion, the most promising team which deserves a full membership is Ireland. Be it there performance in the last world cup in India or their supremacy over the other non-full members that has been proven time and again. I think BCCI or any other board for that matter should start considering Ireland seriously and give them more bilateral series. Specially against India, Australia, England or South Africa since if they win even a single match against these giants the whole world will start focusing them. However, i am happy for bangladesh, i mean, the way they beat kiwis even on their own turf. I think they have come of ages after gaining test status.

  • samedwards on November 5, 2013, 11:11 GMT

    @clarke501, quit defending ECB. "They decided to qualify for England and were eventually selected on the basis of performances in county cricket." Really? When Rankin didn't play for the Warks in T20s for the past 3 years and was injured for the whole last season, why was he picked in T20s ahead of other contenders like Roland-Jones, Harris, Topley, etc? "They were not given any guarantees by the ECB." Rankin was told by Giles that unless he leaves his Irish career, he wouldn't get a contract at Warwickshire. He promised him that he would try to fast-track him into the team if Rankin retires for Ireland. " if he has 'no need to play for an English county', how come he has represented Gloucestershire and Notts at various times?" Er.. beacuse he was 'paid' to represent them in T20s as a T20 mercenary. Kevin O'Brien didn't go and trial with them and ask to be selected in the squad. He was invited.

  • Clan_McLachlan on November 5, 2013, 10:14 GMT

    If the Irish keep asking politely they will never get Test status. The full members are either apathetic or actively working against anybody else joining the club. Same goes for Afghanistan, Kenya, and any other associate nation.

    The associates need to take matters into their own hands. Play series of 4 or 5 day first class matches against each other. Invite full members for ODI tours and schedule a 4 day first class fixture. Advertise all of the above as "unofficial tests". Work around the system, because as thing stand today the ICC will never ever voluntarily ratify another full member nation.

    Cricket has a rich history of this: WSC, Rebel tours of apartheid South Africa, ICL, and so on. It's easier to say sorry than ask permission!

  • Warm_Coffee on November 5, 2013, 10:03 GMT

    Ireland honestly still have a long way to go on and off the field. People say they are better and can beat Zimbabwe and Bangladesh when that's totally untrue. As a bangla fan it will be great to see 3 or 5 match one-day series between Bangladesh and Ireland as our team is desperately need of more Cricket anyhow especially since the team thumped New Zealand yet again.

  • shillingsworth on November 5, 2013, 9:53 GMT

    The article perpetuates the myth that the ECB are involved in the active recruitment of Irish players. Morgan and Rankin came to county cricket because, at the time, it was their only chance to play professionally. They decided to qualify for England and were eventually selected on the basis of performances in county cricket. They were not given any guarantees by the ECB. What is the point of Ireland giving the ECB a list of contracted players? If any of those players opts to play in and qualify for England, the ECB can't stop them.

    The comments on Kevin O'Brien are similarly inaccurate - if he has 'no need to play for an English county', how come he has represented Gloucestershire and Notts at various times? It clearly suits the purposes of this article to make him out as an all Irish hero standing alone against the evil English but perhaps the truth is that he isn't good enough.

  • on November 5, 2013, 9:30 GMT

    Wont be happening till Irish secure BCCI support. So in one line "Will never happen".......

  • kiwicricketnut on November 5, 2013, 9:01 GMT

    Sadly it all comes down to money their probably is only room for 12 test nations other wise the pie gets divided by too much and everybody starves, i'd love to see ireland included but they might have to set up a promotion-relegation comp for associate nations once the spots are full so teams can still strive for test status. I think top cricketing nations arn't doing enough to grow the game internationally, guess that comes down to money as well, england should be supporting irish cricket not robbing their best players just like in our part of the world nz and oz should be doing more for pacific island cricket, they could set up a side with a simalar set up to west indies cricket, but nobody really has the funds to help sadly so if ireland are going to get their sadly they're on their own, wish them all the best because in my opinion they deserve tests

  • on November 5, 2013, 8:18 GMT

    If the international test programme is full well they need to change it. We need to change how test cricket is schedule. I think it would be better if we had two leagues of 6 nations, playing ten matches. This way we can have both Ireland and Afghanistan as test ranked nations. Plus have a play off between 5 & 6 in division 1 and 1 & 2 in division 2 to make sure that every nation is able to compete at the top of cricket.

  • ChrisH on November 5, 2013, 8:14 GMT

    As for Ireland losing their stars, gaining full membership may help in stemming the flow, but it won't stop it...not by a long shot. Between the fact that Northern Ireland players can choose to play for Ireland or England (as Northern Ireland players already have British citizenship and can choose Irish citizenship; after that all they need do is play for a local club in Northern Ireland to qualify to play for Ireland or play for a local club somewhere in England to qualify for playing with England) and the fact that EU rules on freedom of movement mean that ANY cricket players in the EU can freely move to England and play cricket at a local club, then Irish (and Scottish and Dutch) players will always be able to take up contracts very easily with English clubs and after a while become eligible to play for England. If CricketIreland want to put a lid on that happening then there has to be a professional domestic game in Ireland with comparable salaries.

  • CricketingStargazer on November 5, 2013, 8:10 GMT

    @TheRisingTeam It is not quite true, but what is happening is not enough. There is now an ODI with the tourists to the British Isles each summer, often set up at an Ireland-Scotland-tourist triangular. England now play Ireland every other year and Ireland did play an unofficial Test against a strong Australia A side this summer (full Ireland side). It's not as much as it should be, but it is getting better. People need to build on that.

    Cricket Ireland could put in a bid to tourists for more games when the schedules are being set up. For example, a T20 triangular with Scotland and a tourist could be played in a single day. I also fail to see why the frequent triangular ODI series between England and the two summer tourists could not be extended to include Ireland. With the new stadium at Dublin there are various options... it's just a matter of getting them accepted.

  • ChrisH on November 5, 2013, 8:07 GMT

    CricketIreland have finally realized what is needed in actually applying for full membership. Despite the misconceptions spewed out by Ger Siggins as quoted in this article, the truth is that Bangladesh did NOT gain full membership on the back of a single victory over a full member. That's what people think because the media linked two unrelated events (Bang. beating a full member and Bang. gaining full membership) which happened close together in time. In truth Bangladesh gained full membership because they already had a domestic structure with multi-day cricket and because cricket was already widely followed in society (neither of which was true for Ireland until very, very recently) - which is boring stuff the media couldn't be bothered to report on. People seem to forget that Bangladesh was once part of Pakistan and before that part of India and that test and first-class matches were played in Dhaka before independence.

  • on November 5, 2013, 7:50 GMT

    The truth of the matter is Ireland doesn't enjoy the same connections that Bang did, even though they are clearly more talented. England doesn't really want them to get test status. That would just close down a major catchment area for Eng. The subcontinent, Africa or Aus wouldn't care what happens with Ireland either. It's not their problem. In fact, Ireland is in a worse situation than even Afghanistan, which is clearly receiving a lot of support from Pak. Ireland's big brother wants it to be a supplier, and not a competitor. So their chances of getting test status are sadly slim. That is unless India gets involved, but then, why would they? :/

  • on November 5, 2013, 7:44 GMT

    People are forgetting WHY Bangladesh got test status. It had little to do with talent, and a lot to do with connections. It was the late 90s, before India had become the superpower of cricket. They still had great influence, but only collectively. Hence the use of the now obsolete term 'subcontinent' (Ind, Pak, SL). The subcontinent was probably even more powerful than Eng and Aus combined, because of the population. Therefore when they lobbied for Bangladesh's inclusion in to the test ranks, it was swiftly accepted, even though it was based on a single win against mercurial Pakistan. It was a way of adding another vote at the ICC so that there would be 5 definite votes (Ind, Pak, SL, Ban and SA), a clear majority. If India was as powerful as it is now, Bang may not have got test status at all. I mean, India doesn't need to do anything collectively now, do they!

  • TheRisingTeam on November 5, 2013, 7:38 GMT

    What's shocking is that Ireland are not even playing much ODIs against the full members. Why hasn't there been a series between Ireland and Bangladesh/Zimbabwe? they should be playing at least 12 ODIs or something a year against full members so they can gain plenty of International experience and thus compete very well at the world cup. In fact, both Bangladesh and Zimbabwe themselves are not getting enough Cricket for some strange reason so these series against the likes of Ireland will do wonders for these teams. Not just them but also New Zealand and West Indies for 3 or 5 match ODI series and the rest 1 or 2 or something. Test Cricket is another issue altogether.

  • CricketingStargazer on November 5, 2013, 6:36 GMT

    @Jahanzeb Shabaz Hanafi Part of the problem is that there are such close ties between the countries that movement between them is particularly easy. The law is also set up to make taking up citizenship easy in the other. Athletes from Northern Ireland - such as Boyd Rankin - can choose to represent the UK or Ireland (two of Ireland's medals at the London Olympics were from boxers from the North who chose to represent Ireland over the UK). People get the impression that it is a one-way street, but it is actually two-way because the facilities are there, hence Tim Murtagh went the other way and has chosen to represent Ireland over England.

    Players from Ireland and Scotland have always been eligible for England - former captain Mike Denness was a Scot - but Irish and Scottish cricket had such a low profile previously that no one was bothered about it.

    Personally, I would like Ireland to get Test status and an amnesty if they do, but I am realistic enough to doubt that it will happen.

  • D.V.C. on November 5, 2013, 6:07 GMT

    Should Ireland gain Test status, an amnesty allowing players who had previously played for them to return without having to wait the 5 years would be welcome.

  • yohandf on November 5, 2013, 4:57 GMT

    I think Ireland and Afghanistan should receive reward which they deserve . Sri Lanka (1982) Zimbabwe(1991) Bangladesh(2000) got test status and doing pretty well now . Kenya was not considered when thy were in shape (2000-2003) and they went backwards . should not let that happen to Ire or Afg . these two countries have talent and resources but they need regular exposure in highest level . If ten test teams agree one each T20 and one each ODI per year with associates , this quota can be distributed among top 4 associates . I hope all money riding heads of cricket boards will open their eyes to sacrifice 2 days per year behalf of future of cricket . On final note both Irish and Afghan team must receive test status by 2020 . It may be two tier test league of 6 teams with three year promotion relegation rooster .

  • TATTUs on November 5, 2013, 4:55 GMT

    The bizarre rule is that if Ireland were to get test status now, Morgan and Rankin has to wait for 5 years to play test cricket for Ireland. But if Dockrell decides to play test for England, he can do so now.

  • ReverseSweepIndia on November 5, 2013, 4:37 GMT

    Ireland & Afgans should get the test status. Ire had been doing good since last 5-6 years and Afgans got a lot of popularity in short span of time. Also they are good & upcoming side too. With 12 teams, it would be better to divide the test team structure into 6 each and promotion & relegation of 2 teams with each cycle. Competition will become stiff in both fragments enhancing the viewing of game. These associates need to go big and early. In last 30-40 years we have added only 2 teams to elite club SL & Ban. And then we talk about expanding the game. How exactly?

  • mihir_nam on November 5, 2013, 4:32 GMT

    Well Ireland is ready , and should be given Test Status and Ireland should play only bottom 4 teams in Test Cricket . Don't make them Bangladesh . When they played all top teams and lost miserably . Give new test nation chance for 4years against bottom four teams . One odd test against top teams is ok . Anyways look at Zim and Bangla they are not playing at top teams in Test Cricket.

  • Rafelgibt on November 5, 2013, 3:44 GMT

    Its been really good to see that IRE is coming up as a next TEST nation besides AFGAN.But i would like to advice them that plz don't hurry.Be prepare yourself before getting that.As a proud Bangladeshi i have no regrets to admit that when we got the TEST status in 2000 we were absolutely not ready.ICC also failed to guide us until 2007.But after that we made a plan for us and in 2013 the result has started paying back.Believe me when you WIN all are with you but if you LOSE then all want to simply trash you even ICC.So, target yourself for the 2020 TEST status.Best wishes are always with you from Bangladesh.

  • on November 5, 2013, 3:03 GMT

    I think it should be harder for Irish players to qualify for England as it is with other countries. This way Ireland would get a few more years of service out of their top stars. Ireland should be given test status they are miles ahead of all other associate nations besides Afghanistan.

  • on November 5, 2013, 3:03 GMT

    I think it should be harder for Irish players to qualify for England as it is with other countries. This way Ireland would get a few more years of service out of their top stars. Ireland should be given test status they are miles ahead of all other associate nations besides Afghanistan.

  • Rafelgibt on November 5, 2013, 3:44 GMT

    Its been really good to see that IRE is coming up as a next TEST nation besides AFGAN.But i would like to advice them that plz don't hurry.Be prepare yourself before getting that.As a proud Bangladeshi i have no regrets to admit that when we got the TEST status in 2000 we were absolutely not ready.ICC also failed to guide us until 2007.But after that we made a plan for us and in 2013 the result has started paying back.Believe me when you WIN all are with you but if you LOSE then all want to simply trash you even ICC.So, target yourself for the 2020 TEST status.Best wishes are always with you from Bangladesh.

  • mihir_nam on November 5, 2013, 4:32 GMT

    Well Ireland is ready , and should be given Test Status and Ireland should play only bottom 4 teams in Test Cricket . Don't make them Bangladesh . When they played all top teams and lost miserably . Give new test nation chance for 4years against bottom four teams . One odd test against top teams is ok . Anyways look at Zim and Bangla they are not playing at top teams in Test Cricket.

  • ReverseSweepIndia on November 5, 2013, 4:37 GMT

    Ireland & Afgans should get the test status. Ire had been doing good since last 5-6 years and Afgans got a lot of popularity in short span of time. Also they are good & upcoming side too. With 12 teams, it would be better to divide the test team structure into 6 each and promotion & relegation of 2 teams with each cycle. Competition will become stiff in both fragments enhancing the viewing of game. These associates need to go big and early. In last 30-40 years we have added only 2 teams to elite club SL & Ban. And then we talk about expanding the game. How exactly?

  • TATTUs on November 5, 2013, 4:55 GMT

    The bizarre rule is that if Ireland were to get test status now, Morgan and Rankin has to wait for 5 years to play test cricket for Ireland. But if Dockrell decides to play test for England, he can do so now.

  • yohandf on November 5, 2013, 4:57 GMT

    I think Ireland and Afghanistan should receive reward which they deserve . Sri Lanka (1982) Zimbabwe(1991) Bangladesh(2000) got test status and doing pretty well now . Kenya was not considered when thy were in shape (2000-2003) and they went backwards . should not let that happen to Ire or Afg . these two countries have talent and resources but they need regular exposure in highest level . If ten test teams agree one each T20 and one each ODI per year with associates , this quota can be distributed among top 4 associates . I hope all money riding heads of cricket boards will open their eyes to sacrifice 2 days per year behalf of future of cricket . On final note both Irish and Afghan team must receive test status by 2020 . It may be two tier test league of 6 teams with three year promotion relegation rooster .

  • D.V.C. on November 5, 2013, 6:07 GMT

    Should Ireland gain Test status, an amnesty allowing players who had previously played for them to return without having to wait the 5 years would be welcome.

  • CricketingStargazer on November 5, 2013, 6:36 GMT

    @Jahanzeb Shabaz Hanafi Part of the problem is that there are such close ties between the countries that movement between them is particularly easy. The law is also set up to make taking up citizenship easy in the other. Athletes from Northern Ireland - such as Boyd Rankin - can choose to represent the UK or Ireland (two of Ireland's medals at the London Olympics were from boxers from the North who chose to represent Ireland over the UK). People get the impression that it is a one-way street, but it is actually two-way because the facilities are there, hence Tim Murtagh went the other way and has chosen to represent Ireland over England.

    Players from Ireland and Scotland have always been eligible for England - former captain Mike Denness was a Scot - but Irish and Scottish cricket had such a low profile previously that no one was bothered about it.

    Personally, I would like Ireland to get Test status and an amnesty if they do, but I am realistic enough to doubt that it will happen.

  • TheRisingTeam on November 5, 2013, 7:38 GMT

    What's shocking is that Ireland are not even playing much ODIs against the full members. Why hasn't there been a series between Ireland and Bangladesh/Zimbabwe? they should be playing at least 12 ODIs or something a year against full members so they can gain plenty of International experience and thus compete very well at the world cup. In fact, both Bangladesh and Zimbabwe themselves are not getting enough Cricket for some strange reason so these series against the likes of Ireland will do wonders for these teams. Not just them but also New Zealand and West Indies for 3 or 5 match ODI series and the rest 1 or 2 or something. Test Cricket is another issue altogether.

  • on November 5, 2013, 7:44 GMT

    People are forgetting WHY Bangladesh got test status. It had little to do with talent, and a lot to do with connections. It was the late 90s, before India had become the superpower of cricket. They still had great influence, but only collectively. Hence the use of the now obsolete term 'subcontinent' (Ind, Pak, SL). The subcontinent was probably even more powerful than Eng and Aus combined, because of the population. Therefore when they lobbied for Bangladesh's inclusion in to the test ranks, it was swiftly accepted, even though it was based on a single win against mercurial Pakistan. It was a way of adding another vote at the ICC so that there would be 5 definite votes (Ind, Pak, SL, Ban and SA), a clear majority. If India was as powerful as it is now, Bang may not have got test status at all. I mean, India doesn't need to do anything collectively now, do they!