Ed Joyce, the former England and Ireland batsman, is mulling a return to Irish cricket at the World Cup next year, but will need a special dispensation from the ICC in order to feature in Ireland's campaign at the tournament.

Joyce's last appearance for England was at the 2007 World Cup in the Caribbean, in a Super Eight match against Sri Lanka on April 4. ICC regulations call for a four-year gap between playing for different national sides, and with next year's World Cup starting on February 19 Joyce will not have completed the mandatory period when the competition begins.

In 'exceptional circumstances', exemptions can be granted, however, and Ireland are hoping that the ICC can be convinced that with four years between World Cups, the two-month deficit in Joyce's qualification period can be wavered.

"I spoke to Joyce last year and at the time he was getting so many runs that there was a chance of him coming back into the English team," coach Phil Simmons told the Irish Daily Mail. "I'm very surprised he hasn't been included in any of the teams so far after the season he had. So you never know. Maybe the question is coming. But it can only be part of our planning when we know that he can be involved."

Joyce had a successful first season at Sussex last year following his move from Middlesex, scoring 945 first-class runs, including three hundreds, at an average of 41.08. However, his real success was in List A cricket, where he scored 941 runs at an average of 58.81 including another three hundreds.

His input was pivotal in Sussex winning the Twenty20 Cup and NatWest Pro40, as well as reaching a Lord's final in the Friends Provident Trophy. His success was rewarded by his being selected for England's 30-man squad for the 2009 ICC Champions Trophy, although he was not included in the final touring party.

Simmons also suggested the possibility that Kyle McCallan, who announced his retirement from international cricket last year, might be coaxed back for the World Cup. McCallan, who is Ireland's most-capped cricketer, playing 226 times and captaining on a record 54 occasions, quit in order to focus on his teaching career and to spend more time with his family, and in particular his seriously ill father.

"The situation with Kyle is still ongoing," explained Simmons. "Kyle's dad is better but that's still a big thing in his life, and we know how close Kyle is to his father. So I didn't think it right, but World Cup 2011 is a long way away and you never know."