Can the Irish make their own luck?

The World Cup is not even a week old, but the grumblings about bloated schedules and minnows devaluing the tournament are in full force. To an extent, they are fair given the performance of Kenya, Canada and Zimbabwe. So far, only the Dutch have done a terrific job of providing a contest; but I will reserve my judgment till Ireland get their campaign going.

If there is one ‘minnow’ team capable of putting up a contest in every game, it is Ireland. They made their World Cup debut in 2007 and had a dream run, starting off with a tie against Zimbabwe and in the biggest upset in World Cup history – knocked out Pakistan through a thrilling 3 wicket win.

While the subcontinent heavyweights returned home in shame, a bunch of amateur cricketers (who had the least experience in the tournament but made up for it with sheer joy and love of the game), entered the Super 8s, to face the big boys. Inevitably, they faced tougher games and bowed out before the knock-out stage; but not before defeating another Test playing nation in the form of Bangladesh. They returned home, much later than they would have imagined, but with a story to tell their grandkids in the future.

Four years on, lots has changed. The profile of cricket has changed in Ireland. All except two are professional cricketers, in the squad. Now, they come with expectations to not just compete, but to claim at least one big scalp. Considering that they have West Indies and Bangladesh in their group, it is not an unrealistic proposition.

Their recent form may have been patchy, but there is no doubt that in the likes of Botha, Dockrell, Johnston, Joyce, the O’Brien brothers, Porterfield and Rankin – they have the players to rise up to the occasion, and join the Dutch in giving the ICC something to think about.

To know more about Team Ireland, click here.

5 comments

  1. I also like the ambition in the Irish setup. They have already made it clear that they intend to apply for a full Membership “Test” status in a couple of years’ time. This team, along with Afghanistan, is my hope for the growth of cricket in the near future.

  2. They are definitely wanting to apply for full status in the next few years and I say good on ’em. They deserve it. I think they’ve gone as far they can on their current part status (can’t think what it’s called!) and it is time to let them play the big boys in the big game so that they can continue to progress.

  3. It would be premature for them to push for Test status, as they don’t have a deep structure in place to churn out quality cricketers on a regular basis; There is a lot of work to be done before they reach that level but I agree that if Ireland and Afghanistan get to play more often with the big teams, instead of just facing each associate nation day in and day out, the ‘globalization’ of cricket might just start to take effect.

  4. Good call on the Irish, tracer! They may have lost, but they played a good, competitive game.

    I hope the ICC haven’t closed their minds about the Associate nations at the 2015 WC. A 12-nation WC, which includes Ireland and the Dutch, would be better for cricket, and fairer, than just a 10-nation one.

    1. I absolutely agree with the 12-team WC format….If you want to reduce the number of mismatches and at the same time want to promote the associate nations – just keep the 2 best ‘minnows’, so that the World Cup will still be a fairly well fought tournament..

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s