Irish Squib

What a pity. After all the hype surrounding Ireland’s ‘historic’ first ODI in England, the match was a huge let down. Ireland were simply overwhelmed by leg spin – something they’ve struggled with in the Intercontinental Cup too – and the match was over before the first pint of Guinness had settled.

In hindsight Ireland should have bowled first. At least this would’ve provided a longer contest and greater value for money for the crowd in Bristol. Instead the Irish batsmen collapsed in a heap after a reasonable start and spluttered their way to an apologetic 126 all out. Predictably England chased the runs at a canter.

This was very much a nightmare result for everyone who has championed Irish cricket. In order to gain respect, and perhaps earn test status one day, it’s vital that developing nations actually, you know, develop. After being thrashed by Afghanistan recently – with leg spinner Rashid Khan to the fore – many will wonder whether Irish cricket is actually progressing.

Personally I think it’s lazy to judge after one match. Maybe Ireland will come back strongly in the second ODI and show that they’re a good side in the making? When I look at their team sheet they do have some talent. Followers of county cricket will know that players like Paul Sterling, Porterfield, Wilson and Dockrell are very handy.

And although he’s getting long in the tooth, everyone who witnessed Ed Joyce’s ODI hundred for England against Australia at the SCG a decade ago knows what a good player he is too. I also thought that Peter Chase looked quite promising,

Unfortunately however, Ireland just seemed to freeze yesterday. And it always seems to look worse when it happens against leg spin. As an England supporter, we all know how inept Shane Warne made us look for years.

England, thankfully, look a much better side these days. The opposition wasn’t up to much yesterday but it was a useful workout nevertheless. Mark Wood made a welcome return to international colours – he took a little time to find his rhythm but it was worth the wait – and Adil Rashid’s confidence will be sky high after registering the second best figures ever by and English spinner in ODIs.

The only real disappointment was the early dismissal of Jason Roy. After Alastair Cook made an impressive white ball hundred for Essex the other day, I imagine some people will be clamouring for the ex-captain’s recall to the ODI side sooner rather than later.

And that, of course, would be complete madness.

James Morgan


  • In order to gain respect, and perhaps earn test status one day, it’s vital that developing nations actually, you know, develop.

    The thing is James, it doesn’t work like that. Or at least it shouldn’t. Ireland is developing, but development, real development, is tens of thousands of club players. They have doubled that and more in the last ten years. In another ten years they’ll be able to put out a side that is consistently somewhere between average New Zealand and what they have now.

    But for the next five years, as the generation of good players gets older and worse, they aren’t going to be very good. By associate standards they’ll be average to good, but the opportunity to have Ireland play competitive tests was five years ago. And it was missed, the same as it was missed for Kenya in the mid-late-90s, or Zimbabwe in the mid-80s (see the recent article with Brandes where he lamented the timing) or even Sri Lanka in the late-70s (as they weren’t that good again for 15 years).

    That’s why I’ve advocated for the sort of reforms outlined here. To give Ireland the opportunity to play (some) Tests, with some high profile opposition, but mostly against opposition of their standard. Structured so that if they slip, it won’t matter; someone can take their place while they reset. But their development won’t be linear, and they will go backwards. Right now is, in many ways, the worst time in the past decade to be promoting and playing Ireland.

    • I’ve got major concerns about the current health of the Ireland team and agree that this match should have been played 5-10 years ago.

      However, I’d point out that Ireland are considerably better governed than Kenya (or Zimbabwe or SL for that matter). I’d also add that to improve a team need to play a mixture of teams that are at their level and that are better than them. Playing just one or the other isn’t a recipe for improvement.

  • We should be careful about judging Irish Cricket by the standard of the current national side. The work that is being done away from the mens first XI is impressive and with the extra funds of becoming a test nation would speed up the rate of improvement. Tom Harrison gets a lot of flak for other things but he seems to be responsible for the change in ECB attitude towards Ireland so credit where it is due.

    It is constantly being said but this opportunity is really coming too late for the Irish ‘golden’ generation they are well past their prime but lets not forget that on Englands visits to Ireland, the home side were never able to beat the Lions+ side that was sent over so it isn’t like they used to be world beaters.

    It is about exposure, with guaranteed matches and enough funds to run an A tours they will improve and with Test matches against sides ranked near them its still a positive story but with the resources available to England they should be able to put out a 3rd XI and compete with this Irish side

  • Oh and on Ally Cook, would think people would be calling for Buttler to open before Cook, heck even Bairstow got 174 batting there

  • It’s seems as if Ireland had their golden generation and haven’t kicked on, yes they have been denied opportunities, but you have to develop the game at home first. Is their domestic cricket getting stronger?

    It looks likely they will get test status soon. Does that mean England will no longer be able to cherry pick their talent ?
    I found it really weird watching two Irish captains contesting the toss and doing the interviews and almost slightly uncomfortable. I understand the reasons for Morgan picking England but it just doesn’t sit right with me.

  • I think its better for them to start at home and play touring sides from time to time. As the countries seem reluctant to play in warm up games against the sides playing England in tests why not have each side that tours England play a warm up, 4 day game in Dublin. A few of the test countries started off playing unofficial tests before graduating to test status and it would give them a chance to play regular internationals. You might also do the same for Afganistan for those sides playing against Pakistan.


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