ICC needs to support Ireland
If cricket wants to develop into a world game it needs to fully support the development of the Irish Cricket team.
The Irish Cricket team announced their arrival on the world stage back in 2007 at the World Cup when they defeated Pakistan.
Since then, Ireland’s reputation has been increasing as they have picked up the full-member scalps of Bangladesh, the West Indies and Zimbabwe. Their biggest scalp, however, was that of England, at last year’s World Cup.
Last month, Cricket Ireland submitted a proposal to the ICC with the aim of increasing the number of ODI matches they play against full-member nations.
Aside from World Cups, Ireland only plays Test-playing nations a few times each year. Cricket Ireland’s new proposal aims for Ireland to play around 12-16 ODIs against full members each year.
The ICC will look at the proposal at their next meeting, which is to be held in June. Cricket Ireland hopes that the ICC will help to organise ODI matches during gaps in the Future Tours Program.
There are essentially three tiers in international cricket.
The lowest is the affiliates, which includes unheralded nations such as Oman and Mexico.
The middle tier is the associates, which includes nations such as Scotland and the Netherlands.
The highest tier is the Test-playing nations, of which there are 10.
While Ireland sits in the second tier as an associate nation, their performances indicate they have outgrown the other associates. Ireland has won 30 of their last 33 matches against associates.
In their proposal, Cricket Ireland are also seeking funding from the ICC for a new academy for talented cricketers from both the north and south of Ireland.
Even over its short history, the Irish have produced some strong international talent.
Most noticeably they are the breeding ground of Eoin Morgan, who has played Tests for England and is a crucial member of their limited-overs teams.
Ireland also has some talented youngsters in the team, with the likes of Paul Stirling and George Dockrell proving to be very exciting cricketers.
Ireland is also seeking help from the ICC to help establish a first-class competition. Cricket Ireland plan to model the competition of the Irish Rugby, which involves an inter-provincial competition based around Dublin, Belfast and Derry.
If the ICC is serious about furthering the development of cricket around the world they need to fully support the plans of Cricket Ireland.
Ireland are clearly too strong for their fellow associates and at this stage are probably more competitive than Zimbabwe; Ireland need to be challenged.
They have shown that they are more than capable of producing talented young cricketers, who would only be strengthened by the establishment of the academy and the first-class competition.
The ICC have the ambition to turn cricket into a world game.
As such, when a nation has come up through the system they need to be supported and be given every opportunity to succeed on the highest level.
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