Home > Cricket Development, General Cricket, Ireland, Scotland > Ireland and Scotland: No looking back

Ireland and Scotland: No looking back

It seems to me that Ireland and Scotland Cricket teams are on a ‘no turning back’ road as far as the improvement and populairty of the sport in their respective countries is concerned.

First of all, these countries have been playing cricket for ages, perhaps 100-150 years. So the history is already there. They have not been playing with help from expats in their teams but from home grown players. Secondly, whatever their procedure of development is, it is decent because it does throw up players who have a chance of getting selected for England. Some of the examples were Gavin Hamilton, Dougie Brown from Scotland, and currently, Ed Joyce from Ireland is trying to break into the England national team, with perhaps Eion Morgan to follow. So these two nations are able to produce good cricketers, its just that the environment was such that either the players stopped playing, or they tried to play for England. Now with the ODI status, that problem is solved to some extent.

Ireland has already annouced their match against England next year, Scotland is to play 2 games against Pakistan next year. Then they are supposed to face off along with Holland next year as well in the european championships. All these ODIs are likely to get their public’s attention, and it likely to generate some money for their boards, which in turn will translate into money for the players, hence making it possible in the future, for the players to make the amateur to professional jump.

Additionally, both these countries are particiapting in the C&G trophy in England next year, and I believe Scotland has been doing so for 3 years now. They have a minimum of 8 mathes each already scheduled with English Counties for 2006. And the matches are going to take place on weekends so that their amateur players can participate and both the countries can field full teams. Such regular events are likely to generate interest in the public about the Irish or the Scottish cricket teams, and the extra gate money can translate into more money for the board. The biggest thing is that invoving Scotland and Ireland in the English domestic system is actually good also for the ECB. These countries bring a reasonable amount of viewership for their matches, which all transaltes into more money.

Then there is also the question of a few Irish and Scottish players actually playing in the English County championships. Dougie Brown, John Blain, Hamilton, Ed Joyce and Eion Morgan all play for the English County sides, and that is definitely another way in which players from these two countries can become professionals even if there is not much money in their own domestic leagues.

Sponsorships are not an issue for them at the momment, with Bank of Ireland sponsoring Irish team, and Scotland have also had a sponsor for quite some time now. Travel at least to England, and also the travel from England for other test teams to play on off games is not that much of a problem given the close proximity of these countries. I can bet that every year, Scotland and Ireland are likely to get ODIs out of teams touring England, and at home they are not going to be walkovers. I remember a full Pakistan team winning a match against Scotland only by 1 wicket in 2003. Such games are likely to inject quite a bit of excitement amongst their public to make cricket into a self sustaining industry in both of these countries.

Finally, the fact that Scotland and Ireland beat every other Associate nation, some of them quite badly, means that their standard is already pretty close to the worst test playing nations. Only a quadrangular tournament between Sco, Ire, Zim and Bang can tell us exactly what the situation is. I would bet my money on both these countries to be able to defeat Zim without much problem and definitely give Bang a run for their money.

I would put my money on either one of these two countries to be given a full ODI status, whenever the ICC decides to give that out. At the momment, we know it is not going to be before the ICC trophy 2009. Until then however, I think both these countries will be part of better ODI games from the associate countries than the rest.

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