Home > Ireland > Opinion: WC over for associates…..

Opinion: WC over for associates…..

Ireland head back, having secured a victory in the super 8s. It was anti climatic because they were dedicating this game to Birell, their coach, who is retiring from the position.

There are a number of things to mention. First off all, Ireland have made it to the ICC ODI rankings. That is great news, and I think that they will probably start off being higher ranked than Kenya, who have 9 points. So they will have a ranking of 11 in the world. A lot of people have started mentioning that Ireland have hence secured a permanent ODI status. I dont think that is the case. I think Ireland’s ODI status is only till the 2009 ICC Trophy as before, and it will be renewed if they are able to get into the top 6 in that tournament.

ICC has recently tried a lot to get games played between the lower ranked ODI countries. Will Ireland benefit from that? Surely, games against Kenya, Zimbabwe, Bangladesh should now happen more frequently with the help of the ICC.

The second thing that I noticed in the WC was that top associates can match up with Zim, Bang, England and WI, but with the rest only if they are taking it easy. One of the big boys coming out with all guns blazing has been too much for the associates to handle. Ireland would hence be in a good position to make their game against england as an annual feature, and I think England would not be as hesitant about it now as they were last year. Good to see Ireland getting potentially 2 ODIs vs the WI in June/July. However, series against Zim and bangladesh are a must, especially in Irish conditions, in front of an Irish crowd.

The third thing is about Zim. Anthony Ireland has resigned, Sibanda has resigned, looks like Sean Williams was only interested till the World Cup. Whatever Zim has, and is likely to lose, is a band of youngsters who are surely not up there with the best in the world. For this the ICC gives them $10 million. Ireland, Scotland are more promising, and they dont get enough funding. So the ICC has to rethink their strategy in terms of money distribution. No point in forcing Zimbabwe to play the game if they dont want to.

The final thing is about what is happenning in Netherlands. It looks to me that now there will be a development of a gulf between Kenya, Ireland, Scotland…. and the other 3. ICC should perhaps look at the positives. They still have the possibility of working with 3 teams for the next world cup. These 3 teams, alongwith Bangladesh, will make the first round of the next world cup a lot more unpredicatable. The quarter final format may come back into the picture. The main thing that the associates will have to work on now for the next world cup is their ability to play spin. Nobody can play Muralitharan effectively anyway, but the Irish were playing him like dodo birds.

The good thing is that Ireland may be looking to playing cricket as a national team AFTER the county season, so in the Sept-April time frame. This they would have to do in Kenya, Zim, Bangladesh etc anyway. The question is, will the ICC bear the cost and facilitate it?

Categories: Ireland
  1. Stewart Kayne
    April 19, 2007 at 7:14 am

    Well, about the gulf btwn the countries Ireland and Scotland will not be spared… the irish players dreaming of playing in england and scotlands recent run does not make a diff with van bunges retirement from the team.

  2. Ram
    April 19, 2007 at 5:50 pm

    Ireland will return as the lone successful team from Europe in this World Cup…In this context, it would be good to recollect Birrell’s quote in the midst of the Super 8s about how much Ireland have progressed since he took over. From regularly getting fixtures against Denmark, Duke of Norfolk XI, Minor Counties etc. till about 4-5 years back, he said their fixtures are now more like Eng, Aus, NZ and SL which is great for them…I think there’s potential there to develop Ire vs Ban into a good rivalry through regular exchanges that will benefit both nations immensely…Ban aren’t any good in bouncy, seamer friendly conditions while Ire clearly haven’t played any decent spin till this World Cup…So, Ban and Ire can tour and host each other annually…who knows the ICU may even be able to sell off TV rights for such an ODI series to Ban?…And, more importantly, the ICU should try to include in these tours atleast one, if possible two 4-day games against Ban…

    However, I’ve my own doubts about Kenya and Scotland vis a vis Ireland’s progress…Both of them don’t seem to have strong U19 teams which means they’re basically at a stagnation phase…Netherlands have much bigger problems in their system but somehow seem to be churning out decent batsmen; looks like sooner they convince Eng/Aus/Ind to come and play a 3 ODI series in their country, the better for them…I don’t see things getting much better by just making Neth play more cricket against fellow Associates…they need to play high-profile cricket and they need to do that pretty quickly to avoid being left behind..

    But one encouraging thing to be noticed is the number of teams from the lower rung now in contention to bridge the gap with the top 8/Ban/Zim…Ire/Sco/Neth/Ken are all capable of testing Ban on more than the odd occasion…Even Can were well placed to cause an upset against Ban in the triseries just before the World Cup…Add Nepal (who can be quite a force in few years’ time), Namibia (who keep improving each day by playing in SA), Afghanistan (the surprise package?) and of course UAE (if it’s worth including them), you’ve about 6-7 teams who I think are capable of testing (defeating?) Zim who can themselves surprise Ban, who in turn can test the best of top 8, albiet in conditions favorable to them…And, we don’t know what Uganda/Tanzania/Malaysia will be like in 4 years’ time…This should probably give a strong indication that the ICC’s Development program is working, though it must be said that with a little more common sense, it can work much better and faster…

    Just a late thought: If the US $10 million given to Zim were instead distributed to Ken, Ire, Sco, Neth and say Nepal, wouldn’t we have 5 promising Associates without any obstacles to their growth?…Afterall, they wouldn’t keep losing their players while on the other hand, Zim will keep losing them even if you give them the entire World Cup profit….All that is needed from the ICC is a little bit of perspective and prioritization…

  3. Cuen Lucas
    April 20, 2007 at 2:58 pm

    Just a late thought: If the US $10 million given to Zim were instead distributed to Ken, Ire, Sco, Neth and say Nepal, wouldn’t we have 5 promising Associates without any obstacles to their growth?

    Spot on target Ram, these are countries that have produced World Cup teams on a less than World Cup budget, so imagine what they could accomplish given an extra $2 million? These countries have no shortage of ideas, goals and passion, add some money to that and watch the cricket grow. 🙂

    Also getting more one (and four) day games against Ban and Zim would be very good for all concerned, it seems that those two countries are playing each other with monotonous
    regularity, so a little variety would be refreshing.

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