Monday, March 7, 2011

Ireland deserves to play in 2015

There have been two controversies that have come up during this World Cup: one speaks of the UDRS, which I'll probably write about some other time if I understand the rule book.
The other is the huge debate over the ICC choosing 10 teams to play the 2015 World Cup in Australia and New Zealand. It's raised a number of questions, with players like Ricky Ponting suggesting that the minnows shouldn't be playing with the 'big boys.'
When you think of Ireland and cricket, you say, "Yes,
they can!"
Normally World Cups have seen upsets, thanks to non-test playing nations. West Indies lost to Kenya in 1996. Kenya beat Sri Lanka in 2003. Canada beat Bangladesh in the same year. Ireland beat Pakistan and England in 2003 and 2007 respectively. Netherlands nearly beat England this year and if it wasn't for Afridi the other night, Canada might have just beaten Pakistan.
The last two games may have been won by England and Pakistan, but it shows us that a bunch of talented guys if given some direction, can rattle a strong opposition. Both Canada and The Netherlands stuck to their basics and played good cricket. Unfortunately for them, they weren't used to 50,000 people cheering on. Somewhere at some point of the game, the pressure undoubtedly got to most of them.
Ireland has managed to deal with the pressure. The reason for this is pretty simple, actually. Most Irish players are used to playing in front of crowds during the county season. It's not as big as a Bangalore crowd, but the players are used to playing with noise around them.
Another thing you've got to remember about the Irish is that they are the forefathers of the Australians. In an interview, former Formula One driver Eddie Irvine, an Irishman was asked why he had such a huge fan following in Australia. He replied, "Because Australia is full of Irish convicts."
The Australians probably got their fighting spirit from the Irish. They probably drink beer because of the Irish and since they're the best in the world in cricket, the Irish want to be as good as them because they are their forefathers.
The Irish are very realistic about their game. When asked in an interview a day after the England victory, Ireland batsman Niall O'Brien said that Ireland wasn't still ready to play test matches because cricketing infrastructure was poor in the country.
When you think of statements like these and look at the way the Irishmen have played their cricket, you wonder what a game between Ireland and Australia might look like. I'm sure that Australia will win, but the Irish game may make Ricky Ponting want to take back his words on the minnows. 

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