Thursday, February 3, 2011

Team: Ireland National Cricket Team

The Ireland cricket team is the cricket team representing all of Ireland. Because of political difficulties, the Irish Cricket Union (ICU) was not elected to the International Cricket Council (ICC) until 1993, and qualified for the World Cup for the first time in 2007. The Irish Cricket Union is the governing body of Irish cricket. The Irish cricket team is an amateur one, with players forced to take time away from their full-time jobs to represent their country in cricket. Efforts have been made to professionalise the team although funding has been a difficulty. Despite the challenging financial environment, Cricket Ireland has announced 13.01.2010 additional sponsorship funding to increase from two to six the number of full time professional players with partial funding for a further four county players.

The first match played by an Irish team was in 1855. Since then, Ireland have gained a reputation for giant-killing. Ireland played their first One Day International (ODI) in 2006 against England. Since then, they have gone on to play 39 ODIs, resulting in 16 victories, 19 defeats, 3 no results, and 1 tie. Ireland's greatest cricketing success to date was in the 2007 Cricket World Cup, where they achieved a tie against Zimbabwe and victories over Pakistan and Bangladesh, and ended the tournament ranked 10th overall in the official ICC rankings above Zimbabwe and Kenya.

Ireland take part in the ICC Trophy, the European Cricket Championship (which they have won three times and hold the title of European champions), and the ICC Intercontinental Cup, which they have won consecutively three times since 2005 and are the current holders. The team also competes in the Friends Provident Trophy against English counties. Ireland is an Associate member of the ICC; Associates are the next level of team below those that play Test cricket. Due to their recent successes in the Intercontinental Cup and at the World Cup, they have been labelled the "leading Associate".[7] Ireland is currently one of the team's in Division 1 of Associate Members of International Cricket Council who has One Day International and T20 International status. After the tremendous success at International stage , Cricket Ireland has applied for Full Membership from the International Cricket Council. Ireland have recently won the ICC World Twenty20 Qualifier 2008 and 2009 ICC World Cup Qualifier and qualified for 2009 World Twenty20 and 2011 Cricket World Cup. Being a full member will allow Ireland to be a permanent One Day International and eventually granting them Test status. On 20 June 2010, Ireland were included on an International Cricket Council list of countries that would provisionally occupy the second-tier of any future two-tier Test structure.

The Irish Cricket Union (ICU) – the governing body of Irish cricket – was officially founded in 1923, although its predecessor had been active since 1890.
Flag of the Irish team

In common with a number of other Ireland sporting governing bodies, the Union was formed to represent cricket throughout the island of Ireland, rather than just the Republic of Ireland and in common with its counterparts for rugby union and field hockey, the Union therefore does not use the Irish tricolor, but instead employs its own flag, which is used by such bodies as the International Cricket Council to represent the team. In 2007, it announced major changes to bring it in-line with the main cricket governing bodies. After the World Cup, Irish cricket experienced a dip in success with poor results in the 2007 Friends Provident Trophy as many players were unavailable. The Irish cricket team was – and still is – an amateur side and most of the players had full-time jobs with commitments conflicting with cricket. After the World Cup there were delays in paying the players which resulted in them ignoring the press in protest to their treatment after an Intercontinental Cup match against Kenya.

Warren Deutrom, the chief executive of the ICU, has stated that it wants to "seek actively to place Irish players into top-level cricket, by developing relationships with [especially] county cricket which will incorporate appropriate player release for Irish international duty, and feeder systems for developing Irish cricketers". The reorganised ICU sought closer links with the English county teams, encourage the development of age group cricket, and to introduce a professional element into the Irish game. They also want to take the Ireland cricket team on winter tours more often. In an attempt to prevent the game losing players to counties or other commitments such as jobs, it was suggested that central contracts should be introduced. By June 2009, Trent Johnston and Alex Cusack were the only players to have central contracts with the ICU.

Deutrom has commented that it is difficult for Ireland to become a Test team as Ireland have not received guidance on how it can be achieved. In June 2009, shortly before the start of the 2009 ICC Twenty20 World Cup in which Ireland defeated Bangladesh to progress to the second round of the tournament, he said "Ireland has proved itself head and shoulders above the rest of the associate nations. Yet we are bumping up against a glass ceiling".


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