Ireland for Test Cricket

Are there good reasons to admit Ireland to Test status? Heck, are there good reasons not to? Each major tournament, the Irish provide us with upsets or close finishes. Ireland has a long history of playing cricket. They are currently ranked 9th for T20 and 11th for ODIs (pre-World Cup). Given time & minimal assistance, the Irish can be a competitive Test outfit too.

Zimbabwe and Bangladesh were ushered into the Test cricket ranks with a minimum of administrative fuss. Bangladesh due to the huge popularity of the game in the country. Zimbabwe partly as an ally for South Africa. There was concern at the time. This mainly stemmed from the idea of each Test nation playing each other twice in a rotating schedule - home & away. This has largely been done away with. They are both considered minnows in the ranks, and that is fine. The same can apply to Ireland, for now.

There is no need to tour Ireland in a 'proper' series. A single Test match in Dublin prior to the Ashes is a winner. A proper warm-up. Considerations of strictly fielding the full Australian XI can be pushed to one side. Test rankings can easily be re-jigged to reflect the minnow status - leaving the prospect of a rained out draw or an unthinkable(!?) loss as acceptable. A doctored pitch would make for entertaining viewing and could be encouraged.

Admitting Ireland to the Test ranks leads on to benefits for Bangladesh & Zimbabwe. Playing Ireland. For Australia, the reason for not staging a single Test match in Dhaka/Harare as part of a continental tour is purely old-fashioned. Statistics, 'purity' of the game & stodginess. There should be no requirement for any of the three to tour Australia in return.

Ireland suffers through no ICC recognized first-class system. Not to mention the colonials over the Irish Sea pilfering their best players. A stroke of the pen can fix this. Nothing is lost to cricket by doing so.

Originally published in Sports Report

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