How Many Times Did Pakistan Win The World Cup The Case for Irish Inclusion at the Top Tier of One Day International Cricket

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The Case for Irish Inclusion at the Top Tier of One Day International Cricket

An examination of Ireland’s performance in online cricket simulators suggests they deserve more opportunities at the highest level. This article looks at some of the real-world considerations that underpin the simulators’ results.

Statistical comparisons

According to the official ODI rankings, Ireland have five batsmen in the top one hundred. Paul Stirling is the highest ranked of these, coming in at 23rd, one place ahead of West Indian Chris Gayle. In comparison, the West Indies have six players in the top one hundred, Zimbabwe five, and the Netherlands and Kenya two each. This suggests that Ireland belongs in the same class with the lowest of the highest sides, rather than with the other companions.

Ireland also have five bowlers in the top 100. This number is equal to England, and only one less than New Zealand in the semi-finals of the World Cup. Their top bowler, Trent Johnston, is just one place below Zaheer Khan, the world champion forward in attacking Indian bowling.

Stirling averages over 42 with the bat in ODIs, which is impressive even considering the quality of bowling faced by Ireland is below that of the top nations. Also, William Porterfield and Kevin O’Brien both average over 30. If you consider that Eoin Morgan could still be representing Ireland if the opportunities were present, there is a quartet of batsmen who could certainly compete at the highest level.

Past results

Bearing in mind that Ireland have played quite often against full nations, their scorecard of 29 wins to 28 losses (from 61 games) suggests that they have been a competitive team for a number of years. Given the opportunity to perform under pressure on world cricket’s biggest stage, they have exceeded expectations, triumphing over Pakistan and Bangladesh in the 2007 World Cup and England in the 2011 edition.

Their victory over Pakistan in 2007 knocked the much fancied Pakistanis out of the tournament, and allowed Ireland to progress to the Super Eight stages. In this second round, after performing commendably against England, they beat Bangladesh.

The most glorious moment in Irish cricket history came in 2011, though, when they chased down a mammoth target of 328 to beat England by three wickets, with Kevin O’Brien scoring the fastest World Cup century along the way. Although they were beaten by South Africa in the pool stages, they put up a good fight against Bangladesh (lost by 27 runs) and the West Indies (44).

Although Ireland could not be said to have dominated the smaller nations, recent results show that they are in a different class to the Netherlands and Canada, teams they are usually grouped with. In 2010 they narrowly lost an away series to Zimbabwe, drew a series with Canada (their only loss was a close tie decided by the Duckworth-Lewis system) and beat the Netherlands. They also recorded a solid win against Bangladesh in Belfast.

The need for the expansion of cricket and its popularity in Ireland

Other facts suggest that cricket in Ireland is becoming more and more popular. Kevin O’Brien has over 5,000 likes on his Cricinfo page. In comparison, the legendary Wasim Akram has just over 1,200. The 3,000+ likes on Ireland’s team page are more than New Zealand’s 2,000, despite the two countries having roughly equal populations and New Zealand being an established team at the highest level, with cricket being the second most popular sport .

All these facts paint a clear picture. The time is right to make Ireland a full nation, and the ICC should act quickly before this great opportunity to expand global cricket slips away.

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