Ireland’s ODI Woes
Has the Ireland horse bolted just as the cash and fixtures have been delivered by the ICC?
The near-empty stands at Benoni in South Africa weren’t the only reason for vexation among Associate and specially Ireland cricket supporters on Tuesday.
Worse still was the comprehensive fashion in which an under-strength Australian line-up. Which featured one of their least menacing bowling assemblies one can ever recall – demolished Ireland by nine wickets with almost 20 overs to spare.
Unfortunately it was a second heavy defeat for Ireland in the space of three days. This emphasised the gulf between the ICC‘s Full Members and the next cabs on the rank.
On Sunday, it was the South Africans who surged to a massive 206-run success. In a contest where they could omit such genuine global stars. Such as AB De Villiers, Hashim Amla and Dale Steyn and still win at a canter.
In these circumstances, it’s normal for the losing captain and coach to clutch at straws. However there was little inclination to follow that lead from either William Porterfield or John Bracewell. Because, quite simply, there were no mitigating factors at the end of what has been a miserable summer for their personnel.
No Ireland Half Centuries In Sight
On their sojourn to South Africa, they were found wanting with both bat and ball Accumulating only 148 in their first outing and 198 in the second. None of their batsmen managed a 50, and none of their bowlers escaped punishment. Such class acts as Usman Khawaja, Stephen Smith and Quinton de Kock. While emerging SA star Temba Bavuma made an impressive century on his ODI debut as his compatriots amassed an imposing 354 for 5.
Of course, the Associates are always likely to be up against it in these contests. But the Irish haven’t laid a glove on any of their FM opponents in recent tussles. They were drubbed by Sri Lanka and Pakistan on their own patch and the feeling persists that too many of their once-powerful team are passing their sell-by dates at the same time.
This matters, because the ICC has flung money at Ireland and Afghanistan on the basis they are the best of the emerging sides in the world game. But, on recent evidence, Porterfield’s men can’t replicate their ODI heroics outwith the World Cup.
The issue for other countries such as Scotland and the Netherlands is that they aren’t even being offered chances to tackle the elite countries any more. And yet nobody who watched these last two performances from the Irish could argue they were remotely competitive. At least a few South African fans turned up on Sunday. Not on Tuesday, they didn’t!
ICC Hatchet Job?
It made you wonder if the ICC has actually hatched a cunning plan. Where they can justify their controversial decision to reduce the number of participants at the 2019 World Cup. Certainly, on what we witnessed from the Irish this week. They have gone backwards since they thrashed the West Indies in that tournament just 18 months ago.
Ireland might respond that they managed a 2-2 draw with Afghanistan during the summer. Yet even that was only down to a brace of fantastic centuries from Ed Joyce, who turned 38 last week.
When the ICC unveiled their list of one-day opportunities for Ireland. There were understandable groans from some Scots at the disparity between the two sides’ fixtures.
But what once looked like a blessing now more closely resembles a curse!