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Sports

June 20, 2017

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Ireland eye end to long wait for Test status

Ireland eye end to long wait for Test status

BELFAST: They have beaten West Indies, England and Pakistan and now Cricket Ireland are targetting London on Thursday when they expect to be given Test match status by the International Cricket Council.

In February, the ICC agreed “in principle” that this week’s meeting in London had “the potential to include additional Full Members (Ireland and Afghanistan subject to both meeting Membership criteria)”.

Cricket Ireland understand there have been no hiccups since and they stand ready to take their place alongside the game’s established powers.

It is all a far cry from the years when the highlight of Ireland’s season was the visit for a one-off match by the touring Test team to England or, in alternate years, a two-day game at Lord’s against MCC, invariably made up of Minor County players.

The old Irish Cricket Union was founded in 1855 — Phoenix Cricket Club, founded 25 years earlier, is one of the oldest in the British Isles — but it was not until more than a century later that the Ireland team first made the rest of the cricket world take notice.

On July 2 1969, Ireland dismissed the West Indies for just 25 at Sion Mills in a match recorded for all time by television.

It has gone into folklore that the West Indies, who had flown in the night before, after the conclusion of the Lord’s Test, had immediately availed themselves of some typically generous Irish hospitality.

But whatever the truth of that, they were bundled out in 25.3 remarkable overs.

Ireland knocked off the runs for the loss of one wicket, but with the game over so quickly, the teams agreed to play on and West Indies even had a second innings, reaching a more respectable 78 for four, after Ireland had declared on 125 for eight.

Ireland were admitted to England’s 60-over One-day competition, the Gillette Cup, in 1980 and almost made a dramatic impact, reducing Middlesex to 67 for five when the county replied to Ireland’s modest 102.

But it was to be another 17 years before Ireland claimed their first victory in the competition, ironically in a home match against Middlesex.

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