Of Bangladesh and Ireland’s bid for Test statusAzad Majumder . Belfast
Even five years ago Ireland were not the best contenders to claim the Test status after Bangladesh. The International Cricket Council had Kenya in their consideration and they had every reason for it.
But a remarkable success over the last few years has given the Irish cricketers a genuine belief in their ability to achieve the goal which was previously unthinkable to them.
Qualifying for five out of last six major world events, progressing to the second stage in two of those, six victories over full member countries home and away have now made them the best cricketing nation among the ICC associate member countries.
Three intercontinental cup wins and victories in 30 of last 33 matches against associate countries only supported the claim that Ireland’s cricket has gone from strength to strength over the last few years.
By using these on-field successes Ireland are now plotting what could be a potentially killer blow for Bangladesh, currently involved in a three-match Twenty20 series against the home side.
Warren Deutrom, the Cricket Ireland chief executive, said he is a strong advocate for a two-tier system as his country has planned to claim a Test status by 2020.
The international cricket is already a crowded area with 10 Test playing nations involved in umpteenth bilateral series and Deutrom knows without a two-tier system their chances of getting Test status are very slim no matter how they fare on the field.
‘I am a member of the chief executives committee so I am party to a number of major strategic discussions in the ICC,’ Deutrom told New Age in an interview in Belfast on Wednesday.
‘Already we have 10 Test teams all playing each other seems too many. [As a result] Zimbabwe can’t play sufficient number of matches…Bangladesh does not play Australia in Test cricket, does not play India in Test cricket and I don’t know even when they played England in Test cricket,’ he said.
‘I would say eight teams in top division and may be four or six teams in the second division, I think will really assist that. And I think if you introduce promotional system it would benefit the game. At the moment there are benefits of winning but no penalty for losing,’ he said.
If introduced, the two tier system can drastically reduce the revenue for the countries, but Deutrom said this has nothing to do with his country and it is rather a concern for Bangladesh and Zimbabwe.
Currently Bangladesh and Zimbabwe get an equal share of ICC’s income being full members and also can earn money from playing against fellow top nations.
Deutrom also admitted that the two-tier system will mean they will not get a chance of playing against the top countries in limited-over cricket as frequently as they play now.
‘I suspect it may be more of an issue not necessarily for Ireland, but also for Bangladesh, Zimbabwe,’ said Deutrom. ‘We think we deserve to play more matches against top teams and only a Test status can ensure it.’
Asked if his country has necessary infrastructure and fan base, two necessary pre-conditions for being among the elites, Deutrom said that should not be an issue. He cited the example of Zimbabwe and Bangladesh who also did not have enough strength when they were granted Test status.
‘We really want to play Test cricket, why because it is the best, it’s all the best nations in the world do and play. It’s what every player wants to be remembered for,’ said Deutrom.
‘Obviously Bangladesh was the last nation elevated in 2000 and after 10 to 12 years if we compare some of the achievements we have had as a cricket nation both on and off the pitch and we compare that with Bangladesh, and even Zimbabwe we can compare us quite favourably,’ he said.
‘What we don’t do at the moment, we don’t probably play sufficient three- or four-day matches in domestic cricket and that’s something we are looking to introduce by 2015.
‘And we think if we can achieve the target that we established in our strategic plan for 2015, we should be on our way to playing Test cricket by 2020,’ he said.
Continued on C2 Col. 6
comments powered by Disqus