The Angus Berry Column
5 Things to Learn from Bangladesh's European tour
The Angus Berry Column: Previous Articles
Ireland still has a long way to go before becoming a full member
In an earlier article I outlined how I believed that Ireland should be given full membership to the ICC. Bangladesh’s tour of Europe has done nothing to change this stance but we have learned just how far full membership money goes in terms of development. Although an Ireland whitewash was never really expected; I, like many others expected a far better showing than the men in green gave the watching cricketing world. This shows us that Ireland still have lots to do in terms of development if they are to transfer into the world of test cricket.
I know this was a T20 series but the margin of victory for Bangladeshis was quite alarming. Ireland need to learn to play spin far better than they did in the three match series and this can only come with more exposure to the teams such as Bangladesh. This will come in time and the ICC need to nurture teams like Ireland by giving them the chance to face sub continent teams more often. Ireland were far from disgraced but their performance here may just hinder their progress in the cricketing world.
Scotland and the Netherlands are not as far behind Ireland as previously thought
Before Bangladesh came to Europe many commentators expected that Ireland would prove the biggest obstacle to the Tigers' success and that Scotland and the Netherlands would merely be filling out the tour. Yet the performances of both teams showed us two things; first, that associate cricket is a strong position with many teams fighting to be the top team below test level. The second thing is that Ireland are perhaps not as far ahead of the rest as many think. The T20 WCQ and both the one day and four day competitions have been fiercely fought, with Ireland deservedly on top but with the rest champing at the bit behind them.
The Dutch success in the Pro 40 has developed them as a team
The Netherlands have been plying their trade in the English Pro 40 competition for the last few seasons and this year they have finally started to reap some rewards. Currently second in their group, the Orange men have played several games in the competition together as a team as well as playing in the ICC tournaments. This has led to a great team spirit and as a result their performances has greatly improved on recent years. In contrast the Irish team is made up of many county players playing in different teams across England. Although this goes along way in developing the skills of the players the team spirit may have suffered as a result of the short amount of time they spend together.
Three formats, three teams
The Irish, as a result of their success and the quality of the players they produce, have fielded different teams in the different formats of the game. The four day competition often sees the Irish county players missing from the side as they are contracted to the counties over the national team (with some exceptions, such as Paul Stirling). The one day team suffers similarly when the game is not a full ODI game. This leads to a disjointed squad that sees the county superstars shipped in when the game is deemed important enough. This can been seen as Ireland becoming a victim of their own success but even when the stars return, as they did against Bangladesh, the results are not as consistent as they would have liked. Point in case is the return of Boyd Rankin, who, after no cricket for months took the place of someone who has played in Ireland’s less glamorous fixtures.
There is light at the end of the tunnel
Despite the issues that have been raised here about the state of the Irish team there are many positives to take away from this tour. The very fact that there was a tour proves that Ireland are making strides to becoming a full member of the ICC. Later in the year a South Africa A side also tours which again shows the esteem with which Irish cricket is held around the world. To judge Ireland's credentials as a full member on one three match series would be wrong, especially as T20 is seen a leveller were matches will always be tighter. Ireland also showed that they are more than capable to host international tours and despite the weather they managed to put on a great show. We have also learned that European cricket is in a great state, with the Scottish and Dutch teams proving that the men in green are not the only ones that can beat full member sides.
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