The Ger Siggins Column
Inside Edge: 15 August
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THE 2012 season has been a testing one for many Irish players in England. But it’s all coming together well at the right time for Ed Joyce.
Bray’s other sporting hero had the captaincy of Sussex thrust him when Michael Yardy resigned, but he has led the club to two straight wins in the championship and the dizzy heights of 2nd place.
“It couldn’t have gone better”, he told Inside Edge yesterday, “and I’m enjoying it too. It’s come at the right time.”
Joyce captained Middlesex in 2008, his last year at Lord’s, and the job seemed to affect his batting – just one century in 46 games in charge over his career.
Any fears he might have had on that score were allayed in his first game when he made 108 against Worcester and his good form has continued.
“Captaincy never really appealed to me, I never felt the need to lead. But you need things to motivate you and its nice to have something extra to get you going.”
He hopes to get the job next year, but knows being out of the T20 team makes it tricky.
“I want to play T20 for Sussex, but my record isn’t great and it’s almost the worst club to be in as we’ve a very strong batting line up. I’m not even close. The club may be comfortable with me playing the longer games and sharing with someone else.”
His lack of T20 isn’t ideal heading into the World Twenty20 at the top of Ireland’s batting order.
“It’s never really been my form of the game,” he admits, “but I have plenty to offer still.”
Joyce made the only T20 fifty of his career in Dubai as he helped Ireland qualify for Sri Lanka.
“I haven’t been able to give the World Cup much attention,” he says, “But with Australia in transition we have a chance there. “West Indies are very strong but if we were to get Chris Gayle early we could do well.”
Last week’s decision by Boyd Rankin to throw his hand in with England brought it all back for Joyce, who won 17 ODI caps for England in 2006-07.
“It’s a little bit different now because of where Ireland are, and our ambitions, and I never had to decide explicitly.
“But Boyd had to come out and decide and I agree with his decision – that it’s right for him. To play at the highest level he had to go one way or the other. He’s been in Lions teams and their development programme, and they want to know that their investment is going to benefit their system. But it’s still frustrating and it just highlights the ridiculousness of the situation.
“I think any team should be allowed play test cricket if they want to.” Before Sri Lanka, Joyce will be trying to ensure Sussex’s title bid is maintained. To be honest its Warwickshire’s to lose, but I won’t be there for the climax as I’ll be off with Ireland. The club asked was it possible to join up late with Ireland to play an extra game but there’s been no pressure.”
Congrats to Pembroke’s Andrew Balbirnie on his call-up to the Middlesex first XI for today’s game. No easy baptism either – he’s pitched into their annual grudge derby against Surrey, and at the Oval too.
Performance of the week: James Shannon's superb unbeaten 95 off 91 balls in the North v South game showed that there will be competition for the Ireland top order slots in the near future. Shannon's last five innings: 99no, 60, 58, 59 and 95no.
Cricket Leinster has marshalled the power of Twitter to deliver a brilliant live score centre every weekend. Check out www.cricketleinster.ie/live
Tweet of the week: @Green23 (Trent Johnston): This picture could look a lot different after December. @boydrankin @edjoyce24 #coybig