Ireland due for busy 2013
Ger Siggins (Irish Daily Star)
IRELAND’S cricketers could have a couple of plum ODIs on home turf next summer.
With the eight-team Champions Trophy being held in England in June, Cricket Ireland have offered warm-up games to several top test teams.
And the Irish Daily Star has learned that at least two different Test teams are likely to visit for full ODIs against Ireland.
“We’re in advanced talks with a couple of full members”, Cricket Ireland supremo Warren Deutrom told the Star yesterday.
Already England are due to play in Malahide next August, but that venue could play host to distinguished guests even earlier.
And a new international venue could also host one of the prized games.
The Bready club, in Magheramason, Co. Derry, has upgraded its ground and has recently been assessed for ODI status by ICC official Jeff Crowe.
“Hopefully Bready will get accreditation”, says Deutrom.
“One way or another we’re going to have a lot more home fixtures over the coming years and we have to put in a new system of allocation which gets away from the rotation system.
“All sorts of factors have to be weighed up.
It’s all another sign of how we’re growing and developing.”
Meanwhile, in another sign of that progress, four of the five players shortlisted for next month’s ICC Associate Player of the Year are Irish.
The top gong for non-test players will be handed out at a glittering bash in Sri Lanka next week.
And Ireland’s Ed Joyce, George Dockrell, Kevin O’Brien and Paul Stirling are all lined up to become the second Irish winner after William Porterfield in 2009.
Afghanistan’s Dawlat Zadran is the only non-Irish nominee.
Meanwhile, Ireland batsman and Star columnist Niall O'Brien made a career-best score for his county yesterday.
O'Brien took his total from 114 to 182 before he was out yesterday in Northamptonshire's game against Glamorgan.
His previous best was 176 for Ireland while his county best was 168.
O'Brien joins up with his Irish team-mates on Monday before flying to Sri Lanka for the ICC World Twenty20.