Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 16 April 2014

Cricket: Fingers crossed for Joyce comeback

Ireland hope to know by the end of this month if Ed Joyce will be available to play in next year’s World Cup finals in Asia.

Cricket Ireland chief executive Warren Deutrom is expecting a answer to their request that Joyce be allowed to return to Ireland colours in time for the finals before national coach Phil Simmons names his panel for next month’s training camp in India.

By the letter of the law, Joyce is not allowed to play for Ireland again until April 4, 2011, four years since his last appearance for England. After two years without a recall to England team, Joyce, who played 50 times for the country of birth between 1998 and 2005, declared his hand for Ireland again. But Cricket Ireland have asked that the four-year requalifying period be reduced to World Cup to World Cup. Because next year’s finals are in Asia they are being played from February 19-April 2, some four weeks earlier than the 2007 World Cup in the West Indies.

The ICC’s cricket committee, chaired by former West Indian great Clive Lloyd, will hear Ireland’s request which also includes the name of Hamish Marshall, the former New Zealand international, who renounced claims to play for his home country immediately after the last World Cup.

Last year, Marshall, a team-mate at Gloucesterhire of Ireland captain William Porterfield, also declared his intention to play for Ireland and he has already coached in the country. His farewell match for New Zealand was actually against Ireland five days after Joyce’s last game for England and Cricket Ireland have not given up hope of having both players available to play in Bangladesh and India next year.

Joyce, a born and bred Dubliner, now playing for Sussex, is their big hope to strengthen the current line-up and if he gets the go-ahead from ICC to play in the World Cup it is expected he will be one of 18 players who will spend three weeks in Poona next month.

Meanwhile, Trent Johnston and Kevin O’Brien arrive in India today as two of the four nominees for the ICC Associate Player of the Year.

Johnston, still Ireland’s most consistent bowler at the age of 36, would be my favourite for the award which was was won last year by Porterfield.

The decision will be announced at the glamour awards ceremony, attended by the greats of world cricket, in Bangalore tomorrow.