Belfast Telegraph

Cricket World Cup: Ireland desperate for a place in ICC’s perfect 10

By Ian Callender

So where do Ireland go from here? How do they build on their famous triumph against England?

Well, a start would be an assurance they will be competing in the next World Cup in Australia and New Zealand in 2015.

Unbelievably, no decision has yet been taken on whether Ireland’s heroes will even get the chance to compete in a tournament reduced to 10 teams. But which 10?

If it is the world rankings the ICC go by then, at the moment, Ireland would take their place, ahead of Zimbabwe, the win against England putting them seven points clear of the Africans in 11th.

But if they go down the Full Member route then it would be Zimbabwe who would keep it a closed shop and no matter what Ireland do in the next fortnight, or how many teams they beat in the next four years, they would be left at home.

Looking from the outside, it seems unfathomable to contemplate a World Cup without a team that has won three and tied one match in less than one and a half tournaments.

Zimbabwe have won one, against Canada, in the same period — but from the inside, with Full Members having the majority of the votes, it would be like turkeys voting for Christmas if they did not vote themselves a place into the next event.

The decision is to be taken next month, and at least that gives Ireland four more chances to impress on the world stage and prove they are much superior to the rest of the Associate nations.

Complicating the short-term decision is the long-term intention of having promotion and relegation between ODI leagues. Although there is no second division at the moment, according to Cricket Ireland chief executive Warren Deutrom, one is being considered when the current Future Tours Programme ends around 2014.

“That is a key point for us and if that comes about that would be fantastic,” said Deutrom in Bangalore yesterday, still basking in Ireland’s stunning run chase against England.

“That though is three years away and in the meantime we have to get by on ODIs when the Full Members choose to play us.

“We have the RSA Challenge against England at Clontarf — ‘The Rematch’ — on August 25 and we genuinely believe that every time we play an ODI we get more experience and become even more competitive.”

India, West Indies, South Africa and the Netherlands — you have been warned.

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Pakistan secured a thrilling 46-run victory over Canada in their World Cup Group A clash at Colombo yesterday.

Chasing 185 for the win, Canada looked on top of the run rate and threatened to emulate Ireland's upset of England but Pakistan skipper Shahid Afridi's figures of five for 23 helped swing the tide his team's way.

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