Belfast Telegraph

Ed Joyce back for cricket's World Cup

By Ian Callender

Ed Joyce has described his return to the Ireland team for the World Cup finals as “absolutely fantastic”.

The 32 year old Dubliner, currently with his new team-mates at a training camp in India, heard yesterday that he can play in Ireland’s opening match, against Bangladesh on February 25, six years after his last appearance in a green shirt.

However, Hamish Marshall, 31, the former New Zealand international who has an Irish passport, must wait until April before he can become an Ireland player.

Joyce, a professional with Sussex, put his Ireland career on hold after helping his country to the 2007 World Cup finals in the hope he would play Test cricket for England, but he was never selected for a Test squad and has not featured in an one-day team for the Three Lions since playing in the World Cup against Ireland and Sri Lanka in April 2007.

On hearing the news that he will be able to play in a second successive World Cup, Joyce said: “It’s obviously tremendous news. Playing for Ireland again is something I’ve given a lot of thought to over the last few years and to be given the opportunity to do so, a little earlier than expected and on the biggest stage, is absolutely fantastic.

“Having seen the talent and work ethic of the squad over the last week or so in India, I feel Ireland will, once again, make a huge impact at the World Cup and I look forward to hopefully offering a lot to the team in the tournament and the whole of 2011.”

With next year’s World Cup being held a month earlier than in the Caribbean, Cricket Ireland had to request special dispensation from ICC for Joyce and Marshall to play before their four-year qualification period (since their last appearance for another country) was up. Explaining why Joyce was passed to play but Marshall, who plays for Gloucestershire, must wait, an ICC spokesman said: “Ed was granted permission for his four-year standout period to be slightly reduced so that he could compete in the CWC 2011.

“This was done on the basis of exceptional circumstances and the unique facts of his specific case, which included his Irish background and his very strong ties to Irish cricket from childhood up to senior national representation.”

National coach Phil Simmons was, obviously, delighted to have Joyce available. “It’s a huge boost to have Ed for the World Cup, adding to the selectors’ headaches in an already strong squad — but that's a nice problem to have. Of course, it would have been fantastic to have both Ed and Hamish available, but it’s not to be.

“I’ve seen first hand over the past 10 days here in Pune just what hard working and talented players both are. Their dedication and professionalism are evident for all to see and everyone has responded positively to their being with us. I feel very sorry for Hamish, but this squad will be at other big tournaments — of that I’m certain.”

Ireland play the first of four practice games in India against an Invitational XI today.

Belfast Telegraph


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