So, perhaps we should spare a thought for poor Rod Liddle. It shows what can happen [Erm, not you Brian! – Ed] when a former BBC producer loses the benefit of his hard working programme researchers.
Here’s Rod writing on the eve of Ireland’s victory over the West Indies last week…
Go back another three years to the 2011 World Cup and England’s defeat by Ireland. Again, that’s humiliating. All the decent Irish cricketers — not many, I’ll grant you — pretend they’re English. In most other sports, Ireland punch well above their weight, but not cricket.
Now, let’s put it down to pressure, or just plain old Anglocentricism. But the one day game has changed Rod. There have only been five successful 300 run chases in ODIs and Ireland accounts for three of them.
The reason you have Irishmen appearing in English ODI teams is because the quality of the Irish game has improved massively in the last ten years (I still have a scorecard from 1984 NatWest game recording a traumatic middle order collapse to a middling to decent county team).
Irish cricketers will continue to ‘pretend’ they are Englishmen so long as ‘England’ is their only viable route to playing top class Test Cricket. That, despite the ODI team’s huge boost in performances, is likely to remain the case for some time to come.
When it comes to cricket England has never quite been the exclusively English affair of the England of soccer or Rugby. Mind you, a few more poorly researched pieces like Rod’s, and you never know what might flow…
Mick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking events across Ireland, the UK and Europe. Twitter: @MickFealty