Exclusive: Irish cricket aims for homegrown success

By Rhys Hayward
ireland cricket

Garaway says Marshall’s defection will not open the floodgates for others (Photo: A Jackson)

Ireland Cricket’s Director of Operations Mark Garaway insists Hamish Marshall’s defection will not open the floodgates for other players.

The New Zealander announced in April his intention to use his Irish passport to add to his 66 ODI’s.

The 31-year-old has illustrated his commitment to the greater Irish cause by taking a coaching session with Irish women’s team.

But Garraway insists that they will be relying primarily on home grown products as the Emerald isle continues to make its international presence known.

“I get approaches all the time from players who are interested in coming over here but we need ascertain they have the proper motivations,” said the former England analyst, who moved to his position with Ireland last year.

“Hamish obviously wants to play ODI cricket for Ireland but he see’s his role as more than a player.

“We’ve got some really good young players coming through, you only have to look at our performances at junior level.”

Ireland’s junior sides have been dominant at European competition over the last four years, lifting four of the six titles available.

Young products such as Sussex’s Craig Young are plying their trade with counties and Garaway is fully confident when players cross the Irish Sea, despite Eoin Morgan’s high profile defection.

“It’s great to have players making the grade with the counties,” he added while suggesting that 17-year-old left-arm spinner George Dockrell is close to a county contract.

“We can manage negotiations with young players at counties a little bit better from now on.

“It’s more a player centred way of doing things and means that we’re not going to get into any club vs country disputes.”

Ireland’s recent success has also fuelled speculation of a bid for test match status.

But despite their application for ‘enhanced status,’ with the ICC, allowing full member benefits without test cricket, Chief Executive Warren Deutrom moved to quell the suggestion.

“We believe that Test cricket is a number of years away, but we do feel that there is no reason why we should not be competitive against the best teams in the world in the limited-overs arena,” said Deutrom.

“Our results are giving us the respect and credibility to be taken seriously by any opposition, nearly beating England at Stormont in the RSA Challenge ODI last year, and the rain robbing us of the chance to do so again in Guyana, being cases in point.

“In addition, we are now becoming firmly established as a part of the Irish scene as a high-achieving sport that punches about its weight on the world stage.”

Participation numbers in Ireland are currently around 20 thousand and there are ambitious plans to reach 50 thousand by 2015.

They also aim to double the number of coaches from around 500 to keep the conveyor belt of home made talent moving.

But Duetrom accepted the more pragmatic view that imports such as Marshall and former captain Trent Johnson can be vital.

“No cricketing nation can afford to cut off any potential supply of players,” he added.

“It is our duty to ensure that our nation is as strong as possible within the rules, although we fully understand our role as custodian of the sport and its values, and the need to develop young cricketers.”

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