Joyce fears ICC plan could hit Irish Test bid

Updated: Feb 22, 2011, 23:42 PM IST

Dhaka: Ireland`s leading player Ed Joyce fears the International Cricket Council`s plan to restrict the next edition of the World Cup to 10 teams will hit their hopes of joining the Test-playing nations.

"It`s a setback for us as a country," Joyce told reporters on Tuesday as he relaxed before their opening match against Bangladesh in Dhaka on Friday.

The governing body, the ICC, last week in Dhaka confirmed a plan to pare down the 50-over World Cup from 14 to 10 teams from 2015.

Ireland have already applied for Test status to the ICC and Joyce feared the World Cup slimdown plan could jepoardise their chances.

"We need to play in these global tournaments to push our case and obviously if we can`t play the next World Cup that will be a bit of a blow."

In the 2007 World Cup played in the Caribbean, Ireland made a huge impact with wins over Bangladesh and Pakistan, the latter result memorably putting out the 1992 champions.

"We made great strides after the 2007 World Cup where the boys performed so well in the West Indies," said Joyce.

In that event he played for England as he chased Test qualification before returning to play for his countrymen last year.

"Obviously we (the Irish) beat Pakistan, Bangladesh, tied with Zimbabwe and got through to the Super Eights and performed well in the Twenty20 World Cup."

"So we believe as a country, as a cricketing nation, we are on our way and obviously it will be a blow not to be able to be involved in future World Cups," Joyce continued.

"It`s hard to see how cricket would benefit in our country from that because we would not be exposed to the top teams," he said.

"We have some young players coming through and we have got a good side at the moment. So we are hoping it doesn`t come to that."

"It could be the case if we don`t get into the future World Cups perhaps the guys will have to go back to do what they did before."

"It`s only the last year that contracts have come to Irish cricket anyway. So we just hope it doesn`t get that bad," he said.

Bureau Report