England should play one Test against Ireland every year

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Ireland kit bag (via Twitter video)

The first Test match for Ireland’s men’s team will be against Pakistan in May 2018.

It should have been England. That much is obvious.

If two teams can meet without resorting to air travel, they’re close enough that there should be some sort of relationship between them. The relationship between England and Ireland has up until now been that the former has robbed all the latter’s best players.

Kind of feels like there’s some semblance of a debt there.

We’d love to see an annual fixture between England and Ireland. You don’t have to play five-match series to build context and narrative. You can play less frequently but routinely instead.

It works in the Six Nations and we can’t see any real reason why an equivalent cricket fixture wouldn’t also draw interest. If nothing else, England’s early-season Test matches are often stillborn so a regular grudge match would kick a little bit of life into May and June.

Oh, and Eoin Morgan should be Ireland Test captain.


Mike Gatting wasn't receiving the King Cricket email when he dropped that ludicrously easy chance against India in 1993.


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    1. Can’t promise that Ireland will beat England within three days every time, JB, but we’ll give it a go.

  1. I think Ireland will benefit from their proximity to England in another way – a one-off Test in Dublin is a convenient match to play ahead of a multi-Test tour of England.

    Whilst I’d hesitate to use the phrase ‘warm up’ for what would, of course, be a full Test, some touring sides may view a Test against Ireland as better preparation than a 14-a-side game against whichever Second Division County Championship side happens to be free.

  2. I’m guessing this game would be played in Dublin every year, because I can’t see a mad clamour among the Test venues in England to be hosts.

    1. It could be a way to satisfy the “Lord’s must host two Tests a year” crowd while offering more high-profile matches to the other grounds.

      1. Maybe, but can’t help but feel that England v Ireland warrants a different sort of ambience.

    2. Maybe not a mad clamour, but several English cities aren’t wanting for Irish and we also get the feeling it would be a more appealing fixture for the natives than some of the recent springtime touring sides.

  3. I love the idea of an annual England v Ireland test match.

    Surely it would/should alternate between being hosted in England and hosted in Ireland.

    It shouldn’t always be at Lord’s when hosted in England, but I think Lord’s would work well for it – you’d certainly get a decent sized crowd at Lord’s. Oval too. Old Trafford and Edgbaston also seem like good candidates, with substantial Irish populations of their own and good transport links to Ireland.

    If the fixture became established as “a thing”, then it should be possible to get a decent-sized crowd at any test ground for the fixture. The difficulty indeed might be under capacity at the relatively small grounds in Ireland.

    The key to it, though, would be for Ireland to be a competitive first class side. I am a huge fan of Eoin Morgan but try as he might he is not very good at red ball cricket, so I don’t think he is the answer.

    I hope the ICC and established national boards will be imaginative regarding new test nations and the ability of players from those places to play first class cricket abroad while remaining qualified to play internationally for their countries. The current rules, complicated further by Brexit, will put many Irish players in ludicrous decision-making quandaries at just the wrong time.

  4. I agree wholeheartedly.

    We could also do a “Cricket 5 nations” tournament to replace one of the ODI series (if the format exists after the 2019 World cup that is).

    The Netherlands
    Touring Team

    All play 1 match against each other and the winner is decided on points or net run rate.

    Package the tournament up and sell the rights on the same basis that the 6 nations do with rugby.

    Also let’s get Scotland an ODI at Lord’s vs England. The Ireland ODI was great this year.

  5. In other news, Salman Butt is now lecturing Peshawar on the Spirit of the Game after their bowler ran out his non-striker in accordance with some law or other that recently got clarified to make it more clear that it’s actually legal so people stop moaning.

  6. I’ve been away for a couple of days, so I thought I’d catch up on things via the internet. Apparently there’s been a collision. But not just any old collision, this one happened 135 million years ago and involved “the densest thing in the universe”.

    Imagine my surprise, therefore, to find that David Warner had been saying something only yesterday.

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