Ireland vs. England Cricket 2013: Key Players in ODI Clash
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Every game carries importance, and every game will have its heroes. Even though England are resting senior players for Tuesday's One-Day International with Ireland, that doesn't mean the game is meaningless.
Of course, seeing as it's an isolated game before the ODIs with Australia begin, cynics may scoff that's exactly what it means, but that would be unfair.
Cricket in Ireland is increasing in popularity, and this game promises to be a sell-out. Raising the profile of the game would obviously be beneficial to the country, as Ireland will wish to retain future stars rather than losing them to other nations.
Irish-born players like Eoin Morgan and Boyd Rankin gravitated to England for their cricket, and both are set to feature in the game. Ireland would dearly love to retain players of their quality in years to come, further elevating the status of the Irish game.
Back to the present, however. Below are three players who will be crucial to their side emerging victorious.
The man who announced Ireland to the world with the fastest hundred in World Cup history—off 50 balls—O'Brien has the ability to take the game away from the opposition. On that historic day in 2011, Ireland successfully chased 327 and took down England.
A clean striker of the ball, the 28-year-old batsman will again be looking to shine in front of the cameras as England visit Malahaide. Ireland will be going for the victory in order to make a push for Full Member status, and O'Brien is key to that.
Expect him to go for his shots from the outset and put pressure on the English attack.
The returning Irishman will be captaining England on this visit, which is sure to result in some words exchanged out in the middle—all good-natured, of course.
However, Morgan is crucial to the success of a side without its biggest names, as his gift for improvisation and clarity under pressure has served England well in the past.
Who could forget his final-ball six against India last year that levelled the Twenty20 series in Mumbai?
That sort of environment has seen many English batsmen crumble, so Morgan is the big wicket in the side—as well as a comforting presence as captain.
At 32, Carberry is hardly an up-and-coming player. However, his excellent form has ensured he cannot be ignored for this contest. He scored over 500 runs in the domestic T20 competition this year and will be looking at this game as a platform from which to elevate into contention for the Australia series.
What does Michael Carberry have to do to get a game for England?! #EngvAus— David Colesby (@david_colesby) August 31, 2013
The prospect of Carberry opening the batting with Kevin Pietersen is an enticing one. Carberry smashed Bangladesh A all over for his 146 in a recent England Lions game, showing the selectors he had returned to his 2010 form.
He played a single Test match that year before suffering a blood clot on his lung that almost ended his career. If he gets a good score here, he deserves the chance to start in the first ODI against the Australians.
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