England Disrespect Ireland by Resting Stars for ODI in Dublin

Antoinette MullerFeatured ColumnistSeptember 2, 2013

COLOMBO, SRI LANKA - SEPTEMBER 24:  Kevin O'Brien of Ireland is bowled by Ravi Rampaul of the West Indies during the ICC World Twenty20 2012 Group B match between the West Indies and Ireland at R. Premadasa Stadium on September 24, 2012 in Colombo, Sri Lanka.  (Photo by Gareth Copley/Getty Images)
Gareth Copley/Getty Images

England named a relatively young and inexperienced one-day international squad for their ODI series against Australia, but they truncated the squad even for their trip to Dublin. Kevin Pietersen, Joe Root and Jonathan Trott are all in the side for the ODI series against Australia, but none of them will travel to Dublin.

With Alastair Cook, James Anderson, Ian Bell, Graeme Swann and Stuart Broad already omitted, the lineup is largely made out of young up-and-comers, sprinkled with the odd familiar face. The game has already been sold out, with Irish fans desperate for their taste of international cricket. However, it is a move that has caused much discontent amongst Irish fans.

Ger Siggins, writing for Cricinfo, pointed this out in a piece penned this week.

Along with mentioning the weakened squad, Siggins also mentioned England's tendency pry Irish players away from their homeland. Eoin Morgan, who will captain England, is Irish—something which has caused much discontent for Irish fans.

Siggins wrote:

Their selectors have been grooming and cherry-picking our best players for more than a decade. Nor that they have rubbed our noses in it by selecting one Irishman to captain England - at his former club - and another to make his one-day debut here. They have ridiculed Cricket Ireland's best efforts to create a national stadium in a village field and sell 10,000 tickets to watch the nations clash by sending a team devoid of any of its household names. 

There certainly is a case for "informed player management," especially for England's first-choice bowlers. After a long summer, fragile players might need to have a little extra time off, even if they are due a further three months off before the return Ashes begins in Australia. Anderson and Swann are probably the only two players who really warrant additional recovery time. 

The rest of the squad should play, no matter what circumstances. Playing cricket is a job and everyone does their job even if there are parts of it they do not like. Yes, some managers might not attend certain meetings because they are of "lesser importance." However, with such a high demand on players to offer entertainment, surely Irish fans are entitled to get what they have paid for by seeing England's best players?

Those who sign contracts with the ECB will be well aware of the itinerary and what kind of work load is expected of them. To rest such a large number of "star" players is quite disrespectful to Ireland.

Ireland have pushed England pretty closely in the last three ODIs they have played, beating them once by three wickets. To assume that they are a far weaker side than England is somewhat obtuse. 

Of course, England want their best players fit for when they head to Australia. However, big-name players could get injured at any time. Whether it's a plant pot falling on their head or tripping on the sidewalk. Sure, not playing them in a game might reduce that risk and manage their workloads. However, just like England stuck with their best XI as far as they could once the Ashes had been won, they should too for one-day internationals.

Ireland already struggle for home games because of the ECB due to a deal that says Ireland's home fixtures cannot clash with England's. Ireland have played just two ODIs in Dublin this year—to rob their cricketers of a chance to test themselves against the best is unfair.  

Once again, Siggins mentions this:

When the ECB agreed to come to Stormont in June 2006, it tried to have the game downgraded. It wanted a 50 over 'friendly', meaning it could use up to 15 players willy-nilly, making a farce of the biggest game Ireland had played up to then. It took an intervention by ICC to force the ECB to accept the game's status. 

And when Deutrom began his visionary leadership of Cricket Ireland in 2007, one of his first initiatives was the Future Cup, a tri-cornered tournament also involving India and South Africa. This really infuriated the ECB which saw such events as a potential threat to its TV dominance of Western Europe and its lucrative deal with Sky Sports.

Heavy-handed threats followed but a deal was patched together that Ireland's prestige home fixtures would no longer clash with England games, in return for which they would deign to visit once every second season.

England's approach to blood rookies is understandable. That is part of the game. Their sheer disregard for a country trying to find its own identity in a rather ruthless cricketing fraternity is shameful.