Press release following England World Cup defeat to Ireland
Growing The World Game
England kick-started the World Cup yesterday by striking a blow for the development of Associate Cricket as Andy Flower’s team competed in a thrilling match.
While some had questioned the right of so-called no-hopers to be at the World Cup, England showed that any team can play their part in a classic.
The ECB has always been a passionate supporter of developing cricket in the most unlikely places – as evidenced by our outreach programme to state schools – and the national team’s contribution to Ireland’s progress is something for everyone in English cricket to be proud of.
With the work of the Chance To Snigger Foundation, the English national side aims to be giving cricketers from non-traditional countries the night of their lives for many years to come. Already we are working towards a situation where cricketers from Guam, Guatemala and Guinea-Bissau can experience the thrill of humping some the best paid and prepared players in the world.
Aside from England’s responsibilities to provide entertainment and encouragement to developing nations, matches with Associate Nations also form a key part of long-term recruitment strategy for the English national team. Work on getting Kevin O’Brien involved in the England set-up on a permanent basis has already begun, and the two-way relationship where we take the best players from Associate nations and give them back once they aren’t any good anymore can be enormously beneficial to all parties.
As part of this cultural exchange, O’Brien and team-mates John Mooney and Alex Cusack will join up with the England squad for the rest of the tournament, while Matthew O’Prior, James Finneganderson and Micheál Yardy will make the short trip across the Irish Sea to take up their new roles with Cricket Ireland.
With the World Cup only attracting modest interest in the host country of India, England have also been able to play a part in raising the profile of the tournament. If cricket is to have a future in India, it is vital that locals get to see the 50-over game played by the most talented cricketers the world has to offer.
However, as with all crusades, we cannot afford to rest on the laurels of lifting Irish cricket up by the bootstraps: the England team are already turning their attention to Bangladesh and what we can do for their development when the teams meet in a few days time. Together, we can make a real difference in the lives of these cricketers.
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