Cricket Ireland has made a strategic move to increase their chances of automatic qualification for the 50-over World Cup. They have arranged to play their final ODI Super League series against Bangladesh at Chelmsford in May instead of in Dublin or Belfast, where they rely on temporary facilities.
The decision was made based on the weather patterns and playing facilities, giving them the best chance of mitigating any rain impact. If Ireland win all three games against Bangladesh and other results go their way, they could clinch eighth spot in the Super League, which would mean they automatically qualify for the World Cup in India in October without having to play the qualifier in Zimbabwe in June-July.
Warren Deutrom, Cricket Ireland’s chief executive, stated that “we need to play and win the three games to qualify” and this approach “gave us the best chance of securing automatic qualification, particularly given the fact that the matches have to be played before the World Cup Super League cut-off in mid-May.” John Stephenson, Essex’s chief executive, expressed his excitement to host Ireland and Bangladesh for this series of Men’s ODI matches, highlighting the Cloud County Ground’s history of staging international sides.
The decision to outsource the three fixtures to Chelmsford is due to the Irish season being too early to prepare pitches to ODI standard, and this has only highlighted the need to accelerate the development of Ireland’s permanent venue infrastructure.
The Irish home season has been complicated by the prospect of being involved in qualifiers for both the 50 and 20-over World Cups, with no fixtures scheduled during the window for those tournaments in Zimbabwe and Scotland in June and July. India will be returning for three T20Is between August 18 and 23, their second consecutive visit after a two-match stop-over in 2022.
Deutrom stated that “Summer 2023 will be a feast of men’s cricket but will look very different to normal for fans.” He also confirmed that the World Cup Super League series against Bangladesh will proceed in early May, on top of the already announced Test match at Lord’s in June and the three-match ODI series in September against England.
Fans are encouraged to buy their tickets early for home matches given the anticipated interest and demand it will generate. Even if the series against India is half as dramatic as last year’s, it will be more than worth the price of admission.
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