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Cricket has been played by the Irish since the 1730s. The sport enjoyed exponential prevalence following their victory in the Cricket World Cup of 2007. Ireland has both women’s and men’s teams governed under the ICU (Irish Cricket Union).
However, after their year in the spotlight, Ireland’s cricket began declining. Performance dropped due to various factors like unavailability of key players committed to other ventures and delayed payment leading to loss of motivation.
Currently, the popularity of cricket sees a boom, especially in the domestic sphere. More than 50,000 cricketers are playing in private teams, social clubs, schools, and universities. Not to say we have no participation in international games. You can view all fixtures for 2021 on Ireland Cricket’s web pages. Since the year began, the men’s team has met with Full Member’s UAE, who won for the first time against Ireland by six wickets.
However, the unprecedented outbreak and spread of the COVID pandemic disrupted the sports industry in more ways than one. Cricket leagues and series were forced to unscramble predetermined dates and events. And as one of the cricketing nations in the world, Ireland was not exempt.
How COVID Is Affecting Cricket In Ireland
The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted all sports around the world to varying degrees. Social distancing protocols have brought about new adaptations that affect both players and fans alike. Unlike punters who can still access casino free spin games online, cricket aficionados crave the green fields in summer.
The Cricket Ireland Board has undertaken stringent measures to keep teams and fans safe in accordance with governments, leagues, and respective administrators. We have seen:
- Curtailing of games beginning with the postponed Bangladesh summer tour to Ireland in March 2020, we were to participate in four T20I matches and 3 ODIs. The ICC (International Cricket
- Withdrawal of competing nations from series games destabilizing the flow of events. For instance, the Ireland women’s cricket team also had to concede when Scotland withdrew from the planned tour late last year scheduled to take place at the La Manga Club in Spain.
- Matches played in empty stadiums. In an aim to minimize social interaction, supporters are requested to watch cricket matches on devices.
As the medical sphere grasps a better understanding of the COVID virus, the world too is adapting to the new way of life. As new waves of the pandemic threaten, relevant authorities governing the cricket game are coming up with strategic approaches to the current situation. Therefore, if you are an avid supporter of Ireland’s cricket teams or a punter seeking to place wagers on an Irish sportsbook, check Cricket Ireland’s and international administrators’ official website pages for upcoming fixtures.
Global major tournaments have not been spared either. The most notable is the ICC Cricket World Cup Super League. Ireland and England were the first teams to open the games in July and August 2020 before the governing body decided to reschedule matches later.
Although this range of actions aims to curb the spread of COVID, they have much decimated the sporting schedule of cricket games in Ireland and beyond.
As the tide changes around the sport of cricket in the island nation, we continue to see an upsurge of Irish talent adorning the green uniform. Here are the top three cricketers worth keeping an eye on in 2021.
Top 3 Players To Watch Out For In 2021
- Kevin O’Brien
A dynamic all-rounder; he is incredible with a bat making him an all-time favorite. Kevin O’Brien is Ireland’s leading wicket-taker. This right-handed batsman holds the record for scoring the fastest century against rivals England in 2011. And the stats he has amassed since then are mind-blowing.
- Paul Stirling
A top-ranked run-scorer, Paul Stirling is a force to reckon with. An aggressive batsman, he is ranked among the top ten best scorers in T20I matches. Paul also has excellent bowling and fielding stats and is one of the finest young talents in the international circuit.
- Laura Delany
The list would be incomplete without the 28-year-old women’s national team captain who is anxious to play an international game to qualify for the World Cup. She is an all-rounder: a prolific medium pace bowler and right-handed batsman. A few months ago, she was awarded a contract by Cricket Ireland indicating her ability to lead her squad towards a championship.
Cricket is making a steady comeback in Ireland. It is even being introduced to schools and summer camps to renew interest in the sport. Current plans are underway to ensure Ireland joins the ranks of global cricketing giants like India, Pakistan, South Africa, England, and Australia. There is potential in the sport spearheaded by social and sporting ventures even as the cloud of uncertainty about the COVID pandemic looms.