Andy Balbirnie, the captain of the Ireland cricket team, has said that the World Cup qualifier game that his team will play against Italy in a few days’ time will be far more important than the test match that they will start against England at Lord’s today.
This is a very surprising statement coming from Andy Balbirnie because playing a test match at Lord’s for his country is always a dream for any cricketer in the world, particularly cricketers from associate nations who don’t often get the opportunity to play at iconic test venues. But, Balbirnie has a different point of view on it.
This is just a one off test match: Andy Balbirnie
Andy Balbirnie said in the press conference before the game that the test match at Lord’s is not even a part of a full fledged test series. It’s just a one off test match. On the other hand, the World Cup qualifiers, although they won’t have a lot of viewership, will have huge context attached to them. So the World Cup qualifiers are far more important for him and his team than this test match at Lord’s.
Ireland has played England in a test match before as well and although they had shown glimpses in that game that they can run England close in the longest format of the game, they had eventually ended up losing that game.
Ireland are again going as massive underdogs against England, particularly with the brand of cricket that England are playing these days after the “Bazball” revolution. It remains to be seen how England fares after a break though because some of the English players are returning from the IPL and they haven’t played red ball cricket for a while.
Ireland will also be without their premier fast bowler Josh Little, who has also just returned from the IPL. Little has been rested by Ireland for this test match against England so that he can be fit and fresh for World Cup qualifiers.