Ireland are happy with qualifier tournament
Cricket Ireland's Performance Director Richard Holdsworth Discusses The Format for the 2014 World T20 with RTE's John Kenny
John Kenny: There was much rejoicing in the world of Associate Cricket when the ICC announced that the 2014 World T20 would feature sixteen teams with six qualifiers from the qualifier in the UAE later this year, joining ten full team members in Bangladesh. But as ever it seems the ICC, it's not as simple as that. The first stage of the T20 will instead see the six qualifiers, which should include Ireland, join Bangladesh and Zimbabwe in a Preliminary Round from which two teams will be joining the remaining full members in the first round proper
. Well Cricket Ireland's Performance Director Richard Holdsworth joins me now, good evening to you Richard.
Richard Holdsworth: Good evening John, how are you.
John Kenny: I'm very good. Richard this seems like another qualifying tournament. What on earth is going on?
Richard Holdsworth: Well it certainly does read that way, I must admit. Look I think internally, actually, we haven't got a great problem with it. Whilst it might seem that way on the periphery, as you well know having been out there and broadcasting during the last T20 in Sri Lanka, we unfortunately, because of the nature of that format only had two matches before the Super Eights. We played one against Australia, and unfortunately the second one as rained out. We never had a chance to effectively qualify for the next stage. What are we trying to do as Cricket Ireland? We're trying to play against the full members on a regular basis. And what this new format does do is, if you can get through that next stage, and bearing in mind we beat Bangladesh and Zimbabwe in warm up games in the last tournament, we've beaten Bangladesh last year in a T20 here in Ireland, and the fact there is, is that if we can get through that stage, the next phase will be playing against the top eight full members in World Cricket. And that's what we want to be doing on a regular basis.
John Kenny: So I suppose from this point of view, form what you're saying from that point of view is that you won't have to worry about warm up games then basically when you've qualified, that you basically go straight into another tournament?
Richard Holdsworth: Exactly, and you know you don't come off cold there, you're not still perhaps acclimatising, you're right in the mix there now. We are aspiring to become a full member country, to be on the top table with the big boys. We're further aspiring to one day play test cricket. I think there's an element of we can't have our cake and eat it. We need to be able to play against Bangladesh and Zimbabwe. We need to back ourselves to beat them and the other Associate High Performance Countries in that first phase. Those games will be televised, they will be live around the world.
John Kenny: I was going to bring that up, yeah. Actually we'll get a chance to get on TV with this preliminary round qualifier.
Richard Holdsworth: Yeah we've had confirmed by ICC, that those games will be on television. Similarly we will get the same participation fee that we got the last time.
And that's something crucial to our further investment in the game, and making sure we've got the players available to be selected for those events. So I think we've got to back ourselves to beat the likes of Scotland, Netherlands, that we've done many a time before, beat Bangladesh or Zimbabwe, because there'll probably be two groups in that first phase. Win those three games, and then we've got a further four games against the Top Eight. Now that's what we're looking at. We want to be playing against those guys, not as we saw in Sri Lanka, to be knocked out after two matches, and we're on the way home having played effectively about sixty odd overs.
John Kenny: Indeed. But you have to qualify a swell. You have to go to the UAE.
Richard Holdsworth: We do of course, and we shouldn't count our chickens too early.
John Kenny: But surely Ireland are good enough to get a top six place?
Richard Holdsworth: Well John we won that event last time around. We played a very competitive match against Afghanistan, we will be going there to win that tournament, not to qualify. But instead of the top two going through, it's the top six. So we're going to have to have a massive slip up and play incredibly poorly, to not qualify. But that's what our aim is. Our aim is to win that tournament, win it convincingly, and then go to Bangladesh with a huge amount of confidence, and progress to the second phase of that.
John Kenny: Going to be a very busy year for Irish Cricket, isn't it?
Richard Holdsworth: There's a lot going on. We've got England in the RSA Challenge in September in Malahide, which is fantastic. We want to be playing those guys regularly. We've just announced yesterday we've got Pakistan for two One Day Internationals, we're not sure where those games will be played yet. And we're in talks with Bangladesh for them to come over here as well, and play hopefully three matches, either ODI's or T20 or a combination.
John Kenny: All right, thanks for joining us Richard. That's Richard Holdsworth there, who is the Performance Director with Cricket Ireland.