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Old September 13, 2013, 11:27 AM
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AsifTheManRahman AsifTheManRahman is offline
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Default How Ireland got their groove back

A Jarrod Kimber special and a lesson in the history of Irish Cricket.

In December 2006, Warren Deutrom entered the office of the Ireland Cricket Union. His role was CEO, replacing Peter Thompson, who had left the job six months earlier. It had taken the ICU months to even work out if they wanted another CEO.

Their only other off-field staff member was a part-time PA called Marie. They had email accounts. That was about all.

Their offices were shared with organisations that looked after rowing, mountaineering, university sports and community games. All had bigger offices. Were more professional. And had far more staff.

Despite having qualified for the World Cup, Irish cricket was a minnow even compared to mountaineering.


Some of my favorite excerpts:

Now it was his captaincy that was needed. He stomped around the pitch, screaming at his players. He was not trying to gee them up, he was literally trying to scream them into action. His eyes were wild. He looked more like a man looking for the bloke who punched his daughter than a captain of an international cricket team. It wasn't subtle motivational captaincy. He was loud and angry. He wanted this win. He wanted his players to want it like he did. And he wanted Zimbabwe to know how much Ireland wanted it.
In the Setanta documentary Batmen - The Story of Irish Cricket, there is footage of just after that match of coach Burrell telling his side that they can also beat Pakistan. Johnston is behind him, topless, playing with his chest hair.

During the Pakistan match it was Johnston who gave the speech. It was the sort of speech many Australian and Irish sports legends have made before. Angry, passionate and direct. He suggested that if the players didn't want to go back to their day jobs straight away, working as postmen and buying fabric, they had better win the game. It was, much like his cricket, blunt and effective.

In that game it was Johnston who hit the winning runs. A dirty slog to the leg side from a ball outside off. On St Patrick's Day Ireland had won their first World Cup game, and a whole country found out it had a cricket team.

And we admonish - heck even fire from captaincy - Shakib for swearing at Raqibul for being fat and slow in the outfield. No wonder the Irish are where they are and still improving, whereas we still make sure to lose to Uttar Pradesh U-15 every chance we get.
Screw the IPL, I'm going to the MLC!
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