By Gerard Mulreaney (@gerardmulreaney)
With the Test Triangle Inter Provincial series set to begin in La Manga this week, it’s an opportunity for some players to show that they’re capable of stepping up to the International side, if called upon.
For established Internationals it gives them the chance to brush off the cobwebs and get some scores to get ready for the big tests that await Ireland, with a One-Day International against England followed by the Tri-Series against the West Indies and Bangladesh.
Speaking to me ahead of the trip to La Manga Leinster Lightning and Ireland International Andrew Balbirnie said the Inter-Pro competition is great chance for players to get noticed, “Yeah it’s good. Conditions will be slightly different but it’s a chance to get out in the middle. I saw Gloucestershire were in La Manga recently, and there was some seriously high scoring games at the ground, so I think that will be great for us going into May.”
“People like James McCollum, Harry Tector, Lorcan Tucker, these sort of guys got rewarded for their performances at the Inter-Pro’s. When I tried to get into the Irish team, it was a case that you did well at club cricket and then you got your chance. It’s great that this is in place now for guys that come in, and when a guy does get called up you know they’ve earned it, and they’ve got the scores.”
Three games will be played in the IP50 in La Manga over three days, Monday’s game between Leinster Lightning and the North West Warriors has been postponed due to rain and is re-scheduled for Tuesday.
Balbirnie also spoke about how vital the competition is, “I think Inter-Pro cricket is so vital, fortunately we have an Ireland Wolves set-up in place so guys that are performing at Inter-pro level have something to strive to and then when you’re playing with the Wolves you also have something to strive to. What Inter-Pro cricket does is it gives you a chance to bat for long periods, so if you play a 3-day game, ideally it’s a 4-day game, but we don’t play 4-day cricket. If you play a 3-day game you can bat for a day and a half.”
“I think a lot of our younger guys don’t experience that because they’re playing in club cricket where you only get 50 overs. They don’t know what it’s like to bat for a day and a half. I was fortunate to go to England and I got to do that, that’s where I did my learning. Ideally we need more Inter-pro 3-day cricket, I think that needs to happen, but when the younger guys do bat, they have to realise they have to bat big and hopefully we’ll see some scores this summer.”
Main Picture Credit: Cricket Ireland – Andrew Balbirnie pictured at the season launch