As the underdogs prepare to face Ben Stokes’ squad at Lord’s this week, Ireland skipper Andrew Balbirnie stated that beating England in a Test would “easily be our best achievement in cricket.”
The Irish have built a formidable reputation for themselves as a result of their successes in one-day international competition.
They won the 2007 World Cup against Pakistan, the 2011 World Cup against England, and the 2015 World Cup against the West Indies. In the 2022 Twenty20 World Cup, they won against England, who went on to win the tournament.
Ireland, on the other hand, has only ever competed in a total of six tests throughout their history and has yet to record their first victory in the Test format of the game.
In the previous test they played at Lord’s, which took place four years ago, they were successful in restricting England to just 85 runs, but they still ended up losing by 143 runs since they were unable to score more than 38 runs in the fourth innings of the game.
“It didn’t play out the way we wanted it to, but we got a glimpse into what would happen if we were to win a Test,” said Balbirnie on the eve of the four-day Test on Wednesday. The test would go for four days.
“And, in my opinion, if we were to beat England, it would without a doubt be our greatest achievement in cricket throughout the history of the game.”
However, the odds are stacked against Ireland because England has won 10 of their 12 Tests since captain Stokes and coach Brendon McCullum joined forces in the previous year.
“We know that this England team is in a really good place leading up to the Ashes,” said Balbirnie. “We’re really excited about this series.”
Josh Little, a young fast bowler who excelled for the Gujarat Titans team that made it to the recent final of the Indian Premier League, will not be playing for Ireland at Lord’s because the young bowler will not be participating in the 50-over World Cup qualification event that will be held in Zimbabwe in the following month.
Following his heroics in the Indian Premier League, Little was unavailable for Test matches against Bangladesh and Sri Lanka.
Richard Holdsworth, Ireland’s high performance director, defended the 23-year-old’s exclusion from the team by arguing that a test match at Lord’s, which is a big milestone for most players, was not a “pinnacle event” for his side this year. Holdsworth’s reasoning was based on the fact that Lord’s was not a “pinnacle event” for Ireland this year.
“Of course, we would have loved for him to be here, but I understand completely that he’s got to focus on resting up and getting ready for our World Cup qualifier,” said Balbirnie.
“Josh played in an IPL final in his first appearance in the IPL. I’m not dumb; I know he’s going to get picked up by other leagues, and we are going to be in this scenario again; yet, he still wants to play for Ireland.
After our conversation, I know that he is still enthusiastic about becoming a member of this team.