If you had suggested to Ed Joyce back in 1997, when he made his Ireland debut that twenty-one years later he would become an Irish test cricketer you would have been met with laughter. That is the scale for how big a journey it has been for Irish Cricket, from associates of the ICC to a full member country last June.
Ed Joyce, aged thirty-nine, will become the oldest test debutant this century. It has been a long and hard journey for the Bray native but he admits “it’s amazing really, the idea of Ireland playing Test Cricket was nowhere near fruition twenty years ago, it’s a huge honour for me”.
Ireland take on Pakistan in their inaugural Test Match in Malahide on Friday the 11th of May. Malahide currently has no permanent seating, so Cricket Ireland have erected temporary seating to accommodate the mass crowds expected over the five days.
“The ground is looking beautiful, the outfield is like a carpet” said the former England International. “Conditions in May mean it will be a green seamer, the cold conditions as well may suit us” added Joyce.
Pakistan have brought over some “high quality players” for their tour of England and Ireland. “We will have to leave the ball well, as their seamers pose threats” said Joyce.
Cricket Ireland will be honouring the six hundred and ninety nine players to have been capped for Ireland on Sunday of the test.
“It’s important to remember the other six hundred eighty eight players and the administration staff like John Wright, Derek Scott and Roy Torrens and it’s a great way to honour them” said the Merrion clubman.
The future is certainly bright for Irish Cricket as the national state broadcaster RTE committed to show hour-long highlights special of the test and also the two T20’s against India in June. The June ties will have the largest ever television audience for an event staged in Ireland.
Joyce will be looking to join legends of the game like W. G. Grace, Mark Waugh, Alastair Cook and Michael Clarke as players to have scored hundreds on “test debut”.
The historic affair kicks off on Friday the 11th of May in Malahide Cricket Club at 11am.