How Irish cricket is trying to adopt the New Zealand model of cricket..

We usually see countries trying to adopt successful examples from other countries in all walks of life. In economics particularly, there is always so called best practices (which becomes s laundry list eventually) which leads to a great economy.

Same thing is seen in sport too. NZ cricket was the talk of the town this World Cup. In last few years, NZ played a brand of cricket  based on highly aggressive and attacking cricket. To see seven slips is such a rarity even in test matches but NZ had it in recent ODI world cup. They were expected to be finalists and they did become one without losing a match only to be overplayed by the awesome Aussies.

In cricket, we usually see teams adopting the highly successful Australian model. But here is this interesting article by Tim Wagmore on how Irish cricket is taking lessons from NZ cricket:

Ireland have made clear their ambition to become the European New Zealand. The parallels between the two countries are obvious – both have similarly sized populations and have historically been overshadowed by noisy neighbours, but have gained a reputation for being shrewdly run and excelling at world events.

Of course, New Zealand are rather further ahead in their development than Ireland. So perhaps it makes sense that Ireland’s new choice as coach, replacing Phil Simmons, is a New Zealander:John Bracewell, who coached New Zealand between 2003 and 2008.

“The parallels are really clear. The against-the-odds underdog-type tag, a bit like New Zealand cricket, attracted me,” he said. “There’s a lot to be drawn from the New Zealand experience that I can bring to the party having gone from that 1970s period to the current situation they find themselves in.”

While New Zealand have been a Test nation since 1930, Ireland have still never played a Test match. The creation of the Test Challenge in 2018, which will pit the winner of the Intercontinental Cup against the lowest-ranked Test side in four matches, with the promise of promotion to Test status, means that could change within four years.

Bracewell’s contract is only until the end of 2017, but he intends to lead Ireland to a historic first Test in 2019. “I think it’s a great cause,” he said. “My personal goal is to be almost a trailblazer – that’s a nice thing to try and achieve as a coach.

Whagmore also notes that NZ used their ODI game model in tests as well and were highly successful. Same thing works for Ireland which wants to transition from ODI playing to test playing nation:

Most of Bracewell’s success has come in limited-overs cricket. He won five one-day trophies during his first stint at Gloucestershire and lifted New Zealand to second in the ODI rankings for a period, as well as reaching the 2007 World Cup semi-finals. But he believes that New Zealand prove that success in limited overs cricket can provide a template for long-form success.

“They have almost now taken those skills of short-form cricket and turned themselves into a more competitive Test team by not trying to change it but enhancing it. They score at a better rate with the bat now, they attack more with the ball, they bowl better lengths in order to get results rather than avoid losing.”

Though the real issue for Irish is to get to play more and more games:

As they look to build upon their rise, Ireland are pushing for more fixtures, having only played nine ODIs against Test nations between the 2011 and 2015 World Cups, as they were not shy of pointing out. Bracewell stressed the need “to develop a longer-term fixture list”, which has been a familiar refrain: Ireland’s only guaranteed matches are an ODI against England every two years.

However, there are hopes that Ireland will be able to secure more games, especially if the ICC makes good on a mooted ODI fund to finance matches. Ireland are in advanced talks with Zimbabwe to tour this autumn, either before or after their Intercontinental Cup game in Namibia, and are hopeful that Zimbabwe will play in Ireland next summer.

Ireland also hope that the ICC’s decision to contract the World Cup to ten teams in 2019 and 2023 may yet be reviewed at the annual ICC meeting in June. “Our understanding is that the strong preference from the Full Members is for a 10-team event,” Cricket Ireland’s chief executive, Warren Deutrom, said. “But equally there appears to be a recognition that it is worth considering alternative options that might hold more Full Members to account and permit more Associates to have a realistic chance of qualification.”

Irish team will be interesting to track in future for both the reasons – its status in cricket world and adoption of NZ model.

Just to add in the end – Bracewell should also develop some key Irish flavor of cricket as well. Just copying NZ will not work as simply copying institutions does not work..

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