Last week we wrote an article that (mostly jokingly) stated that Ireland could claim the title of being the best cricketing nation in Europe. That was a dig at England after their woeful beginning to the World Cup coupled with Ireland's win over the West Indies.
We're not saying that Sunday Times columnist Rod Liddle actually read that article but it would explain his very sensitive disposition when it comes to Irish cricket. In his column yesterday, Liddle took aim at Ireland during what was intended to be a 'Relax people, getting hammered by New Zealand isn't that bad' kind of a piece.
All well and good, then he gets on to the actual humiliations that the New Zealand defeat pales in comparison to.
A year ago, having been whitewashed 5-0 in the Ashes, we contrived to lose a one-day international, in the World Twenty20 tournament in Bangladesh, to the might of the Netherlands. Now that’s a proper humiliation. There are only 11 people in Holland who play cricket and none of them does it with much conviction.
Fair enough, that's a go at the Netherlands and their less than renowned reputation as a cricket nation. If he took the same stance with Ireland, we'd say fair enough also. Actually, we probably wouldn't, in reality we probably wouldn't even have read the piece. However, this quote was brought to our attention and we wound up the indignation machine.
Go back another three years to the 2011 World Cup and England’s defeat by Ireland. Again, that’s humiliating. All the decent Irish cricketers — not many, I’ll grant you — pretend they’re English. In most other sports, Ireland punch well above their weight, but not cricket.
The assumption here is that he is talking about Eoin Morgan, Boyd Rankin and to a lesser extent Ed Joyce. And yes, those decent Irish cricketers did choose to play for England. But players such as George Dockrell, the O'Brien brothers and Paul Stirling didn't and Liddle's nonsense really is a lovely reminder about how uppity some people can be when it comes to international cricket.
If anyone is not fully behind the Irish cricket team already, then hopefully the ability to really get up the noses of people such as Liddle will be the extra incentive to do so.
*Indignation machine off.