Ireland replace Australia in the Under 19 Cricket World Cup
A day after Australia withdrew from the tournament, Ireland accepted ICC's invitation to participate in the tournament.
Ireland will replace Australia, who earlier pulled out due to security concerns, in the ICC Under 19 Cricket World Cup to be held in Bangladesh. The tournament, which begins on January 27 will see 16 teams take part in 48 matches across seven venues.
Cricket Ireland CEO Warren Deutrom said: “Firstly, we are grateful to ICC for extending the invitation to us to participate in the tournament. Given the circumstances of the invitation, however, it was important that we used the brief time we had to investigate the safety and security situation in Bangladesh.”
Deutrom admitted that while security concerns forced Australia’s withdrawal, they have no qualms about taking part in the tournament.
“While we are fully aware of the heightened security risk in the country, all we can do is rely upon expert advice, which tells us that the tournament security plan appears very comprehensive – an estimation supported by the independent assessments we have seen. Of course, we shall continue to monitor events and maintain regular contact with ICC in case the situation changes.”
He also went on to thank ICC and ECB for their help. “We are most grateful, in particular, to ICC and ECB for sharing their security intelligence with us, which has helped us considerably to reach a determination and to share appropriate information with squad members and their families.
“Of course, squad preparation and logistics are equally pressing matters, but we are trying to work around these as effectively as possible given the short timeframes.
“While there are never guarantees, Cricket Ireland felt that – on balance – the mitigation of the risks outweighed the risks themselves while the cricketing opportunity was too important to turn down in spite of the lack of squad preparation.
“The squad is greatly looking forward to the challenge. As our men’s and women’s squads discovered during the World T20 2014, Bangladeshi people are incredibly welcoming and passionate about their cricket, so I’m certain our U19’s will look forward enormously to playing there.”
Ireland, who will be playing in their eighth ICC U19 World Cup, will take Australia’s place in Group D and will kick off their tournament against India in Mirpur on 28 January while their remaining two group games will be against Nepal (in Fatullah on 30 January) and New Zealand (in Fatullah on 1 February).
Should they finish in the top two in their group, they will take part in the Super League. If they fail to do so, then they will feature in the Plate Championship.
The last time Ireland sent out a side for the U19 World Cup that took place in Bangladesh was in 2004, which produced seven senior internationals, including current squad members William Porterfield, Gary Wilson, Kevin O’Brien and Boyd Rankin.