Thursday 24 October 2019

Ford's men find feet despite stumping controversy

Andrew Balbirnie: ‘I don’t feel like I was out.’ Photo: Sportsfile
Andrew Balbirnie: ‘I don’t feel like I was out.’ Photo: Sportsfile

Ger Siggins

Ireland must dust themselves down this morning and continue their rebuilding project against West Indies at Clontarf, but the defeat to England on Friday will rankle for a while.

After being held back by conservative selection policies for several years, three debutants were unveiled in Malahide and all three looked to the manner born, lighting up both innings. Several others are waiting in the wings to get their chance, and performances in the 'A' team game against Bangladesh in Skerries, also today, could see a couple of veterans, at least, hastened towards the exit.

Both Josh Little and Mark Adair have had reputations for not maximising their talent, so it was good to see them springing onto the ODI scene with dynamic performances. Both bring aggression and skill to the team, and both are capable of being the match-winners Graham Ford has been crying out for.

The result was a disappointment, however, and probably swung on two controversial incidents. The stumping of Andrew Balbirnie by Ben Foakes was sharp practice, at least, and should not have been countenanced by the umpires. The TV official seemed to consider merely the line issue, and not that the ball was dead and the batsman merely regaining his feet. Balbirnie was sore about it afterwards, but circumspect.

"How long does the keeper have? I don't know. I lifted my foot and he took the bails off so I'm out but how long can he hang on to the ball? I don't know. I suppose it was a bit slack from me but I didn't feel my foot came up so I just didn't think it was an issue."

It came just after Balbirnie had hit a six and was looking set to continue his excellent form from the winter tour. He believes it was one that got away.

"That was as pumped as I've been in a while playing for Ireland. You felt that something special was happening. Catches were being held. We were getting a bit of the rub of the green . . ."

Does he feel cheated by the dismissal?

"At the time I didn't but looking back, well . . . I kind of don't feel like I was 'out' if that makes sense. Usually, if you nick one and you're caught, or you run down the wicket and you're stumped . . . I just didn't feel like I was out. But I suppose the rules are there and I can't really complain."

With England still 62 short of victory and only four wickets standing, Tim Murtagh had a good shout for lbw against Foakes turned down, but William Porterfield opted not to ask for the decision to be reviewed.

"Knowing Murtagh and the way he tries to bowl, I thought it must have been close but I'm miles away. It's disappointing in hindsight, would have been a big moment but . . ."

The team get back on their bike this morning, with the West Indies opening the tri-series at Clontarf starting at 10.45.

Sunday Indo Sport

The Left Wing: Ireland fall short again, 2019 slump and what Andy Farrell must do as head coach

Editor's Choice

Also in Sport