ICC Europe Media Release
Ireland's outgoing coach Adrian Birrell, who enjoyed so much success at the recent ICC Cricket World Cup in the West Indies, has been selected to coach an all-star European line-up in a fixture against Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) at Lord's Cricket Ground on 7 June.
Birrell has just stepped down as Ireland's national coach after six years in the job. The country is currently the European champion at every age level from under-13 up to senior level and also the defending ICC Intercontinental Cup champion, a title it will defend in this year's final against Canada at Grace Road, Leicester 22-25 May.
During the ICC Cricket World Cup 2007 Ireland tied with Zimbabwe and beat Pakistan to make it through to the Super Eight stage where it enjoyed another victory over Bangladesh, thus earning the right to feature on the LG ICC ODI Championship, where it is now placed tenth.
Following his retirement Birrell has since been replaced by former West Indies all-rounder Phil Simmons.
In his latest challenge coach Birrell will be looking to pull together and harness the best talent from Europe's Associate and Affiliate countries to face a strong MCC side at Lord's.
"It is a great honour for me to be selected in this role," said South African Birrell. "Since arriving in Ireland in 2001, I have learned a lot about Associate cricket and I really think there is huge potential for development within the next tier of the international game."
"The performances of Ireland and other supposedly weaker teams during the World Cup have shown that the gap between the best and the next best is closing, although there is still a long way to go" he said. This is the second time that this fixture will have been played, and the first time at the home of cricket - Lord's. The match has been made possible through the support of the club's president Doug Insole (former Chairman of the European Cricket Council), with the backing of its secretary and chief executive, Keith Bradshaw.
The inaugural fixture was played last year at VOC Cricket Club in Rotterdam during the MCC tour of the Netherlands. On that occasion the MCC tourists completed a five-wicket victory over the Europe side.
This year's fixture promises to be an exciting and closely fought contest with some world-class cricket on display. Although the two sides are yet to be announced, it is without doubt that many of the European players will be coming into the fixture having returned from the ICC Cricket World Cup in the West Indies, and will be eager to show that cricket in Europe is stronger than ever.
With live radio commentary of the match available on the Lord's website - www.lords.org.uk, and live ball-by-ball coverage on the ICC Europe website - www.ecc-cricket.com, the action can be followed from anywhere in the world, and admission to the ground itself is free, so spectators can enjoy top-quality cricket at no expense.
The two sides are to be announced in the next fortnight and the match is to be played on 7 June with an 11am start.