The cricket journalist Martin Johnson who died last year is probably best remembered for his line ahead of the 1986-87 Ashes winter tour after Mike Gatting's England struggled in their warm-up matches. Johnson wrote: “There are only three things wrong with this England team: they can't bat, they can't bowl and they can't field.”

England proceeded to not only win the Test Series but also two one-day series against Australia and West Indies to produce a clean sweep.

It led Johnson to eat humble pie, and write afterwards, “Right quote, wrong team.”

That’s how I felt after watching Ireland beat West Indies 2-1 in the Super League Series. It could, and indeed perhaps should have been a 3-0 clean sweep.

While it’s right to have a sense of pride in the Irish win, it’s hard not to wonder how a former cricketing superpower like the West Indies have got themselves into such a poor, cricketing rabble. Anyways, that’s their problem.

Before I leave Martin Johnson, my favourite line from him is his description of how Gatting succumbed to Shane Warne’s “Ball of the Century” in the 1993 Ashes: “How anyone can spin a ball the width of Gatting boggles the mind.”

Andy Balbirnie commented pre-series about the lack of genuinely international quality cricketers in the Irish ranks. He said there are only about 20 out there at the minute, but for once that isn’t necessarily a bad thing for the current incumbents.

This series was a coming of age for Andy McBrine. At the age of 28, before this series he had won 96 caps, averaging under 15 with the bat, and nearly 36 with the ball. It’s fair to say he would have been jettisoned by many other countries.

However, a lack of options has seen the selectors more or less forced to keep faith with the Donemana man, and his ten wickets at just 11.60, and his 128 runs at 64 are reflective of the talent we knew he possessed but rarely showed in Irish colours.

There were signs from the figures of improved bowling, with his 2021 haul of 16 wickets at 25 the most prolific since his debut almost a decade ago. The confidence that his Man of the Match and Series awards will give him can’t be under-estimated, and let us hope as he wins his 100th cap either in the T20 WCQ in Oman, or the tour of Zimbabwe, that his performances and numbers show us all just how good a cricketer he is.

Staying with the North West, it was also heartening to see the impact of former Bready paceman Craig Young on the series. It wasn’t just the fact that he took nine wickets, but the quality of his bowling as he took vital, early wickets in the three games. He has bowled very well and with great rhythm this past few seasons. Isn’t it amazing just how much of the game is played in the mind?

Kudos also to Harry Tector, who having been dropped from the T20 squad, bounced back in the ODI format where he looks so composed. Three consecutive half centuries – seven in the last ten – is an incredibly rich vein of form.

David Townsend of the Irish Independent has declared him the ‘heir to the throne’, following in the footsteps of such luminaries as Ed Joyce, Eoin Morgan and Paul Stirling.

The numbers seem to bear that out at this stage. Having played 20 ODI”s Harry has scored 670 runs at 41.88, Ed averaged 41.37 (61 games), Paul 38.82 (136 games) and Eoin 35.43 (23 ODIs for Ireland).

A word of caution though, as things can change very quickly. You only have to look at his YMCA team-mate Curtis Campher who came into the ODI arena with a bang, looking as if he had belonged there all his life. His average in the initial games Bradmanesque, and indeed at the start of the series was still above 50. However, three failures and he is now at 38.80 – yes, almost the same as Paul Stirling, but the trend is downwards, and at some speed.

What would concern me most is not just the low scores, but some of the shot selections. You get the feeling that T20 has been detrimental to his batting, with the 22 year-old struggling to adapt to the different formats. Indeed that will be the challenge for Heinrich Malan and the Irish players over the next year.

Ireland have always been best at the ODI format, chalking up regular wins over the years. It’s in T20 cricket where most of their recent woes have been, and it is that challenge that faces them next.

While it is inconceivable they won’t finish in the top two of a group containing UAE, Germany and Philippines, a winner-takes-all clash against one of Oman, Nepal, Canada or Bahrain is certainly no gimmee.

Indeed, in terms of finance and importance, it will be the most vital fixture of 2022. With a T20 World Cup place in Australia this October on the line, there are high stakes at place.

The tour of Zimbabwe in April will serve as vital match practice – including a Test (if it goes ahead) – for the most relevant action of the home summer.

Bangladesh visit in May and a series win would certainly keep alive Irish hopes of a top eight Super League finish. Just how many wins are needed from the last six games is fluid but with New Zealand last up in July, it’s not going to be very easy to achieve, but who knows?

Bertus De Jong has been doing spreadsheets on the competition and he reckons four wins from last six to stand a chance, five for a better than evens opportunity.

The loss of two penalty points for slow over rate could well come back to haunt Ireland - wouldn't that be just the most Irish thing ever!

Let us hope not.