ANDY McBrine knows that January’s three-match series against Afghanistan could be crucial if Ireland are to qualify for the next World Cup.
The Donemana man was named in Ireland’s 16-man squad to face UAE and Afghanistan in back-to-back series’ early next year and it’s the latter of those he is particularly focused upon.
This will be Ireland men’s first international action since their dramatic run-chase victory over World Champions England back in early August. The matches against Afghanistan will be part of the World Cup Super League.
Matches played as part of the inaugural ICC Cricket World Cup Super League (2020-2023) are essentially World Cup Qualifier matches, as the League will serve as part of the 2023 Cricket World Cup Qualification process.
The WCSL features thirteen teams, the twelve Full members of the International Cricket Council (ICC), and the Netherlands (who won the 2015–17 ICC World Cricket League Championship to qualify for this competition). Each team will play an ODI series against eight of the twelve opponents, four series at home and four away.
Each series will consist of three ODIs. For the World Cup, the hosts (India in 2023), and the top seven-ranked sides thereafter, will qualify automatically. The remaining five teams will play in a qualifying event along with five Associate sides, from which two sides will go through to the final tournament.
“They are very tough opponents. We start off with a four match series against the UAE and then we finish with a three match series against Afghanistan,” explained McBrine, who will be joined in the squad by former Bready man, Craig Young.
He continued: “Every game is important but especially the Afghan series because of this World Cup League system, so you want as many points as you can.
“We’ve worked hard for the last couple of months. We’ve been lucky enough as elite sportspeople that we have been able to use the facilities at Jordanstown and Bready but there’s only so much you can do indoors. It will be nice to get out in the field with a bit of sun behind your back.
“It was a weird season [in 2020] but we had a great series out in England and we got away with a nice win which means we can take a bit of momentum into this series.”