Dunlop's link with Waugh

 

When Ireland's captain Angus Dunlop and star Test all-rounder Steve Waugh take the field against Australia A on Thursday at Rathmines, they will be renewing an association which began in Sydney 10 years ago.

Dunlop, influenced by Australian Tim Sullivan, who had been an influential player for YMCA in his time in Dublin, had gone to Sydney, where he played for Canterbury Bankstown. "I was 12th man on the side which played Northern Districts in the Sydney first grade premiership, and both Steve and Mark Waugh were in the team. But one of the other guys got injured early on, so I was on the field for most of the time, for about 60 overs."

Steve Waugh said at Rathmines yesterday that he is trying to raise the profile of cricket in Ireland. "I know that's not easy, with the popularity of Gaelic games. I was at Croke Park on Sunday and I really enjoyed it, having also been at the 1993 final, between Kilkenny and Wexford, when the Australians were here. I've been lucky. I've seen two really great games, in a great sport."

Waugh emphasises that the International Cricket Council wants to expand cricket. "And to do that, they've got to get more countries playing one-day cricket. If it takes off in Ireland, it could be a semi-professional sport, maybe attracting young kids from amateur hurling.

"Tradition is very important in sport, but I see a lot of similarities between hurling and cricket - the ability to catch a ball, quick reflexes and a lot of courage and hand-eye co-ordination. A lot of young hurlers could make great cricketers."

Indeed. Let's hear it for the first one-day international at Croker.

The three-day match at Rathmines starts on Thursday at 11 a.m.; Sunday's one-day game is at Castle Avenue from 11 a.m.