I enter 2022 in a positive frame of mind. Not sure why, but in the words of James Brown, I feel good.
Not about the cricket though. Have we ever been as bad in recent times? I donít think so.
How many of the current senior menís side would get into the squad that went to the 2007 World Cup?
If your life depended on it, how many of the present day would you plump for?
Josh Little to add a bit of variety with his left-arm pace and Paul Stirling for his ability to destroy any attack on his day. Struggling to get any of the rest in.
I used to hate it when old geezers used to say, ďthe game isnít as good as it used to be. Players were better in my day..etc But Father Time has caught up with me unexpectedly Ė how did that happen. My black mullet now almost exclusively grey. Older certainly, wiser maybe, maybe not.
Looking at the results of the Under 19s against Zimbabwe in their series ahead of the World Cup, thereís not too much to inspire confidence apart from a few, although a much improved display in the final youth ODI could boost their confidence ahead of the World Cup.
Maybe I will be able to watch their clashes against heavyweights India and South Africa on the sofa rather than behind it similar to watching the Daleks and Dr Who all those years ago.
Iíve written the reviews of the year from a statistical perspective elsewhere on the site Ė is it as bad as it feels for the men?
The World Cup Super League series losses to Netherlands, and horror T20 defeats by Namibia and USA the undoubted lows. The high, a quite superb ODI win over South Africa in Malahide. That showed what the side is certainly capable of on their day Ė sadly itís just that Ďtheir daysí donít come often enough.
The Cricket Ireland review of the year outlines all their achievements in 2021, and I stop to think am I being too pessimistic in my perspective that the standard and depth of cricket at all levels is poor? Was 2021 that bad and will be 2022 any better?
What were Cricket Irelandís own aims and expectations for the senior team in 2021? They submitted the following to Sport Ireland in their funding application, and let us say they arenít exactly Nostradamus when it comes to predictions.
Cricket Ireland 2021 predictions
They had five main targets and missed all five. In the World Cup Super League there were going to be 2-1 series wins over Afghanistan, The Netherlands, South Africa and Zimbabwe. While parity was achieved in the latter two, they were thumped 3-0 by Afghanistan and more damaging, were beaten 2-1 against a Netherlands side missing their county based middle-order.
That series loss could have meant serious ramifications if they finished bottom of the Super League, but instead of a relegation battle, that is now off the agenda with the scrapping of the event after it finishes.
The fifth target was qualification for the Super 12 phase of the T20 World Cup and we all know how that panned out with the loss against Namibia.
The only series win came in the T20 home series against Zimbabwe when they won 3-2, which could and perhaps should have been a clean sweep. Zimbabwe were going through a restructuring process and left out four of their big guns to get a look at some future talent. Ireland in the two games lost failed to chase very modest targets.
Will this year bring better fortunes?
2022 has started with big news as Heinrich Malan got the Head Coach role.
A relative unknown, but comparisons have invariably been drawn with the appointment of Adi Birrell 20 years previously. We can only pray that proves to be the case.
Speaking of Adi Birrell, we still await any news from the review that the former coach was charged with leading in conjunction with Portas Consultants.
The narrow focus/scope of the review means itís unlikely to change very much in Irish cricket. We all know the problems, which look to be with us for the foreseeable future.