Melbourne, June 14 (ANI): Australian cricket's Ireland sojourn is partly geared towards ensuring that the Emerald Isle won't always lose their best players to England.
According to The Age, Ireland sees Thursday's one-day international in Dublin as a significant step to becoming a full member of the ICC.
Acquiring membership would ensure Test match status, and go some way to stopping players such as Eoin Morgan and Ed Joyce switching allegiances to England in a bid to become internationals in the longest form of the game.
Thursday's match is invaluable to achieving this goal as it gives Ireland, crushed last time by Australia in the 2007 World Cup, another opportunity to show the ICC they can compete against a world powerhouse.
It also affords the team rare television exposure with Setanta Sports airing the game live, which could be priceless in converting locals to a foreign game, and attracting new sponsors.
"You walk the streets and you talk to people about cricket, if it's on the TV, people would know about it but if they haven't seen it for a year you could ask six out of 10 people and they would probably say: 'do we play cricket here?'" said Australian-born former Ireland captain and paceman Trent Johnston.
"We have to be on TV and the only time we've been on the TV has been at the World Cup in 2007, and the World Twenty20 in 2009 and 2010.
Wollongong-born Johnston, who played a handful of games for New South Wales, is one of six full-time players contracted to Cricket Ireland, while others are county players or semi-professionals with jobs outside of cricket.
Including bonuses, awarded for qualification to major events, player contracts in Ireland are worth around 50,000 dollars, well short of the six-figure sums Cricket Australia offers their players. (ANI)