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Published: 15:22 | 3/2/16

Joyce: Ireland need more depth

Ed Joyce admits Ireland are still 10 players short of Test cricket standard despite their emphatic Inter-continental Cup victory over Papua New Guinea this week.

Ireland beat Papua New Guinea by 145 runs in Townsville to return to the top of the I-Cup standings, with John Bracewell’s side moving 14 points clear of second-placed the Netherlands.

The winners of this edition of the I-Cup qualify for the “Test Challenge” against the lowest-ranked full member [currently Zimbabwe], with the prize of Test cricket in 2019 for the victor.

However, Joyce warned that Ireland are still a long way from Test quality despite their 100% I-Cup record, following previous wins over United Arab Emirates and Namibia.

“Every country needs depth [to play Test cricket] and 20 or 25 players up to the top standard,” Joyce, 37, told BBC Test Match Special.

“We probably only have 10 or 15 capable of doing that, so we need to broaden that base.

“We have a lot of talent, but young players don’t get the opportunity to play the longer format of the game.”

The Sussex batsman says the “Test Challenge” is a major motivation for Irish cricket, following the International Cricket Council’s decision to cut the 50-over World Cup from 16 teams to 10 teams in 2019.

"We are trying to cover all bases, with the World Twenty20 coming up in March, and we are not trying to switch priorities," he continued.

"But we have this carrot [of Test cricket] in front of us, and because we may have have fewer opportunities to play in World Cups, we need to be broaden our horizons.

"We have never played Test cricket, so why wouldn't try and shoot for that?"

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