Kevin Kilbane. Mick McCarthy. Tony Cascarino. Andy Townsend. All players who have represented the great nation of Ireland, despite not really being from the Emerald Isle. And we can add to that list Hamish Marshall, who has been named in Ireland's squad to tour India later this year. The same Hamish Marshall who has played 79 times for New Zealand.
I suppose it's a bit harsh for anyone to have a go at Ireland for using other nation's players. It must be difficult to compete on a world stage when truly world class players produced by Ireland are pinched by big brother England. So I'm not having a go at Ireland for attempting to utilise the best players at their disposal. Even if those players are from New Zealand.
Marshall represented the Blackcaps at the 2007 World Cup, and another player named in Ireland's touring squad who played in the Caribbean three and a half years ago is Ed Joyce. Joyce's situation is an odd one - abandoning his country of birth to chase international honours with England, but once he was dropped and had no chance of ever playing again, he wants to come back. The phrase "having your cake and eating it" springs to mind. But the whole situation should never have happened.
Joyce should never have played for England originally, just as Morgan should never have played for England. While I am eternally greatful that Moggy does produce world-class performances in an England shirt, he should be trying to help Ireland break into cricket's elite, rather than trying to win the Ashes. I am not having a go at Morgan for trying to play test cricket and win further honours, and I'm not knocking Joyce's choice to try and do the same. What I'm not in favour of is players being able to switch allegiances midway through their international careers.
The Pietersens, Trotts, and Kieswetters of this world are something very different to players who play a few times for one country, before jumping ship when the grass appears greener elsewhere. I am sympathetic to Joyce and Morgan, knowing that test cricket with Ireland is unlikely, and I'm sympathetic to Marshall, who's international career was effectively ended with an ICL contract. But they shouldn't be able to play for two nations, as they have done.
If Ireland (and countries in similiar situations) are to ever grow and progress, they need the 100% support of their best players. There are rumours that Boyd Rankin, Paul Stirling and others are waiting for an England call-up before they renounce their Irish nationality, and in my opinion, that is not on. The ICC should be much more stringent on players flip-flopping on their international careers, otherwise the already weak nations will be weakened ever further.