Refreshed Joyce happy to banish World Cup blues
ED Joyce was a man on a mission for Middlesex in Sunday s Friends Provident Trophy clash against Ireland in Dublin. Irishman Joyce, facing his countrymen for the third time since switching his allegiance to England, was determined to prove a
By Pat Mooney
ED Joyce was a man on a mission for Middlesex in Sunday's Friends Provident Trophy clash against Ireland in Dublin.
Irishman Joyce, facing his countrymen for the third time since switching his allegiance to England, was determined to prove a point after two poor batting performances.
For the 28-year-old left-hander it was a chance to make amends for his horror show against Ireland in the World Cup in Georgetown when he was bowled for a duck by Boyd Rankin without playing a stroke and then dropped two catches when in the field.
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Joyce, who played 50 times for Ireland and helped them qualify for the World Cup, top scored with 45 for Middlesex on Sunday as the Lord's outfit cruised to a comfortable victory.
"It is always a bit strange playing against them," Joyce told Ham&High Sport. "I know most of the Irish team so well. It was good to score some runs and get our one-day form back on track."
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However, Joyce, who also faced the Irish on his international debut for England last June, has no regrets about turning his back on Ireland.
"I know I have made the right decision, regardless of whether I ever play in a Test match," said Joyce.
"Some of the best days of my life have been playing for England already - the one-day century in Sydney was my best ever day in cricket - and I feel I have still not performed as well as I would have liked to."
Although Joyce was dropped midway through a dismal World Cup, the Middlesex opener is now doubly determined to establish himself in the Test side.
"I still feel I could do a very good job opening the batting for England," he said.
"I was disappointed to be dropped when I was. It was explained to me why that was and Andrew Strauss came in and he did OK. But nobody has set the world alight and I want to keep my name in the hat.
"Playing Test cricket is the pinnacle for any player and that is what you aim for. I think if you are playing county cricket your main ambition should be to play for England in Test matches.
"That's the whole point of county cricket in my opinion. There is a queue of players but there is no reason why I can't be the frame if I do well for Middlesex."
Joyce has been more steady than spectacular for the Lord's oufit this season as they aim to bounce back after last season's double relegation.
"I've come back with massive enthusiasm and I just want to win games with Middlesex," he said. "We knew we just needed to win a few games and we would get that winning mentality back. We are unbeaten in six matches and have a game in hand over the top three.
"Last season Middlesex were amazingly disappointing after having high hopes of doing well.
"I remember talking to a couple of journalists at the start of the season and being really enthusiastic of success.
"And for it to go as badly as it did we did not see that coming. Things started badly and got a little bit worse and finished off poorly so it could not have gone any worse.
"There was obviously a lot of work to be done in the winter and and I think it has been done. I feel the changes have been positive.
"We have a new structure in place with a new coach and captain in Richard Pybus and Ed Smith while John Emburey has become director of cricket.
"I think the early signs are really good. Ed has fitted into his role as captain brilliantly and Richard, who I did not know before, seems to have fitted in really well. Embers also seems to be enjoying his new role - it is one that suits him, an ambassadorial role.
"There is a great atmosphere around the place and a real good camaraderie among the players as well. There is a strong feeling and belief that we can bounce back to the top flight at the first attempt."