Ed Joyce has confirmed his desire to resume his international cricket career with Ireland.
Cricket Ireland are now attempting to re-qualify Joyce in time for the 2011 ICC World Cup, as under the four year stand-out rule, he would just miss out on the tournament which starts on the sub-continent next February.
Joyce played the last of his 17 One-Day-Internationals for England against Sri Lanka on 4 April 2007 during the last World Cup in the West Indies.
The Irish cricket governing body has applied to ICC for an exemption to the rule under the special circumstances clause of the eligibility regulations.
They hope that because the 31-year-old Dubliner previously played 50 times for Ireland between 1997 and 2005, their appeal will gain a positive response.
Joyce explained why he had opted now to make the switch back to Ireland: ‘When I made the decision in 2001 to try and play for England, it was with a view to trying to play Test cricket which is the pinnacle of the game and which of course Ireland do not play.’
‘While I strongly believe I'm good enough to play Test cricket for England, I've taken the decision now to try and play for Ireland again.
‘There are a few reasons for this, with the most obvious being that I'm a born and bred Irishman.
‘Secondly, I feel I have a lot to offer to Irish cricket.
'I had a very successful 2009 with Sussex winning the Most Valuable Player award for the Friends Provident trophy and also two winners medals in theTwenty20 Cup and Nat West Pro40 competition.
‘I feel I'm playing the best cricket of my career and would like to bring this form with me to help Ireland be even more successful on the world stage, a success which I am committed to running in tandem with my Sussex career, in the same way that other Irish players have satisfied club and country commitments really well.
‘Lastly, I've spoken a lot to Warren Deutrom, Mark Garaway and several of the players and know how ambitious everyone within Cricket Ireland is for the development of the game in the country.
‘With this in mind, I still harbour ambitions of playing at the top level of the game but those ambitions are firmly rooted in playing it for Ireland.’
Cricket Ireland coach Phil Simmons welcomed the news: ‘It's fantastic news that Ed has decided to play for Ireland again.
‘He's a superb cricketer and will be a great boost to have a player of his calibre in the team. It's a really exciting development and will further strengthen our squad.
‘He brings quality and experience, and those are two very welcome attributes for a coach.’