Currently a total of 105 countries are members of the ICC of which 10 are the Test-playing nations and hence called the Full Members. The remaining 95 are Associate and Affiliate nations. 36 of these are Associate members and 59 are Affiliate countries.
Six nations apart from the top 10 Test-playing countries, are allowed to play ODIs and T20Is, based on their performance in the World Cup qualifiers. Currently, Afghanistan, Scotland, Netherlands, Ireland, Kenya and Canada are the six non-Full Members, ODI-playing sides in the world.
Ireland has at times played in competitions for English county cricket sides, including the Benson & Hedges Cup and the Friends Provident Trophy and its players represent a number of county sides in England.
Ireland's inaugural ODI
was played in Belfast on 13 June 2006 against England. It was the first time Ireland had played the full England side. The side performed admirably well and lost by a mere 38 runs in a high scoring contest.Ireland's performance in their inaugural World Cup in the 2007 tournament took many pundits by surprise. Their first game was on 15 March when they tied with Zimbabwe, primarily thanks to Ireland's first ever World Cup century by man-of-the-match Jeremy Bray. In their second match, they beat the fourth-ranked team in the world, Pakistan, by three wickets, thus knocking Pakistan out of the competition. These two results were sufficient to advance Ireland to the Super 8 stage of the tournament. In the Super 8 stage, they lost their first four matches against England, South Africa, New Zealand and Australia, but then recorded a 74-run victory against the 9th ranked team in the world and Test playing nation Bangladesh.
As this was their second win against a full ICC member, Ireland gained promotion by way of recognition in the ICC's official one-day rankings.
In the run up to the 2009 ICC World Twenty20
, Ireland were deprived of batsman Eoin Morgan, similarly to Ed Joyce several years earlier, who was selected to play for England, making him ineligible to play for Ireland again.
In their opening match of the tournament, Ireland defeated Bangladesh by four wickets and knocked them out of the tournament. Ireland progressed to the second stage of the competition where they lost all their matches against tougher opposition.
During the 2011 World Cup, Ireland did not progress beyond the first round but they secured a historic victory against England. Ireland beat England by 3 wickets with Kevin O'Brien hitting the fastest World Cup century off only 50 balls. It was the highest successful run chase (329 in 49.1 overs) in World Cup history. The victory was greeted by wild celebrations all over the country especially since it had come against an old enemy.
In January 2012 Cricket Ireland chief executive Warren Deutrom made the bold declaration that Ireland will be playing Test cricket
by 2020. Their desire to reach test status is in part to stem the tide of Irish players using residency rules to switch to playing for England in order to play at full international test match level.
Trent Johnston, Andre Botha, Niall O Brien, Kevin O Brien, John Mooney, Ed Joyce, William Porterfield, Boyd Rankin, Paul Stirling, Gary Wilson and George Dockrell are some of the more famous names in Ireland cricket.