With four days remaining to the opening of the ICC World Twenty20 championships, the Ireland cricket team intends to give Group-D teams, West Indies and England, a “run for their money.”
At the team’s press conference yesterday at the Pegasus Hotel, players Niall and Kevin O’Brien said that while the team did not win any of its three games at the last World Cup in the Caribbean in 2007, fans coming to the games could expect a competitive side. They said that their team would be fighting to the very end and there would be thrills.
The brothers noted that while their team had beaten the West Indies in 2004, that was a long time ago and therefore they would be looking to start afresh for the tournament which begins on April 30 at the Guyana National Stadium. However, they believe that personalities do not win games, so the West Indies team, which has many world class players, will have to bring its A-game.
Ireland beat the West Indies in the village of Sion Mills on July 2, 1969. They had also beaten them on two other occasions, way back in 1928 and more recently in 2004, when the Irish chased down 292 to win by 6 wickets with 19 balls to spare.
Niall pointed out also that the pitches in the Caribbean were a bit on the slow side so a mostly spin-based attack can be expected. He envisioned batsmen finding trouble to get balls away, especially since he remembered the pitch at the stadium being flat the last time he visited Guyana.
Former West Indies opening batsman Phil Simmons and coach of the Ireland team said that his side would be looking to play competitive cricket and aiming for a win against their opponents. Simmons, who was voted Wisden cricketer of the year in 1997, pointed out that his side was devoted to the task ahead and they were expected to give a good account of themselves.
Porterfield also told reporters that his team would be looking to produce some good performances over the next few days. He stated that his side would be taking one game at a time and would be playing sensible and quality cricket; Ireland will play West Indies in the feature match on the opening night from 17:00 hours.
Ireland Squad: William Porterfield (Captain), Peter Connell, Trent Johnston, Alex Cusack, Andre Botha, Gary Kidd, Niall O’Brien, Kevin O’Brien, Paul Stirling, Gary Wilson (WK), Andrew White, Boyd Rankin, John Mooney, Nigel Jones, George Dockrell.