Simmons sticks with the tried and trusted
Cricket Ireland this morning named a 13 man squad for the RSA Challenge one-day international against Australia at Clontarf on June 17.
National coach Phil Simmons has kept faith with the squad which played in the ICC World Twenty20 last month in the West Indies, with the only players missing from that tournament being Civil Service North all-rounder Nigel Jones, and 17 year old Leinster left arm spinner George Dockrell.
Simmons admitted the unavailability of Dockrell is a big blow to the side: “It’s a pity that George can’t make the game, but he has exams which are obviously important to his future. He’d been bowling really well and settled in superbly to international cricket. That has helped us offset the retirement of Kyle McCallan, and the injuries to Regan West.”
Simmons was relishing the opportunity to pit his wits against the current world champions: “It’s a chance for the players to showcase their talents against the best in the business. We’re playing on home soil, in familiar conditions, and with the backing of our home fans. We may have lost the surprise factor against the Full Member teams in the past few years, but we have certainly gained their respect. No-one treats us lightly any more, as they know if their game drops, we are ready to pounce.
“I’ll be looking for the players to play with the same intensity that they showed in the West Indies. We did really well in the field against both West Indies and the eventual winners England.”
RSA Chief Executive Philip Smith: “As very proud sponsors of the Irish Cricket Teams, RSA Insurance is delighted to be the sponsor of this world class event. This stellar Irish squad will do Irish audiences proud. We are also particularly excited that the RSA Challenge One-Day International. will be broadcast live from Clontarf Cricket Club on June 17th. We welcome the Australian squad to Ireland for what will be a great occasion.”
Ireland captain William Porterfield can’t wait for the action to start:”It’s the one game that all the players have been talking about since the fixture was announced last year. You can’t help but be motivated by the chance to play the world champions, especially in front of the home supporters.
“We all had a month together in the West Indies, and that tour was fantastic for both team spirit and preparing the squad for the international year ahead. There may be a few cobwebs as it’ll be six weeks since our last game, but everyone has been playing some sort of cricket. With the majority of the squad being full-time in cricket now, I don’t think there’ll be any problems with rustiness. We have three days training in Dublin before the game, so we’ll be well prepared come match day.”
“It’ll be a great experience playing against players of the calibre of Ricky Ponting, Michael Clarke, Mike Hussey and Mitchell Johnson. We’ll certainly not be overawed though – we’ve played in three world cups now, and have got over that stage of our careers. It’ll be a great occasion for everybody in Irish cricket, and hopefully a day to remember.”
The Ireland squad in full for the RSA Challenge against Australia is as follows:
William Porterfield (capt) (Gloucestershire), Trent Johnston (Railway Union), Andre Botha (North County), Peter Connell (North Down), Alex Cusack (Clontarf), Gary Kidd (Waringstown), John Mooney North County), Kevin O’Brien (Railway Union), Niall O’Brien (Northants), Boyd Rankin (Warwickshire), Paul Stirling (Middlesex), Andrew White (Instonians), Gary Wilson (Surrey)
Tickets for the game can be purchased via Ticketmaster www.ticketmaster.ie