Monday, 10 September 2012

The start of the T20 World Cup is nearing. 

The first team to arrive in Sri Lanka is the small plucky, charisma filled side of Ireland. Ireland's past success was no fluke, whilst this team will attempt to prove it once again.

While Ireland has lost it's surprise factor, Ireland still possess more tricks up their sleeves. With many things having happened, since those warm days in the Caribbean in 2007. What was a bunch of mostly amateurs, except one playing a professional game. Now it's a team consisting of all professionals, except one amateur in no fear of the world's best.

Cricket Ireland has spent many hours and funds, in growing the game in Ireland. Increasing the numbers who participate in Ireland dramatically. With more clubs opening now then ever before. Ireland has very talented players coming through at all levels.

With the likes of Jack Tector, Tyrone Kane, Ryan Hunter, Stuart Thompson, Andrew Balbirnie, Ben Ackland just some of the promising cricketers coming out of Ireland in recent years.

Then recently, Leinster Under 13's claimed their first ever trophy. When they were victorious at the Taunton Festival.

Then throw George Dockrell and Paul Stirling into the mix. All of this bodes very well for Irish cricket in the future.

So much is expected of this Ireland side, going into the T20 World Cup. As I mentioned earlier, the surprise factor is lost. However what was lost, has been made up with vastly improved skill levels.

Ireland have one of the most destructive batsmen out there in Paul Stirling. They also have the hero of the last World Cup in Kevin O'Brien. They have one of the most promising spinners in world cricket in George Dockrell.

Add those players to a potential side, which includes Ireland's veteran Trent Johnston. The colossus of Boyd Rankin with his speed and height. The solid middle order pair of Niall O'Brien and Gary Wilson. The very dependable and talented Ed Joyce.

Ireland's task ahead of them isn't an easy one. They face the hardened Australia and the spiritful West Indies.

Ireland will have to cope with the likes of Chris Gayle, Kieron Pollard, David Warner, Shane Watson, Pat Cummins, Sunil Narine. Most of these sides have bucket loads of T20 experience, playing against the best in the world. Ireland will need to withstand the pressure of the occasion upon them.

Ireland has to be firing on all cylinders to qualify. However Ireland's ambition is so great, they have gone out and hired Craig McDermott as their bowling coach. While also spending many hours with their baseball based fielding coach Will Lintern. Will Lintern skills were pivotal in Ireland's fielding success at the 2011 world cup.

While they didn't have the best of preparations at home, when South Africa A pulled out of the T20 series in Ireland.

This was helped when they announced two extra T20 games in Sri Lanka to prepare. This is arguably the most prepared Irish cricketing side to leave Ireland.

Ireland are capable of beating both of these sides. They will aim to do exactly that, as they continue to meet the lofty goals they set themselves.

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