Monday, June 17, 2024

Ireland cricketers ‘up for it’ ahead of USA and Pakistan World Cup clashes

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The Ireland cricketers are ‘up for it’ in this weekend’s crucial T20 World Cup games, says all-rounder Curtis Campher. ‘We’re used to fighting uphill battles,’ he added, as the squad got down to business in Florida after a three-day break.

‘It’s been a reset for us to get to Fort Lauderdale and rest,’ Campher, the 97-times-capped Clontarf man, told Extra.ie.

‘The weather’s been really good, we’ve done a few group activities to keep the spirits and the bonding up which is always a key thing when you come on tours like this, so you stick together in the tough times.’

12 May 2024; Graham Hume of Ireland, centre, celebrates with teammates after taking the wicket of Pakistan’s Babar Azam during match two of the Floki Men’s T20 International Series between Ireland and Pakistan at Castle Avenue Cricket Ground in Dublin. Pic: Seb Daly/Sportsfile

Ireland will have been delighted that India held on to beat Pakistan by just six runs on Sunday, a result that keeps alive Irish hopes of qualifying for the next phase.

But the most important part of the mathematics concerns Paul Stirling’s men themselves, and the imperative of winning both remaining games against the United States and Pakistan.

‘When you lose your first two games it doesn’t matter what the results are in the rest of the group,’ said Campher, ‘it’s always going to have to be that you win the next two games to have a chance of getting through to the Super Eights.

‘The squad are feeling pretty up for it, we’re used to fighting uphill battles so hopefully this can put us into position where we can show what we are made of – in our first two games we haven’t done that.

‘Past experiences do help you but past experiences don’t play the game for you. So, it’s nice to draw on those – but on the day you’ve got to execute. It’s about taking each moment one at a time and putting together performances. And the most important thing is to win the first game before we can start talking about winning the second game.’

Cricket Ireland
2024 ICC Men’s T20 Cricket World Cup Group Stage, Nassau County International Cricket Stadium, New York USA 7/6/2024 Canada vs Ireland Ireland’s Mark Adair reacts Pic: INPHO

Paceman Barry McCarthy, who took 2-24 against Canada in his 55th T20I appearance, added: ‘The lads have had some time away from the game. We have a week between matches, so to get a few down days has been welcome. These tournaments are long and it’s important to switch off and refresh, to get ready to go again.’

Florida has presented a new set of conditions for the Pembroke man and his fellow bowlers, with 73 per cent humidity and temperatures soaring into the 30s yesterday.

‘It’s certainly hot alright, so you have to stay hydrated and manage your energy efficiently,’ said McCarthy. ‘But we’ve been working hard on our fitness over the last number of months to be ready for this. We feel well prepared, so no excuses there.’

The fall-out continued from the controversial Nassau County pitches, with McCarthy admitting: ‘Yeah, in New York there was some assistance in the wicket for bowlers, particularly if you hit a good length. There was also value for being consistent. I did expect the wickets to be better for batting, but that’s sport, you just have to learn to adjust.’

Campher agreed: ‘The game plan in New York was simple – hammer a hard length and bowl that six-to-eight metres, other than that it was doing slightly subtle variations and trying to extract as much as you can in these wickets. It’s been tough for everyone to bat on so it’s been trying to make it tough for the batters every time you come on to bowl.’

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