BRACEWELL FACES KIWIS

Ire­land boss comes up against his na­tive New Zealand in Tri-Series

New Straits Times - - Sport -

DUBLIN in two years and their prospects will be en­hanced if they can win one of their games against the fourth-ranked Kiwis and both en­coun­ters against Ire­land.

That sce­nario would ac­tu­ally pro­mote them to sixth in the ODI stand­ings — the top eight at the end of Septem­ber this year qual­ify for Eng­land 2019.

The Tigers have al­ready en­joyed match ac­tion in Ire­land with a facile 199-run vic­tory against a sec­ond-string Ire­land Wolves XI in Belfast on Wed­nes­day, with Sab­bir Rah­man re­tir­ing af­ter reach­ing a cen­tury and Tamim Iqbal hit­ting 86 in a huge to­tal of 394 for seven.

While Bangladesh, who have al­ready had a week’s train­ing camp in Eng­land, have their full Cham­pi­ons Tro­phy squad in Ire­land, the New Zealan­ders have no fewer than seven play­ers un­avail­able be­cause of In­dian Premier League com­mit­ments.

The squad is cap­tained, for the first time, by Tom Latham and two un­capped play­ers are in­cluded, Cen­tral Dis­tricts fast bowler Seth Rance and North­ern Dis­tricts all-rounder Scott Kuggeleijn.

Neil Wag­ner is set to play his first ODI, five years af­ter his in­ter­na­tional de­but, while also brought into the one-day squad are fast bowler Hamish Ben­nett, bats­men Henry Ni­cholls and Colin Munro and all-rounder Ge­orge Worker.

“I have worked hard the last few times on con­sis­tency and skills and change-ups and a few dif­fer­ent de­liv­er­ies,” Wag­ner told the ESPN Cricinfo web­site.

New Zealand still have plenty of ex­pe­ri­ence in their squad with Ross Tay­lor and Luke Ronchi plus proven per­form­ers in Jimmy Nee­sham, Mitchell Sant­ner and Ish Sodi.

Ire­land, now on the verge of Test sta­tus, have had an un­der­whelm­ing two years since Bracewell took over as coach and they were beaten 2-0 by Eng­land last week.

But the squad will be des­per­ate to prove that their per­for­mance at Lord’s, when they scored 243 on Sun­day, is a bet­ter re­flec­tion of their stand­ing than their firstever ODI in Eng­land when they were shot out for just 126 in Bris­tol last Fri­day.

Ire­land have in-form bats­men in Paul Stir­ling and cap­tain Wil­liam Porter­field but bowl­ing again looks to be their Achilles heel. AFP over the next eight years un­der the changes, with more flow­ing to mi­nor Test na­tions and as­so­ciate mem­bers like Ire­land and Afghanistan.

In­dia re­sisted nam­ing their Cham­pi­ons Tro­phy squad in protest, miss­ing a key dead­line and threat­en­ing to pull out of the tour­na­ment in Eng­land, but re­lented and named a side this week.

The new fi­nan­cial plan and gover­nance struc­ture will be rat­i­fied at the ICC’s an­nual con­fer­ence in June. AFP

REUTERS PIC

Ire­land meet Bangladesh in the opener of the Tri-Series at Malahide, Dublin, to­day.

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