Qualification for World Cup 2023 ‘huge priority’: Ireland coach Graham Ford

Dubai [UAE]: Ireland men’s cricket team head coach Graham Ford on Tuesday said qualifying for the 2023 World Cup will be a “huge priority”.

“It is a busy year for our cricketers, but also an exciting and challenging phase for Cricket Ireland. Achieving results is something we all want but there is also an understanding of the importance of bringing through some of the younger lads. Their progress is vital to our cricketing future,” ICC quoted Ford, as saying.

“We have the ICC Cricket World Cup Super League ahead of us in 2020 through to 2022, and of course qualification for the 2023 World Cup is a huge priority. We therefore need to have an eye on the future and give some of the younger talent an opportunity to play alongside some of the established players,” he said.

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Paul Stirling, who is leading the team in the absence of regular skipper Gary Wilson, said he is enjoying his new role but pointed out that captaincy, is posing a challenge for him as focussing on his personal fielding is a bit tricky.

“One takeaway relating to captaincy has been that it is not acceptable to bat or bowl without a plan and hope that it will happen, but it is ok to have a plan and it does not work. From a team point of view, it is important to find what style of play you want to go with,” Stirling said.

“For instance, if we do not have the firepower of West Indies or Afghanistan, then we will need to limit our dot balls and be precise with our gap-finding for boundaries to get to the match-winning scores and give our bowlers the chances to defend,” he said.

Ireland are slated to face Oman, Netherlands and Scotland in a Quadrangular T20 series, starting February 13. The Irish team will then travel to India for a tour against Afghanistan, which will be followed by ODIs against England, Bangladesh and West Indies.


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