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Ireland’s cricketers are preparing for the World Cup – here is all you need to know

They won four matches in the T20 World Cup in six previous appearances in the competition and have a chance to improve on that this year.

Ireland cricket© SPORTSFILE

Sumedha DuttaSunday World

Ireland are preparing to take their place in the T20 World Cup in Australia, taking their place among the giants of the game in the 16-tear tournament.

They won four matches in the T20 finals in five previous appearances in the competition and have a chance to improve on that this year, in a group that features West Indies, Zimbabwe and Scotland.

Here is the guide to a team that will carry Irish hopes into the T20 World Cup with their first match coming up on Monday against Zimbabwe.

What is the T20 World Cup?

The shortest form of the game sees the best nations in the world compete over a 20-over format, with boundaries and big sixes all part of the spectacle in a version of cricket that has become the most popular with fans across the globe..

How far can Ireland go in the T20 World Cup?

Ireland became a regular part of the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup as they prepare to make a seventh consecutive appearance.

How did they qualify?

Ireland made their place this year in the tournament by finishing as runners-up in the ICC Global Qualifier A. The main aim for the team will be to reach the Super 12, but before that, they will be facing Scotland, West Indies, and Zimbabwe in the Group Stage.

Ireland Squad for ICC Men’s T20 World Cup

Andrew Balbirnie (c), Mark Adair, Curtis Campher, Gareth Delany, George Dockrell, Stephen Doheny, Fionn Hand, Josh Little, Barry McCarthy, Conor Olphert, Simi Singh, Paul Stirling, Harry Tector, Lorcan Tucker, Graham Hume.

The coach – Heinrich Malan

This South African was drafted into the Ireland squad earlier this year and he has had a positive impact.

Malan, who replaced Graham Ford in the post in January, has vast experience as a coach and the vibes from the squad have been good.

"Heinrich has been a breath of fresh air," said Ireland wicketkeeper-batter Lorcan Tucker. "It's no coincidence that the team is in such a strong mental state going into this tournament. He's challenged us to think differently and to apply different methods to achieve the desired results. On a personal level, he's always trying to get the best out of every individual and I've felt a renewed sense of self-confidence in the last few months."

Changes in the squad

Fast bowler Graham Hume will be flying to Australia as a replacement for Craig Young, who has suffered a "recurrence of a chronic issue", according to Cricket Ireland.

"Unfortunately, whilst out in Sydney for our T20 World Cup prep camp, Craig experienced a recurrence of a chronic issue which we have been managing for quite some time," said Mark Rausa, Cricket Ireland's head of physiotherapy. "Whilst we thought we were on top of the issue, it sadly flared up once we arrived in Sydney and began training. Craig will now return home for an assessment with our medical specialists to plan out his rehab."

Over the summer Ireland spent time playing against big-hitters like India, New Zealand, South Africa, and Afghanistan which can help to improve their gameplay this season.

Batting firepower

Captain Andrew Balbirnie and Paul Stirling will be the batting hope to add up more runs. Their partnership has nearly 200 T20I appearances and can set strong foundations for Harry Tector, who turned in a brilliant performance against India with an unbeatable score of 64 runs and is capable to perform well.

Bowling options

Seam bowler Mark Adair can be a key bowler with 72 wickets taken in T20I since his debut in 2019.

Medium-pace all-rounder Curtis Campher and seamer Josh Little will be joined by Sami Singh and Gareth Delany for spin options.

Meanwhile, fast bowler Hume will look to make an impact after replacing the injured Craig Young.

The verdict

Ireland have a real chance to make it through to the Super 8 stage of the competition as they are favourites to finish second to West Indies in Group B.

Australia are 13/5 favourites to win the competition on home soil, with England at 3/1 and India at 7/2. Ireland are 250/1 outsiders to lift the trophy and be crowned as world champions.

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