Belfast Telegraph

We’ll show Ireland respect, says Ponting

By Ian Callender

Ricky Ponting has said Australia will pay Ireland “due respect” in Thursday’s one-day international but promised the big crowd expected at Clontarf that the world champions will be taking it “very seriously”.

The Aussie captain no longer plays Twenty20 cricket so, having missed last month’s World Cup in the West Indies, it is nine weeks since his last competitive action, but Ponting, speaking in Croke Park yesterday after a photocall with hurling legend DJ Carey, left no-one in any doubt that he and his team-mates will be ready for the Irish challenge.

“It’s a one-day international and we’ll be taking it seriously, don’t worry about that,” he said. “We want to play well in every game we play. That’s certainly the attitude we’ll be taking.

“Back in 1997 was the first time I toured Ireland. I remember playing then and it was very much like a little village game (in Eglinton) against amateur cricketers. But things have changed now which is one of the great things about cricket developing around the world.”

Meanwhile, Ireland coach Phil Simmons has given a clue to his starting XI for Thursday’s one-day international by leaving out Peter Connell and Gary Kidd from the squads to face West Indies A at Stormont next week and the World League, which follows immediately afterwards in Holland.

Despite three of Ireland’s county professionals — captain William Porterfield, Boyd Rankin and Niall O‘Brien — being unavailable, Simmons and his fellow selectors have gone into the A squad for their replacements and, as expected, recalled George Dockrell who is only missing the Australia game because he has a school exam while his team-mates are at Clontarf.

Connell’s opening bowling slot in the squad announced this morning, has gone to Strabane’s Phil Eaglestone, while Kidd has been overlooked in favour of Albert van der Merwe, the South Africa-born Development Officer at The Hills, who makes an Ireland squad for the first time at the age of 33.

Andrew Poynter wins a recall and Nigel Jones makes the 13-man squad for the games on his home ground at Stormont on Wednesday and Friday next week.

Ireland squad (v West Indies A): T Johnston (capt), A Botha, A Cusack, G Dockrell, P Eaglestone, N Jones, J Mooney, K O’Brien, A Poynter, P Stirling, A van der Merwe, A White, G Wilson. (For World League) as above, plus R McCann, C Young.

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