Saturday 18 November 2017

Dockrell aims for Gabba glee as Ireland target UAE scalp

George Dockrell was five months shy of his second birthday on the only occasion the UAE have got the better of Ireland, in the first of 14 meetings between the two sides, at the ICC Trophy in Kenya in 1994
George Dockrell was five months shy of his second birthday on the only occasion the UAE have got the better of Ireland, in the first of 14 meetings between the two sides, at the ICC Trophy in Kenya in 1994

David Townsend

George Dockrell has never lost to the United Arab Emirates - and neither have any of his team-mates - but Ireland are well aware that familiarity and complacency could be the biggest dangers in tomorrow's second World Cup group game in Brisbane.

Indeed, left-arm spinner Dockrell was five months shy of his second birthday on the only occasion the UAE have got the better of their Pool B opponents, in the first of 14 meetings between the two sides, at the ICC Trophy in Kenya in 1994.

After being kept indoors for several days by Cyclone Marcia, Ireland were finally able to train outside yesterday at the famous Gabba, which couldn't be more of a contrast to the small club ground in Nelson where they beat the West Indies.

"It's a really fantastic stadium and I'm looking forward to seeing what the atmosphere will be like," Dockrell said.

"A good few Irish fans have been arriving in the past few days and we know they will create a lot of support for us.

"It's a large playing area and I'll be looking forward to that as a spinner. I'll be trying to use the big boundaries to my advantage - trying to get people to hit me in the air."

Without taking victory for granted, Ireland know that a big win would send them top of Pool B on run-rate, with one further victory in four matches against South Africa, Zimbabwe, India and Pakistan possibly enough for a place in the quarter-finals.

Meanwhile, ICC chief executive Dave Richardson has put forward the lamest excuse yet for not being able to change the format of the controversial 10-team World Cup in 2019 - the venues in England have already been decided.

Richardson apparently believes that four years would be insufficient time to re-organise 45 group matches and no quarter-finals into 42 group games and four quarter-finals.

The campaign to re-instate the existing 14-team format, or even increase it, seems to have an influential ally in Sachin Tendulkar, the legendary Indian batsman who retired two years ago after scoring a record 100 international centuries.

"When you want the game to globalise, you need to encourage more and more teams to participate," said Tendulkar. "We need to look at how we can get these guys to raise their standard and that will come when they start playing (regularly) against the top sides."

Ireland v UAE, Sky Sports 2,

tomorrow, 3.30am

Irish Independent

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