Irish fury at 'stupid' English
IRELAND players past and present have slammed England for selecting 'a third XI' to contest this Thursday's sold-out one-day international at Clontarf.
Dublin-born Eoin Morgan will captain his adopted country for the first time, but of the England team famously beaten by Ireland at the World Cup in March, only Jonathan Trott will make the journey this week.
"I was so angry when I heard their squad," said former Ireland bowler Dave Langford-Smith. "There are two or three names there I've never even heard of -- they're taking the piss."
"England aren't showing us much respect," a current senior player agreed. "This is cricket's big chance to make an impact with the Irish people and the opposition just aren't interested. That's quite a contrast with the Aussies last year. It looks like England are not taking this seriously at all which is pretty stupid when you consider our recent record against them."
Aside from the three-wicket win in Bangalore, when Kevin O'Brien scored the World Cup's fastest century, Ireland had the better of a rained-off game at the 2010 World Twenty20 and lost by only two runs in Belfast in 2009. England are officially 'resting' the likes of skipper Alastair Cook, Ian Bell, Kevin Pietersen, Graeme Swann and Stuart Broad.
But Langford-Smith, who played in the 2007 World Cup, believes the recently crowned No 1 team in Test cricket have adopted a cowardly 'can't lose' policy because they are scared of suffering another humiliating defeat.
"They could have come over here looking for revenge but instead they're sending a third or fourth team," he added. "There's no doubt in my mind they're afraid of Ireland. If they lose, they can say it was only the kids that got beaten."
When Australia beat Ireland by 39 runs at Clontarf last year, they arrived days ahead of the game to acclimatise whereas England will fly in on the eve of the match and have insisted on an early start so they can leave on Thursday evening.
"It's the biggest game of the summer for Irish cricket," said Langford-Smith. "It's been sold out for months and now we're going to be looking at players nobody knows. It's a disgrace."