Friday 23 February 2018

Simmons: We have a duty to spread the game

Phil Simmons
Phil Simmons

PHIL SIMMONS is planning to spread the success story of Irish cricket to a new audience this summer by taking his team on training camps to Cork, Kerry and Galway.

The Ireland coach revealed the next stage of his quiet revolution as he prepared for today's second RSA Insurance Series ODI against Sri Lanka at Clontarf, in-between dodging showers in Malahide.

"I'm sure there is a lot of untapped talent out there and Cricket Ireland want to get as many people interested and playing as we can," Simmons said.

"We have a responsibility to spread the game beyond traditional areas and I will taking our contracted players around the country throughout the summer to hold coaching sessions that'll be open to everyone.

"I'm also hoping to get to more National Cup games (the second-tier club competitions) to see some new grounds and meet those players and coaches at the grass roots level."

Next year promises to be massive for Irish cricket, with participation in the 50-over World Cup in Australia and New Zealand, followed by jointly hosting the World T20 qualifiers with Scotland and Simmons is determined there will be no let up in the charge towards Test-match status.

Before that there is the little matter of avenging Tuesday's 79-run defeat by World T20 champions Sri Lanka. The Irish post-match analysis concluded they had leaked 20 too many runs at the end of the visitors' innings and then not performed with the bat.

With no injuries to report after yesterday's training, Simmons is likely to stick to the same starting XI, despite the temptation to draft in batsman Andy Poynter, a key component of the T20 team, who plays his club cricket for Clontarf.

Irish Independent

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