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March 17, 2008
Ireland arrived for their first tour of Bangladesh promising to play good cricket during the three-ODI series which gets underway on Tuesday.
The Irish, who are ranked at No. 10 in the ICC one-day rankings, one place above Zimbabwe, cannot be taken lightly and won the last time these sides met, in last year's World Cup.
"Our main focus would be to play good, positive cricket," Ireland's coach, Phil Simmons, told reporters. "We are very much aware with the fact that we are going to play against a Test-playing nation. Bangladesh may lost their last few series badly but against the top opponents like New Zealand and South Africa ... but in one-dayers, anybody can win a match on his day.
"I played in the subcontinent for West Indies [and] that's why I am very much knowledgeable about the character of the pitches here. We are working on this issue but definitely it would be a challenge for us to cope with the condition and the quality spin bowlers."
While Ireland have little to lose, the pressure is very much on Bangladesh who since that meeting in the World Cup have lost all 12 ODIs they have played, and in 28 internationals of all kinds they have won only twice, both in Twenty20 games, against West Indies and Kenya.
Trent Johnston, who led Ireland to their World Cup success, said he was not overly worried by the thought of spinner-friendly tracks. "There are eight players who have survived from the team that beat Bangladesh in the World Cup but still we have some quality players. We want to enjoy cricket here. We know the spinners will play a vital role but you know we have variation in our spin attack too with one legspinner, one offspinner and a left-armer. We never focus on any individual rather our main strength is our teamwork."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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