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Cricket Ireland has announced a packed international schedule for 2009, a year in which the team will attempt to qualify for the 2011 World Cup.
Their year begins with a two-week training camp in South Africa on March 14 prior to the World Cup Qualifiers, which take place from April 1 to April 19. Ireland have been placed in a group alongside Scotland, Namibia, Canada, Oman, and the second-placed qualifier from World League Division 3, the tournament in Argentina which kicks off next Saturday. Four teams from each group will then play in a Super 8 series of games, with the top four gaining qualification for the World Cup.
In addition to home and away fixtures in the Friends Provident Trophy, Ireland will be apart of the ICC World Twenty20 in June, followed by the defence of the ICC InterContinental Cup. "We've a chance to showcase Irish cricket again on the world stage, when we take on Bangladesh and India in the World Twenty20," said Phil Simmons, the coach. "I know how much the players are looking forward to face England again, and we've also got some mouth-watering clashes in the Friends Provident Trophy. It'll be a great experience playing under lights at The Rose Bowl - even more so if it's shown live on tv!
"We've come to look upon the Intercontinental Cup as our own, having won it three times on the trot, and the four day format seems to suit our style of play, no matter what the climate or conditions."
Assistant editor Will opted against a lifetime of head-bangingly dull administration in the NHS, where he had served for two years. In 2005 came a break at Cricinfo where he slotted right in as a ferociously enthusiastic tea drinker and maker, with a penchant for using "frankly" and "marvellous". He also runs The Corridor, a cricket blog where he can be found ranting and raving about all things - some even involving the sport. He is a great-great nephew of Sir Jack Newman, the former Wellingtonian bowler who took two wickets at 127 apiece for New Zealand.