March 2, 2011

John Mooney at the 2011 World Cup

Luxury in Bangalore with England in store

John Mooney
The Mirpur crowd savoured Bangladesh's victory, Bangladesh v Ireland, World Cup 2011, Mirpur, February 25, 2010
Bangladesh fans packed the Shere Bangla and the area around it during the game against Ireland  © Getty Images
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The opening game against Bangladesh last Friday was my 100th for Ireland in all competitions, and I should really have been celebrating a win. I suppose if we don’t qualify for the quarter-finals it will never get out of our system. That said, it’s gone and now my complete focus is on the England game this afternoon. It’s disappointing, but it’s a game of cricket, and unless it’s a tie like the other day, someone has to lose.

Although I didn’t have a happy time with the bat, I was pleased with the way I bowled. It wasn’t easy coming on after they had got off to such a quick start, but I had a game plan to bowl tight on leg and middle stump to deny them room, and it worked.

It was a great bonus to get the wicket of Imrul Kayes thanks to a brilliant piece of work from Nobby (Niall O’Brien) standing up. He’s as good as anyone in the business, and I think he showed just what he’s capable of. If you’re a batsman and you make the slightest mistake, then you’re gone, as we’ve all seen over the last coupe of years with him.

I can’t leave the Bangladesh game without a word about their supporters and the atmosphere they created, not just at the game, but also in the surrounding environs of the stadium. It’s hard to convey the passion they have for cricket to fans back in Ireland. I suppose a good analogy would be the reception that the Ireland soccer team received in Dublin in the hey days of the European Championships in 1988 or the World Cup in 1990.

That’s the sort of adulation that Bangladesh supporters have for their cricketers, and they were hanging off buildings and telegraph poles in their thousands to pay tribute to their players. They are so fanatical about their cricket and they definitely got Bangladesh over the finish line in what was a vital game for both of us.

We’ve moved onto Bangalore and are staying in the ITC Royal Gardenia hotel with the England and Indian teams. I have to say that it’s a decent little spot! We’ve travelled around as a cricket team a fair bit over the past few years, so when you get to a hotel like this, you really appreciate it. We’ve stayed in some less than salubrious establishments in that time, but this one certainly doesn’t fit into that category.

A lot of the players’ friends and families have arrived here, and my fiancée Helena and my mother Frances arrive this weekend for the India game. It’ll be great to have them in town and it’s a great morale boost to the squad after being away for nearly a month now. We’re proud of ourselves as international cricketers, but that’s nothing compared to the pride our families feel for us. It makes you doubly determined to do well, knowing how much it means to them and friends back home.

We take on England today in what is a huge game for us. They have been in good form, with the bat especially. The opening pairing of Andrew Strauss and Kevin Pietersen is as good as any in the competition, while Ian Bell has looked in supreme touch. We’ve given them a few close run games in recent times, but haven’t beaten them yet. We’ve a lot of respect for England, but no fear of them.

It’s a help having so many county players in our ranks, and they have been great assets in preparing for the game. We’re going to be positive, and take the game to England, and hopefully the next time we catch up, I’ll be talking about a famous Ireland win.

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Posted by Mezba on (March 3, 2011, 20:32 GMT)

As a Bangladeshi, congratulations on your most fabulous win against England.

Posted by Naveen Hegde on (March 3, 2011, 10:16 GMT)

"hopefully the next time we catch up, I’ll be talking about a famous Ireland win."

Wow.. what a statement at the end and what a game you produced..

Congratulations on a historical win. Keep the momentum up.

Posted by tony on (March 3, 2011, 9:42 GMT)

John! You prophet!

Posted by Naveen Hegde on (March 3, 2011, 9:40 GMT)

"hopefully the next time we catch up, I’ll be talking about a famous Ireland win."

Wow.. what a statement at the end and what a game you produced..

Congratulations on a historical win. Keep the momentum up.

Posted by Sukrit Munjal on (March 3, 2011, 8:27 GMT)

Well done John. As you said, you hope next time we catch up, you'll be talking about a famous Ireland win. You couldn't have been more correct. Waiting for your next piece. And best wishes for the rest of the games.

Posted by Gaurav on (March 3, 2011, 8:14 GMT)

Congratulations John on the wonderful win yesterday. I was cheering for you all the way. a wonderful hundred and u sure finished off the English very calmly :)you guys have great spirit coupled with awesome talent!! Have a great stay in India and wish you all the best for the next game!!

Posted by Manoj on (March 3, 2011, 7:12 GMT)

Congrats Mooney and to Ireland for there gr8 show against England... U guys deserve wining few more games :)

Posted by Zimbly Cricket on (March 3, 2011, 2:43 GMT)

Prophetic words :) Brilliantly done. Your team, sir, has a new fan.

Posted by Tracer on (March 2, 2011, 23:29 GMT)

"We’re going to be positive, and take the game to England, and hopefully the next time we catch up, I’ll be talking about a famous Ireland win." So prescient!

Posted by SR Anik on (March 2, 2011, 21:32 GMT)

I was very happy that you lived up to the last sentence of your column today against England. You can now obviously talk about a very very famous victory over England. I hope though, you realized, that Bangladesh has a better bowling attack than England, atleast in their home conditions. England had to figh for their lives back in 2007 against Bangladesh while they chased 170 odd runs to win in West Indese. Your team struggled to reach 200 against Bangladesh, but comfortably went passed 320+ today. These are just stats, but they may show some direction. Its not just the spectators. I have all my support for the Associate teams, because you know what, they make cricket more exciting and less boring.

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