Ireland v England, Stormont June 12, 2006

England ready for 'potential banana skin'

Cricinfo staff

England's new boys - Alex Loudon, Tim Bresnan and Glen Chapple - in the nets at Belfast © Getty Images
England arrived in Belfast to a low-key welcome - like most other places, the World Cup is shunting other sports into the twilight - but tomorrow more than 6000 are expected at Stormont for the first match between them and Ireland.

With Michael Vaughan and Andrew Flintoff sidelined, it fell to Andrew Strauss to face the media in his capacity as England's captain. And he was keen to emphasise that Ireland would not be taken lightly.

"All games against lesser playing nations are potential banana-skins, but we've got to look at it in the context of the series we've got coming up and that means we have to get some useful practice and try and be clinical," he said. "This is a very useful game in that respect and we won't be taking it lightly either. Ireland have had a couple of surprises in the C&G Trophy and they're clearly capable of playing some good cricket. We'll treat it like a one-day international and if we do that then we'll give ourselves the best chance of doing well."

Local interest centred on Ed Joyce, who until last July was a member of the Irish side and who it was hoped would make his debut against his old team-mates, including younger brother Dominick. But he missed training after coming down with a stomach bug, and it was unclear whether he would be fit.

  • The match will be televised live on BBC2 Northern Ireland