ICC World T20 2012 September 10, 2012

Ireland capable of beating Australia - McDermott


As he prepares to coach against the Australia team he played a large part in rejuvenating over the past year, Craig McDermott is adamant Ireland will be capable of challenging his former pupils when they meet in the opening round of the World Twenty20 in Sri Lanka.

Speaking for the first time since he quit the post of Australian bowling coach for personal reasons, McDermott told ESPNcricinfo he had no qualms about helping Ireland to foil Australia's T20 side. The match will provide a measure of whether George Bailey's team has truly slipped below Ireland's team of amateurs and English county professionals, as the ICC's T20 rankings now suggest.

"It'll be a good game, Ireland have got a well balanced side," McDermott said, having arrived in Colombo to work with the Irish squad. "If they play to their ability, which they have in the past in T20s and qualified, they'll give Australia and the West Indies a good run for their money.

"They're here to win and my job is to help them win, along with the other coaches. We'll just see who comes out on top on the 19th - we'll be working hard as a coaching staff and a playing staff to produce a cracker of a match.

"To work with all the bowling line-up here is going to be a challenge for me I suppose, it is a short-term stint, I've got to try to do the best I can to produce the best they can over the next two to three weeks. We're looking forward to some proper training leading into some practice matches."

McDermott's departure from the CA job was met with sadness on both sides, after a summer in which his simple philosophy of getting fit and pitching the ball up met with considerable success in Test matches. Having "dealt with" the personal issues that drew him away from the job, McDermott is now ready to work full-time again, and will be keeping his options open after his stint with Ireland ends at the conclusion of the World T20. Though Ali de Winter is ensconced as Australia's bowling coach, a return to CA remains a possibility.

"I said when I stepped down that I had some things I wanted to deal with personally, and I went away and did that," McDermott said. "While I was doing that I worked at the CoE and worked with the AIS intake this year, and also with the Under 19s leading into the World Cup. That came to an end, then I had a couple of weeks off and the opportunity came up to work with Ireland here.

"I'm keeping my options open, if something becomes available with CA that's fine, I look forward to that. I loved working with the team, the players I worked with both from a bowling and batting point of view were fantastic. I'm open to anything, I wanted some flexibility at the time, and that's just the way I decided to go."

Long tracts of time away from home are necessary evils of international coaching, and McDermott said he was again happy to contemplate the travelling lifestyle, not limiting himself to short-term jobs or consulting roles. He also indicated a desire to widen his knowledge of coaching around the world, having previously worked only within the Australian system.

"The time on the road is part of the job, so I'm not saying I want to be a consultant or that I don't want to be with a team," McDermott said. "It's where I see my best fit with an organisation to be able to develop their bowlers or their players. I just want to be a better coach, I want to experience other staff, even with the Irish team, different guys to work with from a strength and conditioning point of view, a physio point of view, Phil Simmons as a head coach.

"Everybody here thinks differently about how to mould a team, how to keep a team on the park, all those things are part of an ongoing learning process as a coach. One of the best things I've done as a coach over the last four or five years is coaching at junior level, away from the elite game. Coaching young kids whether they be 12, 13, 14, 15, has actually helped my coaching at a higher level more than anyone will ever know."

Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Richard on September 12, 2012, 20:43 GMT

    @Simon Power-You're preaching to the choir mate. If it were up to rank and file cricket fans you guys would be in already. You're plainly next in line and it won't be long. You'll be a popular team too, especially here in Oz where we have a large population of Irish descent and plenty of your expats as well.

  • Dummy4 on September 12, 2012, 2:34 GMT

    Ireland went into 2007 without a prayer. Then beat Pakistan, Bangladesh and tied with Zim. After that a proper central contract system and investment and further wins against test sides in occasional 1 day games. In India the shock was not that Ireland had overturned one of the big boys, just that they did it with the largest run chase and the fastest 1 day hundred. Not the win itself. Now nobody would be shocked if they won one of the big games - a surprise like NZ beating SA maybe but not a shock. Stirling and Obriens fastest 100's in country cricket this year, Dockrells 2 6 fors in county cricket and Rankin ripping sides apart mean that Ireland do not have the best team but they have a number of ways to win - Joyce, Stirling, Wilson and O'Brien with the bat (all explosive) and Rankin and Dockrell with the ball. I said this before Bangalore on Cricinfo .. but this is the most talented side to leave these shores for a tournament, well run and with talent - watch out for upsets.

  • Matthew on September 11, 2012, 21:21 GMT

    McDermott available again? Pack de Winter's bags please!!!

  • Dummy4 on September 11, 2012, 13:22 GMT

    Why Steve smith is not in Australia Squad.......... Please don't ignore the All round players Replace smith with Hodge

  • richard on September 11, 2012, 9:19 GMT

    @bouncedout Honestly do yoiu think Ireland can beat Australia, that would be like me saying Ireland HAS beaten England, except mine is fact

  • anirudh on September 11, 2012, 6:50 GMT

    Australia's win over pak in last T20 is jst a fluke

  • Hanson on September 10, 2012, 22:03 GMT

    Phillip Hughes topped the Friends Life T20 averages with over 98. But not good enough for Australia to consider. What with George Bailey etc. Must be an incredible side they've put together.

  • Colin on September 10, 2012, 19:08 GMT

    The 20/20 WC is always a bit of a lottery. As noted on here, any team can beat any team. I think Eng rely too much on Morgan in spin friendly conditions and Aus lack quality spin options to be contenders. If they fire early and get their matchwinners in form then the Windies could be worth an outside punt. Other than that, the Saffas, if they aren't too tired by then, look like the team to beat...

  • Nadeem on September 10, 2012, 18:40 GMT

    i think McDermet is joking here. Australia is australia , they will destroy Ireland. you will see.

  • Martin on September 10, 2012, 15:44 GMT

    @ Wozza-CY ---> Craig Young?

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