Ireland v Pakistan, 2nd ODI, Belfast May 31, 2011

Waqar impressed with Ireland

ESPNcricinfo staff

Waqar Younis, the Pakistan coach, has backed Ireland to become tough opponents in their home conditions after his team played them in two one-day internationals in Belfast. Pakistan swept the series but, after a tougher test in the second game, Waqar was impressed with the hosts' showing.

"I think they probably lack one or two batsmen in the middle order," Waqar said after the match. "They have a solid top order, but I think they struggle a bit in the middle order, although they missed a couple of players.

"They can make a good side, especially in these conditions. They are a side that attracts everyone. They are big fighters. They love their cricket and are definitely an upcoming team."

Ireland were missing Niall O'Brien, their regular wicketkeeper and a key middle-order batsman, through injury. After a disappointing collapse in the first game - they were bowled out for 96 - Paul Stirling ensured they got to a competitive 238 on Monday with his 109 off 107 balls.

It was Stirling's third one-day hundred but his first against a Test-playing nation. It was also his first hundred at home and he was happy to have done it against the Pakistan attack. "It is pleasing to get a century at any time but to get it against such a good bowling attack feels pretty good," Stirling said. "It's nice to do it in front of your home crowd and in front of some familiar faces and my family."

The 20-year-old Stirling averages an impressive 40.13 in his 31 one-day internationals but has often failed to make the most after getting a good start, like he did in the first game against Pakistan, when his dismissal for 39 sparked Ireland's collapse. Stirling said that he was working on converting starts by learning to restrain his natural attacking style.

"You have to turn those thirties into something bigger and hopefully that will come in the next few years," he said. "Sometimes I have to reel myself in. It was good batting with Ed Joyce up top; he was a calming influence and made sure that every ball I was focusing on the next one and not getting too far ahead."

Stirling's knock impressed Waqar, especially because it was crafted with proper cricketing shots. "I think he's a fine player. He doesn't slog," Waqar said. "He plays proper cricketing shots and you enjoy it as a spectator. Even I enjoyed every bit of it because he can hit the ball far; he has got good footwork. He's also young so he has plenty of time and he's not scared of playing shots against any bowler which is brilliant."

Ireland's improved performance in the second ODI was important as they needed to prove they can compete with the top nations before the ICC chief executives' committee meets next month to discuss the possibility of over-ruling their omission from the 2015 World Cup.

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Dummy4 on June 1, 2011, 17:42 GMT

    @ Pathan1...Why is Waqar complementing Ireland you say? Because Ireland deserve it since they fought back competitively. Cant a coach even complement the opposite side these days?? Its called sportsmanship for crying out loud. And Afridi doesn't deserve to be a captain cause he is clueless, he also brings disunity in the team. He is only an average leg spinner and his batting days are over...enough said.

  • Spad on June 1, 2011, 14:36 GMT

    @likeintcricket, You must be a BANGLA, fear your team will be beaten by Ireland and eventually slip to 10th ranking? BAN has been here in TEST cricket for almost 11 years, did they prove anything? Ireland is much better than BAN....

  • Spad on June 1, 2011, 14:31 GMT

    @Edson Charikinya, you must be Zimbabwean, irritated with No.11 ranking of ZIMBABWE...Your team have been here in Intl cricket as TEST nation for almost 18 years, did they prove anything? Ireland is not a test nation, but much better that ZIM..

  • Pankaj on June 1, 2011, 13:44 GMT

    This is in reply to Edson Charkinya and likeintcricket posts. Ireland is certainly better cricketing nation than Bangaladesh and Zimbabwe. I think they should be permitted to participate in the next World Cup. If necessary they could replace either Bangladesh or Zimbabwe.

  • Dre on June 1, 2011, 12:09 GMT

    @Grutness I agree completely! @lineintcricket. What's wrong with the fact that they get county exposure,thats great! At least the world knows they are getting competitive cricketers to play competitive cricket. That IS what we want for world cricket no? Do u want to see your team beating poor teams.

  • James on June 1, 2011, 1:57 GMT

    "I think they probably lack one or two batsmen in the middle order". Waqar's right. Sadly, those lacking players were busy in Cardiff playing for England. Until Ireland get the status they deserve, top players like Morgan are going to remain "missing" on the other side of St George's Channel.

  • Dummy4 on May 31, 2011, 17:24 GMT

    Always they comes out in the field for win. N fight till the end. If dockrell play then pak surely lost 2nd odi

  • Daud on May 31, 2011, 17:11 GMT

    He is praising Irland. Waqar Younis shame on you. because of you we have lost our legend. we have lost the most exciting and erntertainer of this game. shame on you just go to australia and live there. please quit your job otherwise we will loose all of our seniour player because of selfishness. Intikhab was more better than waqar. PCB should bring a new coach ( in case of no choice intikhab would be a better choice) and dont let afridi go.

  • Dummy4 on May 31, 2011, 14:28 GMT

    I was pleased with the team selected by Pakistan for the second ODI apart from the wicket keeper who should be replaced by Sarfraz Ahmed following his recent performance against Afghanistan. The selectors can also follow a policy of rotation amongst some players as stated below. I am not sure whether Tanvir Ahmed and Rehman should be part of the ODI set up as we look to build for the future. My ODI squad would be: 1. Hafeez, 2. Taufeeq / Shehzad, 3, 4, & 5. could be amongst Yusuf, Shafiq, Azhar, Yunus and Misbah with either Misbah or Yunus as Captain, 6. Umar Akmal, 7. Hammad Azam, 8. Sarfraz Ahmed, 9 & 10. could be amongst Gul, Wahab & Junaid, 11. Ajmal. This gives you BEST 15 man squad. Afridi should only be considered if his batting improves and Razzaq if his bowling improves otherwise stick to Hammad Azam.

  • MANU on May 31, 2011, 13:54 GMT

    Ireland deserve on world stage.Making Pakistan reaching target only in second last over is a great thing.Ireland should be provided full member ODI status.With more exposure with top ranked teams,they will improve fastly as results have shown.

  • No featured comments at the moment.