South Africa A tour of Ireland August 27, 2012

South Africa A cancel Ireland T20s

Ger Siggins

Ireland's warm-up plans for the ICC World Twenty20 have been thrown into chaos after South Africa A pulled out of the remainder of their tour due to the threat of more poor weather. The month-long visit of the South Africans ended early after the first of four Twenty20 games was rained-off at Oak Hill on Monday.

"It's not a decision we've taken lightly but given the amount of cricket that's been lost on the trip already and with the further likelihood of further disruption, we felt it was necessary to give the players a chance to prepare for the ICC World Twenty20," Vincent Barnes, the South Africa A coach, said.

"It's been an incredibly frustrating tour for everyone concerned with the weather, but I'd like to thank Cricket Ireland for their hospitality and understanding in what was a difficult decision for ourselves."

Ireland coach, Phil Simmons, said: "There's no doubt that it's a serious blow to our preparations for the ICC World Twenty20.

"But we will have two weeks in Sri Lanka before our games against Australia and West Indies, and we of course have warm-up fixtures against Sri Lanka A, Bangladesh and Zimbabwe in Colombo."

The decision by South Africa to abort the tour is unprecedented and deeply disappointing to Irish supporters. The last two T20 games of the series were to have provided a gala opening to the new international stadium in Malahide.

Cricket Ireland chief executive, Warren Deutrom, said: "We fully appreciate that the priority for Cricket South Africa is to give players that might be involved in the ICC World T20 every opportunity to get meaningful practice beforehand, which we cannot guarantee here, so we completely appreciate their decision.

"It goes without saying that we are disappointed for everyone, not least the players of both sides, our sponsors RSA and the hosting venues of Malahide and Oak Hill that have put in so much effort but have been ultimately defeated by the awful weather.

"Although the forecast for the second half of the week is much better, the long-range view for Sunday is uncertain, while the inability of the players to train meaningfully before then and risk of possible injury is too big to take."

Simmons was forced into a late rethink of his plans for Sri Lanka, already hit by the injury to allrounder John Mooney.

"It's been a frustrating season for all concerned and the South African tour has been particularly hard hit by the elements," he said. "If we're unable to train outdoors this week we'll look to go to North County and have indoor sessions before we leave for Sri Lanka next Tuesday."

The South Africa A tour was scheduled to provide 15 days of high-class competition for Ireland's home-based players, but the weather refused to co-operate. Just 490 overs of play were possible before the tour was cancelled.

Play was possible on only two days of each of the four-day games, both of which ended in draws; all three 50-over games were affected by the weather - one was abandoned and the other two ended in D/L wins for South Africa A; and the first T20 match was abandoned without a ball bowled.

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  • Tim on August 30, 2012, 16:14 GMT

    @Colm, if Ireland know they can't get their team 'released' then why are they playing this series? But really the counties may not like it but losing players to international duty is part of the problems with being a domestic team. Counties don't stop England players representing their country or even their A team, they also don't stop international players of other test playing nations leaving when they need to. If Irish players aren't giving those same rights they need to make a stand. Like I said before, this should have been a dress rehearsal for test cricket.

  • Terry on August 30, 2012, 0:11 GMT

    I think the series should have been more flexible. The first four day match had the first two days rained out. If they started the match after the rain stopped they could have gotten four days in, even if they had "rest" days each day that it was rained out.

    They matches should have been arranged to be played whenever the weather had ceased. It would have been better preparation for both sides and forced players to be ready for "call up" at any time.

    Please remember that these were reserve players whom the main side could call up at any time. These reserve players should get use to being called on to play at any time.

  • Peter on August 28, 2012, 10:23 GMT

    The weather has been a disaster - a pity. But the suggestion most of our team didn't turn up was harsh. Most of our players *couldn't* turn up because of county or U19 commitments. And injury. I'm grateful SA A gave some of our upcoming players the chance to play against good opposition. I'm just sorry that the weather on this occasion let us all down. It won't always be that way, and I'd encourage other teams touring England to replicate what SA have done

  • Dummy4 on August 28, 2012, 9:27 GMT

    Dashgar if you don't know the facts then don't bother replying. Ireland has many county players and if they are needed by their counties they can't play the South Africa Series.

    I know people wanted the likes of the O'Briens, Joyce, Rankin etc to play. However it wasn't through lack of wanting or trying that failed Cricket Ireland.

    It was simply the counties not releasing players.

    Secondly considering we actually had been in many good positions against this SAA side, it goes well for our squad players.

    Just think before you start slating Cricket Ireland. It's not always our fault

  • Tim on August 28, 2012, 3:45 GMT

    This tour has been a complete failure from the start. Playing against A teams, especially one as powerful as South Africa should be Ireland's dress rehearsal for test cricket but most of the team didn't even bother to turn up. It's almost as though the cricket gods have punished Ireland with rain. I hope A teams continue to tour the high end associates but since Ireland have failed to take this tour seriously I wouldn't blame them if they didn't bother.

  • Mihir on August 27, 2012, 18:40 GMT

    Forget AFG or Zim if no political tensions for tri series in T20

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