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May 25, 2009
Ireland coach Phil Simmons has big ambitions for his team at the ICC World Twenty20 and will be disappointed if his side doesn't make it through to the Super Eight stage of the tournament.
Simmons wants the squad to repeat their success from the 2007 World Cup in West Indies when they reached the last eight after beating Pakistan in the qualifying section. Ireland also beat Bangladesh later in the tournament.
The Ireland squad are preparing to leave for a training camp and their warm-up games ahead of their first match at the ICC World Twenty20 against Bangladesh, at Trent Bridge, on June 8. The players will travel in good spirits after demolishing Worcestershire for 58 in the Friends Provident Trophy last week.
"The win against Worcestershire was exactly what we needed in our last competitive game before the Twenty20," Simmons said. "It was also achieved without our top county players which says a lot for the depth of the squad. We will, of course, have everyone available and I'll be very disappointed if we don't make our mark.
"Obviously our best chance lies in the game against Bangladesh but the beauty of Twenty20 cricket is its unpredictability. We will be going into the warm up games and the tournament in a confident mood."
Kyle McCallan, the vice-captain and one of the most experienced players, was also confident that Ireland will be there to more than just make up the numbers. "We're relishing the opportunity to showcase Irish cricket on the world stage again," he said. "The 2007 World Cup in the West Indies was a fabulous experience for all concerned, and I'm sure it'll be the same again in England.
"It'll be a wonderful experience playing in front of sell out crowds, and I'm sure there will be plenty of Irish supporters adding to what I'm sure will be an incredible atmosphere.
"I know just how much all the guys are looking forward to it, and if we play to our capabilities, we have a genuine chance of progression. We're well prepared and have already played a lot of cricket this year. The conditions in England will be more familiar to our players than our opposition, so that's obviously a big advantage to us."
Ireland will take on New Zealand in a Twenty20 game at Derby on May 27 before moving on to a training camp at Wormsley , where they will face a PCA Masters XI and West Indies in practice games. They will then face Netherlands and West Indies again in warm-up games at Lord's and The Oval.
Ireland will be at full strength apart from the loss of Eoin Morgan who has been selected in England's World Twenty20 squad.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
Stats highlights from the fourth ODI between India and West Indies in Dharamsala