by Barry Chambers
DateLine: 4th June 2009
Ireland coach Phil Simmons was in upbeat mood ahead of their final warm-up game with South Africa on Thursday at Southgate, starting at the earlier time of 3:30pm. The extra fixture will help Ireland to fine tune some aspects of their game ahead of their Group games in Nottingham next week.
The team practised for an extra hour on Wednesday, with Simmons not surprisingly deciding to concentrate on the batting discipline. Simmons said, ďThe facilities were available and we took the chance to spend extra time here. We havenít had too many opportunities to work on really hitting the ball in the nets, as there have always been lots of people around. We didnít have anything to rush back for, so itís good to put extra effort in and the players responded well.Ē
ďMy main focus today was to get the guys to find their areas when batting. All the players have different strengths and I was getting them to find out the shots and areas that work best for them. It was a good session and I could see improvements from them. Not all the players have the power to strike sixes all the time, so it was about them finding their range and their areas for getting boundaries on the board.Ē
Reflecting on his sideís two opening warm up games, Simmons agreed there was room for the team to improve, ďIíve discovered we donít do well in back-to-back games. We played well on Monday, but not so good against the West Indies at The Oval on Tuesday. Everything hasnít come together yet Ė certain parts of the batting fired in the West Indies loss, while the bowlers did well in the Holland win. Hopefully by Monday when we play Bangladesh itíll all fit into place.Ē
Simmons hinted that he may experiment in the South African clash; ďIíll probably try some different combinations and see how they go. I may play 13 tomorrow, but Iíll decide that overnight. It might be a good idea to let all the batsmen get a hit.Ē
Ireland have no injury concerns, with all the squad taking a full part in the training session. They will however be without the services of Paul Stirling, who travelled this evening to Nottingham, where he will sit his final ĎAí level examination in the morning.