With success has come the burden of expectations, hence going into the 2015 marquee event, Ireland will be bit circumspect © Getty Images (File Photo)
With success has come the burden of expectations, hence going into the 2015 marquee event, Ireland will be bit circumspect © Getty Images (File Photo)

ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 will be Ireland‘s third World Cup appearance on a trot. The “Giant Killers” tag defines the strongest associate nation in the event appropriately. Sandipan Banerjee previews Ireland’s chances in the upcoming mega event.

It was on St Patrick’s day in 2007 World Cup, when Ireland were truly recognised as a force to reckon with. Beating Pakistan on that day was no flash in the pan. But since then Ireland have enhanced their reputation further, as the strongest associate nation by overhauling teams like Kenya, Canada, Netherlands within a short span of time. Their crowning moment came, when they devoured neighbours England in the 2011 World Cup.

With success has come the burden of expectations, hence going into the 2015 marquee event, Ireland will be bit circumspect. Their parched run of form lately, with heavy losses in their high performance programme tour of Australia and New Zealand, combined with the absence of players off the calibre of Boyd Rankin has thrown them off course. The loss of players such as Rankin and Eoin Morgan to England cannot be overstated. Furthermore their One-Day International Ranking has been dented despite of 2-1 series win against Scotland. So their confidence isn’t exactly sky high a whisker away from the World Cup.

Ireland have  announced their 15-men squad for World Cup, but not without its share of controversy. Max Sorensen, was a crucial omission according to former skipper Trent Johnston. Sorensen took six wickets in the series against Scotland and was in contention for Cricket Ireland’s player of the year in 2014, but he was inexplicably left out..

The Irish boys are currently playing a tri-series in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) against Afghanistan and Scotland to inject themselves with a final dose of competitive cricket before the World Cup. Though it is hard to fathom the benefits of playing on slow and low pitches in middle-east, when the world cup will be held in completely different conditions.

In the 2015 World Cup the William Porterfield-led team is placed in Group B with big teams like defending champions India, former champions Pakistan and West Indies and red-hot favourites South Africa. So to entertain thoughts of proceeding further, they have to out play one of the big boys and win their matches against UAE and Zimbabwe comprehensively. Its fair to say that they have their work cut out .

The batting will rally around a strong top order comprising- Paul Stirling, Porterfield and Ed Joyce. The middle-order is sprinkled with the quality of Gary Wilson, the O’Brien brothers. Even Andrew Balbirnie, a young batsman who is highly rated in Irish cricketing circles, will play a key role.

Their bowling should ideally suit  the  conditions in Australia and New Zealand. The experienced  Tim Murtagh and young Craig Young will take the new ball in all probability. They will be backed up by a street smart medium pacer in John Mooney, who’d be expected to do the holding job and the supremely talented left arm spinner; George Dockrell.

If history’s an indicator, the likes of India, Pakistan, West Indies and South Africa should take the Irish lightly at their own peril..

Ireland 15-member Squad for World Cup:

William Porterfield (c), Andrew Balbirnie, Peter Chase, Alex Cusack, George Dockrell, Ed Joyce, Andrew McBrine, John Mooney, Tim Murtagh, Kevin O’Brien, Niall O’Brien (wk), Paul Stirling, Stuart Thompson, Gary Wilson, Craig Young

(Sandipan Banerjee is a reporter at CricketCountry. Cricket has been the biggest passion for him since his childhood. So, when it came to choosing his career, he chose to turn his passion into his profession. Apart from cricket he likes mountain trekking, river rafting, and photography. His twitter handle is @im_sandipan)