Vice-captain Kyle McCallan has revealed that Ireland’s cricketers are refusing to accept that reaching the Super Eight stage is the height of their potential achievements at the World Cup.
Back home in Ireland and throughout the World Cup, Ireland’s progress to the last eight of the tournament has been greeted with shock and astonishment from a squad including 12 amateur players.
For a short time at least, cricket has edged ahead of rugby, football and Gaelic football as the main sporting interest on the Emerald Isle with everyone delighted at their surprise achievement in tying with Zimbabwe and beating Pakistan to qualify.
However, as they approach Friday’s opening Super Eight game against England at the Providence Stadium, Ireland have been urged not to regard their qualification as the limit of their ambition during the tournament.
“What we are very aware of and what we don’t want to fall into the trap of, is thinking we have achieved just by getting here,” stressed 32-year-old off-spinner McCallan.
“We’ve got to somehow be competitive in every game and also somehow upset the apple cart again. I know people are giving us very little chance, but that is a huge motivating factor for all of us.
“We’ve lived on that for a number of years so we don’t mind being an underdog, but what we’ve got to make sure is that we don’t think we have already achieved - now we’re here we’re going to enjoy the experience, but we’ll enjoy it all the more if we play good cricket.”
Their determination to do more than simply turn up for the experience was underlined during practice yesterday in their first full session since their arrival in Guyana.
After several days of rain, Ireland could be forgiven for not reaching top levels of intensity, but their determination to make their mark led to some strong words from the team management.
“After the couple of days of rain we’ve had I think they were a bit rusty so we’ll be going at it hard in the last few days before the England game,” said McCallan.
“Because of the rain there’s not been a lot to do since we got here and the guys have been a bit off key. We were at a very high intensity in Jamaica with all the support that was there and the interest in us and maybe we have become a little flat since.
“We shouldn’t have been that flat and the coach didn’t have a go at the players, but it was certainly brought up.”