England wary of Ireland threat

Tue, Mar 1, 2011 8:35 AM

England batsman Ian Bell has insisted there will be no complacency when they face Ireland on Wednesday just days after their dramatic World Cup tie with co-hosts India.

After being involved in the match of the tournament so far, the dangers of an emotional let-down against an Ireland side that failed to chase down a relatively modest target of 206 in a 27-run loss to Bangladesh, also a co-host, are obvious.

But Bell, who made 69 against India, knows Ireland seam bowler Boyd Rankin well, having played alongside him at Warwickshire where Ireland captain William Porterfield is set to appear next season.

"We know a fair bit (about Ireland)," said Bell on Monday.

"These days a lot of those guys are respected on the county circuit. I've got two team mates from Warwickshire on that side so we know enough about them."

Ireland tied with Zimbabwe and then stunningly defeated Pakistan at the 2007 World Cup and Bell added: "They have earned respect in international one-day cricket and there is a lot of experience in their side from county cricket."

"It's a game we're looking forward to and will have to play well in. It is not a game we can turn up and just coast. There are some dangerous players in that Ireland side."

Rankin's nine wicketless overs against Bangladesh cost 62 runs but Bell insisted: "I think Boyd has got a lot of ability."

"Certainly for Warwickshire, I have seen him bowl some fantastic spells at good pace and with really good bounce."

"Playing at Dhaka is probably not the easiest place to play as a big 6ft 6in plus guy. If you are slightly off line to someone as good as Tamim Iqbal, you get punished."

"This wicket will probably have a bit more pace and bounce than Dhaka. I respect him. We are going to have to play him well with the new ball."

Fortunately for England, captain Andrew Strauss, who made a career-best 158 against India and fellow opener Kevin Pietersen both look in fine touch and Bell said: "We are lucky we have got someone like Straussy and KP in good nick so hopefully we will play him well up front with that new ball."

Wednesday's match will also see batsman Ed Joyce playing against England for the first time since he reverted to being an Ireland qualified player following a brief stint with England that ended at the 2007 World Cup where he featured against the land of his birth.

Joyce never got a chance at Test level, the main reason why he moved 'across the water' from an associate nation such as Ireland but he told the Irish Times he accepted his England fate following the 2007 World Cup.

"I made my peace pretty much straight after that tournament," the 32-year-old left-hander said.

"Obviously I would have liked to play Test cricket and have had the chance to play in the England team for longer but it didn't work out that way."

"I look at being here now and am kind of glad I'm here, so maybe it's one of those things that was meant to be."

He added: I'm a much better one-day player than I was when I played for England. I look back and wish I'd known what I know now about the game, but hopefully that will work out in Ireland's favour."

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