Castle Lager Proteas assistant coach, Adrian Birrell, will play an integral role as the team prepares for their ICC Cricket World Cup Group B match against Ireland at the Manuka Oval in Canberra on Tuesday February 3. Birrell coached Ireland from 2002 to 2007, and will be a key source of information having worked with most of their current crop of players at national and junior level.
Birrell says he’s not surprised by Ireland’s current development and progress at international cricket, particularly their knack of “upsetting” the bigger cricketing nations at world events.
“No not at all,” he said to the media on Sunday at the Manuka Oval in Canberra. “They have a strong culture and play an attractive brand of cricket. They have a number of good players, and since probably 2005 a lot of their players are county players playing cricket full time, they are playing professionally.
“In every World Cup they seem to beat a full-member team,” he said of their expectations of reaching the knockouts.
“They did that in 2007 when they beat Pakistan and Bangladesh and tied with Zimbabwe. There is the famous win at the 2011 World Cup against England, and they have already beaten the West Indies here, it’s very realistic. We are taking them seriously, they are a good team.”
The Proteas’ last outing against Ireland at the 2011 World Cup resulted in a comfortable 131-run win, but Birrell admits they will be a stronger force with both bat and ball.
“Their batting,” he said of their strengths. “They bat long and deep. They know how to chase targets; four out of the top 10 World Cup chases are Ireland chases, three of them over 300 and two against full members. We are fully aware of what they can do, I am probably more aware than most. We will be prepared come Tuesday.”
Vernon Philander and JP Duminy continue to receive physiotherapy rehab and treatment, and will continue to be assessed daily before a commitment is made on their availability for the match.
South Africa ICC Cricket World Cup Itinerary
March 3 – Ireland v South Africa, Manuka Oval, Canberra 14:30
March 7 – Pakistan v South Africa, Eden Park, Auckland 14:00
March 12 – South Africa v United Arab Emirates, Westpac Stadium, Wellington 14:00