Thursday February 14, 2013
Ireland confident of success despite Test defeats
KUALA LUMPUR: Ireland believe they stand a good chance of making the World League semi-finals when they play in Round Two in India next week.
Six teams will vie for two places in the World League Round Two in New Delhi from Feb 18-23 but world No. 11 India and world No. 15 Ireland will start as favourites.
The others in the line-up are China (world No. 18), Oman (No. 36), Bangladesh (No. 40) and Fiji (No. 73).
Ireland coach Andrew Meredith is confident of them being in the top two in the tournament, though he conceded that “India will be the team to beat. “But we have a reasonably good team with young players and I believe we have the potential to be among the top two. We’ve been told that the top two will advance to the semi-finals,” he said.
Ireland are in Kuala Lumpur for a three Test series against Malaysia as part of their final preparations for the tournament in India.
They lost the first two matches 4-2 on Sunday and 3-0 on Monday.
But Andrew’s not too bothered about the defeats.
“We want to acclimatise to the conditions in this region and get in some useful practice matches before playing in New Delhi. Malaysia offerred us that chance and we’re grateful to get some quality matches,” he said.
Andrew took over the Irish team from South African Paul Revington after the Olympic qualifiers last year. Revington is now the coach of the Malaysian team.
“Matches between Malaysia and Ireland have always been close and I believe that we can learn from them. Of course, our focus is the World League. Looking at the teams in the pool, I believe we can make the top two,” said Andrew, who thinks that China coul also pose problems.
The Irish team will leave for India today and kick off their Round Two campaign against Bangladesh on Monday. This will be followed by matches against Fiji, India, Oman and China.
It’s likely that Ireland may play against Malaysia in June if they make the cut for the semi-finals. Malaysia are hosting the second semi-finals in Johor Baru from June 29-July 9.
The other semi-final is slated to be held in Holland in early June.