26 Feb 2008 23:57:30
Irish U19 frank interview with coach Brian O'Rourke

Where has it all gone wrong?

From: Cricket Europe.

Barry Chambers
26 February 2008

There's no doubt that the Irish Under 19 World Cup squad travelled
with genuine optimism to Malaysia, harbouring genuine hopes of
capturing a Test scalp, and hopefully reaching the latter stages of
the Plate Competition.

However the reality has been 3 comprehensive defeats to the Test
playing nations, and an even more disappointing 20 run loss to in
truth, a pretty poor Bermuda side.

Why have the results been so poor thus far? One area which we are
obviously deficient in is fielding - while the majority of the squad
may be fit, there is a distinct lack of speed and mobility which has
been brutally exposed in the sweltering conditions being faced by the
players this week.

Brian O' Rourke

"If you compare our lads with the Test nations, it's obvious we're
nowhere near their standard. This week has shown there's a massive gap
in fitness levels, and they've also done a lot of work in the areas of
strengthening and conditioning. The Asian teams have caught up with
the South Africans and the Australians in this regard."

"Fitness was one of my key areas prior to the tournament, and we did a
huge amount of work. However no amount of 5k runs and swims can
adequately prepare you for conditions like the heat and humidity we're
faced with. It's not an excuse, just an explanation of how draining
this climate is."

How then do we reach the standard of the Test Nations? This was the
one facet of the Senior squad which stood up to examination in the
West Indies, and drew praise from all quarters.

"Unfortunately, the nature of our playing schedule, means we can only
do outdoor fielding work during the summer months. We concentrate on
indoor nets in the winter, given how we meet so infrequently. As has
been seen, there's a lot more to cricket than net practices."

"We are making progress in the amount of support that is being offered
to the squad in terms of fitness. We are becoming more professional in
the set up - we have a video analyst (Peter Johnston) withus, and that
is a big plus. I have seen progression in these areas in the 3 World
Cups I've been involved with. We've got to become even more
professional otherwise the gap will get even bigger and bigger."

"What's been so frustrating for me out here is that I've had to go
back to basics too often - we should be moving along to a higher
level, but I haven't been able to do that. While I've been hoping to
talk about the Powerplays, and tactics during when the spinners are
on, I've had to go back to running between the wickets, strength of
throwing arms, and shot selection. Players have been pre-determining
their shots, and it's cost us dearly. At times it's been like dealing
with an Under 13 team - run the first quick, play straight and so
on.It doesn't seem to be registering - that's just so frustrating -
you'd like to think they would know these things coming to a World

From the sidelines it has been evident that there is a distinct lack
of team spirit and togetherness. Why has that been the case?

"There are certainly no cliques in the squad, not that I'm aware of
anyway. They are all getting along off the field, but I agree there is
a lack of buzz around the side that you'd expect from a team
representing Ireland. They are a quiet bunch of players - I'd love to
have a Gary Wilson in the squad - what he offers in terms of
personality and encouragement can't be under estimated. It's just that
we don't have the type of extrovert players that a squad needs."

"I can't fault the players in terms of their discipline - they are all
practising hard, and the training sessions have been full on. The
facilities are good, and we can only hope that the hard work
eventually pays off."

Although it's been a poor display so far, which players have enhanced
their reputations?

In the bowling department Andrew Britton has performed really well and
worked hard. He wouldn't have been an automatci pick at the start, but
he's come through. He bowls straight at a nice pace, and he impressed
the England management in our game with them.

In the batting Chris Dougherty and James Shannon have both looked
good. Chris cuts and pulls very well, and is willing to spend time at
the crease. Shannon is a good timer of the ball, who plays
aggressively. He's one of the seven 17 year olds in the squad.
Hopefully although we've been poor, lessons have been learned and
we'll come back stronger. James Hall and Shane Getkate did well in our
game with West Indies, showing good technique and application."

27 Feb 2008 10:09:47
Re: Irish U19 frank interview with coach Brian O'Rourke

max.it wrote:
> Where has it all gone wrong?
> From: Cricket Europe.
> http://www.cricketeurope4.net/DATABASE/ARTICLES2/articles/000028/002849.shtml

There was a very broad smile across my face when Bermuda under 19s beat
Ireland under 19s at the World Cup. I tried constantly to get Ireland to
come to our Academy in Mumbai to work hard, as the Bermudans did - but
instead they went to a rival Academy.

Phil Simmons, the senior coach, is very impressed with what we do - yet
sadly he couldn't persuade Brian and the Irish to come with us!

It definitely seems to be a case of who you know, rather than what you
can deliver for teams nowadays!!