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Home > Cricket > The Cup > Reuters > Report

Aussies set to experiment against Irish

Simon Evans | April 13, 2007 14:39 IST

Australia captain Ricky Ponting may use Friday's World Cup game against debutants Ireland to give some of his lesser used players a chance to see some action.

Australia have won all their Super Eights games so far while bottom-placed Ireland, surprise qualifiers to the second stage, are without a win.

"It could happen tomorrow, there isn't anything set in stone at the moment. I've spoken pretty long and hard to the batting group throughout the tournament about this exact situation. We have to do what we think is right," Ponting told a news conference on Thursday.

Ponting highlighted Andrew Symonds and Michael Hussey as batsmen who might move up the order to get some more time at the wicket ahead of the tougher final two Super Eights games against Sri Lanka and News Zealand.

"Symonds finished the game off well for us the other day but really hasn't done a lot of batting while Hussey hasn't done a lot of batting at all.

"If the opportunity does come up tomorrow to be able to maybe put those guys up in a slightly different spot than they have been then we will have to seriously consider it," he said.

Ponting said the same approach could be taken to the bowling attack: "We have to look a little bit ahead of just this game -- in case you have an injury."

While he may be willing to rotate the responsibilities against the Irish, the Australian skipper said there was no question of taking it easy against the weakest side left in the competition and is aware that playing a non-test side carries some different challenges.


"The biggest thing is you don't know a lot about their players. A lot of the other teams we play, our guys have played against most of them for five or six years of international cricket," he said.

"With sides like this, or Bangladesh or Scotland, you haven't got much footage of them, much idea of their strengths and weaknesses."

Ireland will feature three Australian-born players in their side in batsman Jeremy Bray, captain Trent Johnston and bowler Dave Langford-Smith.

"We have some guys who weren't born in Australia and it is pretty normal in international cricket these days. I'm sure that will make them pretty keen to play well against us," Ponting said.

Ireland coach Adrian Birrell said his team's main aim was to try and avoid being totally crushed.

"We are under no illusions, tomorrow's going to be tough, they are the best side in the world and they are going to come out and try to annihilate us," Birrell told reporters.

"Ireland against Australia is the biggest game of our lives. It's a dream for everyone and we want to put up a good show."

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