Ireland coach Ford keen for players to sample World Twenty20 environment

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Retrieved 07 May 2020, 17:50 IST

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Ireland head coach Graham Ford

Ireland head coach Graham Ford says the back-door T20 World Cup could snatch some players from their only chance to play in front of a huge crowd.

In the first round of a tournament in Australia, Ford’s team against Ireland Sri Lanka, where he coached, the team is scheduled to start the sprint-format competition in mid-October.

Although cricket is currently suspended around the world due to the spread of the coronavirus, the ICC said last month that the T20 World Cup would be held as planned.

However, the presence of fans at those matches remained a separate issue as all industries continued to have social-distance arrangements.

Ford has acknowledged that it wants to play cricket as soon as it is safe and that some of its players are likely to be absent from the only major tournament possible.

“Personal choice – I feel for the players – but I’d just like to see cricket happen,” he told Stats Performer.

“On the other hand, it’s a great experience for the players to come and play in this kind of tournament with this huge crowd. I don’t think these players are coming down.

“If there is a way to structure it, then finally the tournament is held with the general public. This is definitely the first prize. But if that doesn’t happen, well, let’s play cricket.

“I think if you reach a T20 World Cup and it feels too bad to be able to play behind closed doors; it’s depressing enough for everything.”

Ford thinks countries like Ireland, which will have to go through the first round to reach the Super 12, where Australia, Holder West Indies and England will enter, will suffer the most as a result of disrupted preparations.

Ireland have already seen it due to a tour of Zimbabwe in April and have postponed the seven-match series against Bangladesh scheduled for this month.

“Over the years, I felt we could make a huge improvement in our cricket because our program was really exciting,” Ford added.

“All this cricket could have improved our young boys a lot and we would have given a lot of great gifts to those cricketers as soon as we reached the World Cup.

“Unfortunately, this is not happening, so it has made the challenge so big.

“I think on the other hand, some of the top teams, some of their gun players haven’t played cricket for a while, if they work that way.

“I think it could be easier for Steve Smith or someone to start his game than our 20-year-old, so it’s a bit of a hassle.

“We will stand up to this challenge from the commitment of trying to do what I saw the Irish character and what happened and their do-it-yourself attitude.”