No-one underestimates us - Simmons
Ireland coach Phil Simmons insists no side in the world would dare take liberties with cricket’s international giant-killers now.
With Ashes celebrations still in their bloodstreams, England switch to limited-overs mode tomorrow at Stormont and have sent a full-strength side no doubt wary of a shock in the one-day international.
They have already displayed their own vulnerability this summer by succumbing to the might of Netherlands in the ICC World Twenty20 while Ireland reached the second stage of that competition by defeating Bangladesh, one of the two sides, along with Pakistan, they beat in their joyous 2007 ICC World Cup campaign.
Only captain Andrew Strauss has been rested and Simmons said: “I am sure all the full members countries know now, don’t underestimate us when you come to play us.
“Come and play properly otherwise anything could happen - no-one is going to take us for granted any more.”
Ireland lost by 38 runs the last time the two countries met in Belfast three years ago and caused a flutter or two in the 48-run defeat in Guyana during that World Cup.
They are a better outfit now, however, after working at improving the start and finish of both their batting and bowling innings.
Captain Will Porterfield is one of a handful of men in green with county experience and even outdid the English contingent who were on the field clinching Ashes glory on Sunday evening by playing for Gloucestershire last night - he top-scored with 47 in a NatWest Pro40 defeat to Hampshire before flying to Northern Ireland.
Porterfield, who was 12th man the last time England were in town, said: “Any chance to play England is a good occasion, and we are looking forward to it. They are obviously on a high after the Ashes.
“I wouldn’t say it is quite a David v Goliath but we are obviously underdogs preparing for this game.
“The strides we have made over the last few years has shown we are closing that gap between ourselves and the Test nations, especially in the one-day format.”
Warwickshire fast bowler Boyd Rankin was today ruled out after his groin injury failed to pass a fitness test.
But former captain Trent Johnston is hoping for a double celebration.
This match represents the Australian-raised all-rounder’s 100th appearance for his adopted nation and he said: “I can hardly say I enjoyed watching England regain the Ashes but on Thursday I have got the chance to get my own back.”