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Lewis offers warning about Windies
23 Jan 2015 15:03
Former Ireland cricket international Alan Lewis has warned against underestimating the West Indies in the Cricket World Cup in Australia and New Zealand.
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Ireland’s World Cup campaign will involve playing six games in Group B against the Windies, UAE, South Africa, Zimbabwe, India and Pakistan.
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Lewis, now a rugby referee, believes that Ireland will have to win three of those games to progress to the quarter-final stage.
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A series defeat to South Africa, in which the hosts notched a number of world records in the second game, has compounded the problems the West Indies have had in the build-up to the tournament and given Ireland hope of causing another shock on the biggest stage.
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Lewis feels Ireland can realistically target a place in the knockout stage and the clash with Jason Holder's team will be a key game.
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He told RTÉ Sport: “To get to the quarter-finals we’ll probably have to win three games. UAE and Zimbabwe will be the most likely targets and then nick it off one of the Test-playing nations, the West Indies are in something of a disarray. That’s the way you've got to think about.
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“One of the focuses, having been at the last World Cup, is that we largely competed in every game, that was a significant thing for me.”
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However, he did caution against taking things for granted.
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“It can be a danger going into that game with the West Indies thinking they’re going to lie down.
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“It can be a difficult thing, yes, it looks from the outside that they are in a bit of disarray, but I suppose Ireland will have to look after their own kilter.
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“It looks to me as if wickets are going to be the big thing in terms of run-saving. I think all the sides are looking that way and I think on wickets. The bounce maybe, even with some of the firepower that we have, I think that the Asian teams are struggling more with the bouncing ball than others.
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“Ultimately, I think we’re going to have to win three games to qualify and that’s obviously the aim and objective of the team.”
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Lewis also had words of sympathy for bowler Tim Murtagh, who has been ruled out of the World Cup with a foot fracture he suffered in training.
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“It’s a great disappointment for Tim to go out in such difficult circumstances. He’s a guy who is a regular 60 first-class wickets a season. He hadn’t played a huge amount of cricket but I think they saw a big role for him Tim at the World Cup but there’s great competition in that area,” Lewis said.
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The former Ireland all-rounder believes that Max Sorenson can be a more than adequate replacements for Murtagh in the Irish squad.
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“Like anything in sport, one man’s lose is another man’s gain,” he said.
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“Max, having been left out of the squad, has reacted really well, he has that experience, he’s done it before in big tournaments so hopefully he can fill the boots.”
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