/ Cricket

Joyce full of praise for Irish squad

Updated: Thursday, 14 Jun 2007 15:58

Bray's Ed Joyce will play a key role for England against his former irish team-mates
Bray's Ed Joyce will play a key role for England against his former irish team-mates

Wicklowman, Irishman and now England's opening batsman. Ed Joyce, born and raised in Bray, says that all the talk of him declaring for England and now playing against Ireland, is getting a little bit frustrating.

Joyce, who has scored recent half centuries in Group Stage wins over Kenya and Canada, met the Irish and English press ahead of playing against and facing many of his friends in the World Cup Super Eight at the Providence Stadium in Georgetown, Guyana, on Friday.

Speaking exclusively to RTÉ Sport's John Kenny, Joyce said: 'All the talk is inevitable about an Irishman playing for England and now facing Ireland. It's a little bit annoying as there are others who are in the same situation as me.

'But I didn't expect to play against Ireland as I didn't expect to see them getting through to the Super Eight.'

Joyce, though, is full of praise for his former team mates. He said: 'They have done brilliantly. If you looked at the group beforehand you would have said that the West Indies and Pakistan would have been the favourites to go through, so it's a massive credit to everyone involved with Ireland that they have progressed.'

Ireland have surprised many by tying with Zimbabwe and beating Pakistan and the three points Ireland took from the group was enough to send them through to the Super Eight.

Joyce, although surprised that Ireland qualified, credits a fine team spirit in the Irish camp.

He revealed: 'Ireland at times are really confident. They knew that they had a good team ethic and that they were going to do the simple things really well.

'I know Adi Birrell really well and he is big on fielding and doing the basics really well. They would look to not giving away runs cheaply, fielding well, taking their chances and that's exactly what they did against both Pakistan and Zimbabwe.'

The 15-man Irish squad continued with their preparations today ahead of Friday's game in Georgetown. Captain Trent Johnston's shoulder injury is improving all the time and he should be fit to face England, as will fast bowler Boyd Rankin.

However, there is a concern about David Langford Smith, who had a back spasm on Monday night. He continues to receive treatment and the Irish management say they are very hopeful that he will be fit.

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