Heinrich Malan sees ‘opportunity’ for Ireland to match England’s fire with fire

By Sports Desk May 30, 2023

Ireland coach Heinrich Malan said his side will look to entertain when they take on England on day one of the Test at Lord’s on Thursday.

The team spent March and April touring south Asia with games against Bangladesh and Sri Lanka ahead of their first Test meeting with England since 2019.

England’s aggressive approach continues to win acclaim but Malan pointed out that with much of his side having played the bulk of their careers in one-day cricket, they were well set up to provide a watchable spectacle across their four days in London.

“Look, we know it will be challenging,” said Malan. “But within that challenge it will create opportunity too, and I guess for us we’re looking at the opportunity side of things.

“If they play the way they play and we can execute some of the plans that we have in place, hopefully we can execute that and that will leave us there for an exciting match.

“If you look at the way we’ve played white-ball cricket, we’ve (entertained). We’ve drawn some cards, we’ve beaten one or two of the top-tier teams in the way that we’ve gone about our white-ball business.

“To be fair, a lot of our players, their fall-back is white-ball as an understudy of how they play so a lot of their natural instinct is geared towards white-ball cricket which is all about entertainment.”

Ireland were admitted as full members of the International Cricket Council in 2017 and are currently ranked 12th of the 12 Test-playing nations.

They have lost all six Tests they have played since their first against Pakistan in 2018 but have fared better as a one-day side, registering 75 wins in 188 games since 2006.

They will be England’s final opponents before the Ashes begins at Edgbaston in June and Brendon McCullum’s players will be out to impress their coach in order to secure a place in the side.

“It’s another great opportunity for us to play some red-ball cricket, something that our players have longed for over the last couple of years, and get the opportunity at the home of cricket is obviously a special week for us,” said Malan.

“We know that we’re at the start of our red-ball journey as a country and very much looking forward to building on some of those building blocks we put in place over the last couple of weeks on the sub-continent.

“When you prepare for any game of cricket it’s what you prepare for, to go out there and try and win and then play accordingly.

“Will it be challenging? Yes. Is it a huge challenge? It’s one that we’re very much looking forward to.”

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