Coach praises teenage duo
George Dockrell and Paul Stirling will provide the backbone of Ireland's team for years to come, says Phil Simmons.
Last Updated: 05/05/10 3:30pm
Teenagers George Dockrell and Paul Stirling will provide the backbone of Ireland's team for years to come, predicts national team coach Phil Simmons.
Left-arm spinner Dockrell, 17, and 19-year-old all-rounder Stirling each played in both of their country's matches at the World Twenty20 in the Caribbean.
Ireland were eliminated at the first group stage after rain washed away their hopes of forcing a result in the must-win match against England on Tuesday.
England advanced on a superior run-rate having hit 191-5 against the West Indies, while Ireland had been bowled out by the hosts for 68.
Simmons, a former batting star for the West Indies in the 1980s and 90s, has been more than satisfied with the progress made by both Stirling, who has signed to play for Middlesex, and Dockrell, who is still at school but has ambitions to become a full-time professional cricketer.
"It's nice to see the two youngsters," he said. "It means we have continuity in our cricket and that in four years' time they are going to be two of the senior players.
"So it's great to see that they're performing on a world stage like that."
What has particularly impressed Simmons has been that both players have managed to fill the void created by the retirement of veteran bowler Kyle McCallan and the loss through shoulder surgery of leading spinner Regan West.
"Paul needs to show the world that he can bat and that it's not bowling he's there for but when he's been given the ball, he's done well," the Ireland coach added.
"The fact that we lost Kyle at the end of last year, it's good to see him come and start bowling because we need one of those in the team most of the time.
"It makes it interesting because you have Regan West, who's going to come back in at some time and he's been the senior bowler for the last two years.
"It's interesting because when he comes back the more competition he has to face the more people perform so it will be good."