Ireland's Aussies Ready For Reunion
Three Australian-born Ireland players will come face to face with their countrymen later on Friday when the defending champions meet the debutants in the World Cup Super Eights.
Irish captain Trent Johnston, who played six first-class games for New South Wales, opener Jeremy Bray, ex-Australia under-19s, and opening bowler Dave Langford-Smith, a former Australia under-17s player, will all be keen to impress.
"It's a special feeling for me," Johnston said. "But it's also a special feeling for the other 14 guys in the squad.
"To come up against the world champions as they are looking for a third title in a row -- they're in awesome form -- it's going to be special.
"There are also another couple of Aussies-born there but it's about the squad, it's not about us three guys. Hopefully we can be very competitive in the game."
Although Ireland are without win and as good as eliminated, Australia have won all their Super Eights games so far and are on track to become the first side to win a third straight World Cup.
Australia, who this week regained number one status from South Africa in the one-day world rankings, may use the Ireland match to give players who have not been involved much time in the middle.
Batsmen Mike Hussey and Andrew Symonds are two possible candidates for promotion up the batting order.
"It could happen tomorrow, there isn't anything set in stone at the moment," captain Ricky Ponting told a news conference.
"I've spoken pretty long and hard to the batting group throughout the tournament about this exact situation. We have to do what we think is right.
"Symonds finished the game off well for us the other day but really hasn't done a lot of batting while Hussey hasn't done a lot of batting at all.
"If the opportunity does come up tomorrow to be able to maybe put those guys up in a slightly different spot than they have been then we will have to seriously consider it," he added.
Ireland will make a decision on whether to play all-rounder Andre Botha as late as possible, giving him more time to recover from his strained hamstring.
© Reuters 2007