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Page last updated at 11:30 GMT, Wednesday, 9 March 2011

Cricket World Cup: Simmons aiming to shock West Indies

ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 Group B: West Indies v Ireland
Venue: Mohali Date: Friday, 11 March (0400 GMT)
Coverage: Highlights on Red Button & BBC Sport website (UK only) from 2200 GMT, on BBC Two & online 2350-0020; Live on Sky Sports

Phil Simmons
Phil Simmons' positive attitude helped Ireland stun England

Ireland coach Phil Simmons is quietly confident about his team's chances of beating his native West Indies in Friday's crucial World Cup game.

The Irish players will be hoping that the Trinidadian's inside knowledge can help them earn the win which would hugely boost their quarter-final hopes.

"We have 12-13 professionals now, in 2007 we had three," said Simmons.

"The experience is also there because we played in 54 games in 2010. That is the big plus this time."

The 47-year-old Simmons easily qualifies as the most experienced member of the Irish squad, having had a taste of four previous World Cups - three as a player and once as an assistant to Ireland coach Adrian Birrell in 2007.

In fact, Simmons is one of the few cricketers who played his first and last ODI in the World Cup, separated by 12 years.

His one-day figures - 3,675 runs from 143 games with five centuries and 18 fifties - do little justice to his big-hitting talent.

After throwing away a glorious chance to beat Bangladesh in their opener at this World Cup, the Irish regrouped to clinch an astonishing victory over England in Bangalore - helped by Kevin O'Brien's fastest century in the competition's history. And they were far from disgraced when going down to India on Sunday.

Ireland fast bowler Boyd Rankin said that Simmons' positive attitude played an important role in the shock win over the English.

"Simmons is a laid back guy and a perfect man to have around in such situations," said Rankin, recalling the events that unfolded as Ireland chased an almost improbable 328-run target.

West Indies will play us as if they are playing Australia, so we have to prepare for that

Phil Simmons

"He constantly reassured us that the target was within reach and it could easily be managed."

Simmons will be required to do it again against the West Indies and perhaps a lot more as the opponents this time are more familiar.

As an insider, he will be expected to pass on the valuable knowledge that he must have on each of the players, their mindset, weaknesses and strengths.

The stakes could not be higher for both teams. Whichever team wins will fancy their chances of reaching the quarter-finals, while the losers will be scrambling for points over the final two games to ensure further progress.

Simmons believes that Ireland's successes in recent years means that the West Indies will not underestimate his side going into Friday's game.

"We are no longer seen as a surprise package, so none of the games will be easy," he said.

"They will be a little bit cautious and they realise we play proper cricket. We are hitting right areas when we bowl and playing good shots when we bat.

"So there will be no complacency from them. They will play us as if they are playing Australia, so we have to prepare for that."

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see also
Ireland succumb to Windies defeat
11 Mar 11 |  Ireland
Proud skipper rues Irish batting
06 Mar 11 |  Ireland
Ireland make India toil for win
06 Mar 11 |  Ireland
O'Brien can get better - Simmons
06 Mar 11 |  Ireland
Ireland's Andrew White's column
05 Mar 11 |  Ireland
Windies brush aside woeful Tigers
04 Mar 11 |  Cricket
Brilliant Ireland shock England
02 Mar 11 |  Cricket
Hero O'Brien hails 'best innings'
02 Mar 11 |  Ireland
Roach's hat-trick destroys Dutch
28 Feb 11 |  Cricket
Cricket World Cup 2011
09 Mar 11 |  Cricket

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