©INPHO/Barry Chambers New friends: McDermott with Alex Cusack, left, and Trent Johnston, right.
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World T20: No divided loyalties, insists 'gun for hire' McDermott
One of Australia’s all-time bowling greats, Craig McDermott is firmly in the Irish camp ahead of Wednesday’s World T20 showdown between the countries.

CRAIG MCDERMOTT, Ireland’s new bowling coach, has made it clear that he is no spy in the camp as he prepares the side for their World T20 showdown against Australia.

A native of Queensland, McDermott says there will be no divided loyalties when the two countries meet on Wednesday for their opening Group B match in the Sri Lankan city of Colombo.

The 47-year-old, who was one of the Aussie bowling stars of the 1980s and 1990s, was snapped up as a coach and consultant by Ireland earlier this month.

And despite making over 70 test appearances for his home country, McDermott insists that he’s only interested in the boys in green.

I played for Australia for a long time but I’m a consultant, a gun for hire now. I’ve worked very hard with these boys and I get on well with them. We need a win tomorrow.

I do think we’ve got a very good chance. Australia will be nervous about losing to Ireland. The only thing they can get out of tomorrow is winning, and everyone will expect them to win, so it’s going to put them under the pump.

The tournament marks Ireland’s third appearance at the World T20, where they will hope to emulate the heroics of 2009 when they beat Bangladesh and qualified for the Super 8 round.

McDermott spent a year working as bowling coach to the Australian national team before packing it in last May, and while he has noticed the obvious differences in the set-up, he feels Ireland have got their preparations spot on.

“You work with a side like Australia or England, there’s more staff, there’s more everything I suppose that’s laid on for the players. What Ireland have from a funding perspective, how they’ve prepared for this tournament, I think they’ve done a great job. I’m looking forward to them playing some good cricket tomorrow and putting Australia under pressure.”

Ireland come into Wednesday’s game riding back-to-back wins against Zimbabwe and Bangladesh in their warm-up games, and despite a knock of 71 from Paul Stirling in the latter, it was the bowlers who came in for the most praise. Kevin O’Brien took a hattrick of wickets but coach Phil Simmons still needed closers Alex Cusack and Trent Johnston to show cool heads and deny Bangladesh in the final two overs.

Thriving under that type pressure is what McDermott wants to see from his men.

“It’s about liking and enjoying yourself under pressure, being able to perform under pressure whether it’s batting, bowling or fielding. The Australians will put us under pressure in all three formats of the game so we’ve just got to be on the ball from the start when we turn up tomorrow.

I think you’ve just got to try to relax at the top of your mark. That’s the biggest thing you can do, you’ve just got to relax and know that you can bowl or execute the ball that you want to bowl. Nobody means to bowl a ball down leg side, nobody means to drag one down and bowl one short and get bumped for six.

You’ve got to give yourself the best chance possible in your preparation which I think all of our bowlers have done. Tomorrow we can only hope that everybody turns up relaxed and ready to roll.

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