Marsh tips surprises from lesser cricket countries

Sydney, Feb 7 (AP) Former Australian wicketkeeper RodMarsh says Ireland, Kenya, the Netherlands and Canada couldcause a few surprises at the Cricket World Cup beginning intwo weeks.

Marsh, the director of coaching at the InternationalCricket Council''s Global Academy in Dubai, has worked withplayers from the so-called Associate nations for the past twoyears in preparation for the tournament beginning Feb. 19 inIndia, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.

The 63-year-old Marsh -- who played 96 Tests forAustralia -- and his assistants, New Zealand bowler DayleHadlee and Pakistan batsman Mudassar Nazar, have warnedestablished countries not to take the less-fancied nations toolightly.

"I am not saying one of those teams will win the WorldCup, but I am saying they will give a very good account ofthemselves," Marsh told "Australian Associated Press" today.

"These guys have prepared probably better than most of theTest nations, because they haven''t had all the othercompetitions and distractions."

Ireland made the Super Eight stages in 2007 and Marshsays it has the talent to repeat that achievement this year.

"Ireland are always well prepared, they have experiencedplayers, most are playing county cricket and they are inpretty good shape," he said.

"They actually think they can win the tournament and notjust compete, which I think is fantastic."

Batsmen from the four countries have been using thefuturistic "Pro Batter" and "Spin Bowla" machines in Dubai onwickets made from Pakistan soil as they look to givethemselves the best possible chance of success.

"We''ve strived to get them into a position where theyknow all about batting on the subcontinent," Marsh said. "Weidentified that the biggest problem for these guys in the pastwas that they didn''t make enough runs.

"There has been a heap of footage shown to them about howthe top players bat on the subcontinent and Mudassar has beena diamond in talking to them about batting and also reverseswing. They cannot be any better prepared." (AP) AH

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