Bracewell cautious about Ireland

New Zealand coach John Bracewell has urged his team to be aware of the fighting qualities of their opposition in today’s Super Eight match against Ireland in Guyana.

Bracewell spent some with his opposite number Adrian Birrell during his time as head coach of Gloucestershire, after which Birrell implemented a number of things which Bracewell says are “a darn sight better than I had at Gloucestershire”, promoting an approach without fear of stars in opposing lineups and putting importance on enjoyment and passion on the field.

Bracewell says Ireland are a team who “scrap well as a unit and probably play in the style of New Zealand”, and urges his team to be aware of that ahead of today’s game which, if the Black Caps win, will almost assure them a semi-final spot.

But don’t mistake the caution for a lack of confidence in the team’s potential to go all the way. Bracewell has strong belief in his team and considers the skipper to be the key to the Black Caps’ success. Bracewell says that Stephen Fleming has a level of respect in his leadership almost un-matched around international cricket.

Using the Maori term ‘mana’ to describe his stature in the team, Bracewell says that Fleming, captaining in his third World Cup, has the experience and has earnt the absolute respect of his team-mates, who Bracewell says will “follow him anywhere and do anything for him”.

Not only that but he has also, according to Bracewell, encouraged other players to have a level of authority in the team such as almost certain successor Daniel Vettori, ensuring that the captaincy is in good hands when he eventually retires and hands it over.

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