Ian Callender (Belfast Telegraph)
Kyle McCallan may be missing from the Ireland team at the World Cup but he will not miss the big match involvement.
Ireland's most capped international has been snapped up by Sky Sports to provide analysis on all their games in the tournament, starting on Friday morning.
The Grosvenor Grammar schoolteacher admits he has to take some unpaid leave to travel to the studios on the outskirts of London but he will receive the five-star treatment to help him fulfil his obligations. A car will pick him up at Heathrow and bring him to his hotel on Thursday night and then take him to the studios where he will join the rest of the Sky team for the build-up to the match, interval analysis and then a review at the end of what will be a nine-hour day in front of the cameras.
The same routine will be repeated for Ireland's other five games and, with any luck, into the quarter finals if Ireland can repeat their achievement of 2007 and reach the last eight. McCallan is looking forward to his new challenge and admits it makes up for missing out on playing in a second World Cup.
'After the experience in the West Indies four years ago, I would be lying if I didn't admit to a feeling of hollowness when watching the opening ceremony last week but I have no regrets about my decision to retire. It also means I will have no more sleepless nights about bowling to Virender Sehwag, for example,' said McCallan.
'It will be much easier talking about it.' And Kyle says, that if results go pear-shape, he is up for any arguments about Ireland's right to be at the World Cup.
'If Bob Willis or someone else suggests that the so-called minnows shouldn't be involved I will fight our corner. It will probably arise because the ICC have already taken the decision that there will be four less teams at the next World Cup, in 2015, but the Associate qualifiers have added very much to the World Cup, as our feat in reaching the Super Eights at our first attempt proved.
'I can also quote famous names like Graeme Swann, Sean Tait and AB de Villiers who are all supportive of our participation. Indeed, Swann said that if you don't let them in ‘you are taking the World out of the World Cup'.'
So does McCallan give Ireland a chance of getting out of what he accepts is the tougher group? 'Of course, there is a chance. The first game against Bangladesh will be very important but after their defeat by India in the opening match they will be under pressure to win and that could help us, a bit like the scenario in 2007 when Pakistan lost the opening match to the West Indies, and then faced a must-win game against Ireland. (They lost!).
'After that, the games against England, West Indies and Holland, all playing outside their comfort zone, are winnable and if we perform to our best then there is definitely the chance of an upset,' adds McCallan.
And, this time, if Ireland ‘do the business' then one of their greatest players will there to tell the world 'I told you so' live on television.