Though England went on to make 266/7 from 50 overs, the show put up by Ireland justified the answer the vice-captain gave.
McCallan, who is a school teacher by profession and has just been given a leave extension by his head mistress, wasn't rude, but his answer had the righteous tone of someone who felt under-valued in the collective effort of a unit that has three Aussie-born and one with South African roots. He felt the team effort was being underplayed.
Referring to the lost group game against the West Indies, where their Australian-born captain Trent Johnston sat out, he said: "We did miss him as, say, England would have missed Kevin Pietersen if he was injured. There is no difference in that."
The reference to Pietersen wasn't just because he happened to be the key player in the England squad, but also to the fact that Pietermaritzburg wasn't anywhere in Britain.
He wasn't finished yet, as he added: "When we beat Pakistan square and fair and there was Niall O'Brien who made 70 and Boyd Rankin who took three wickets. Both of them are Irish born and bred boys. Besides, Trent has an Irish wife and kids, Jeremy Bray has lived in Ireland as long as I know him. These guys are not mercenaries flown in for the World Cup, they have contributed a lot to Irish cricket and their children too might represent Ireland one day."
Today he walked the talk as he led a total Irish show on field. Till the 43.3 over, when Johnston had Andrew Flintoff clean bowled the scoreboard had a total true blue Irish feel to it as England were at one stage tottering for 113/4.
Londonderry boy Boyd Rankin, who was among the ground staff at Middlesex but never got a look-in and just recently got a contract with Derbyshire, showed the effectiveness of 6 feet 7 inches with a perfect action. By dismissing Ed Joyce from his first ball of the day the sentimental umbilical cord was cut and later when he had English skipper Michael Vaughan caught behind, Rankin just showed his rivals what they were missing by ignoring him.
The brothers from Dublin — wicket-keeper Niall and pacer Kevin — plotted Ian Bell's dismissal, but McCallan put the cherry on the cake by dismissing the dangerous looking Pietersen. The catcher being another Londonderry boy William Porterfield, and that just stressed the point that McCallan had made: the Irish too can play cricket.
In the hindsight if one looks at the scoreboard the worst bowling performance of the day came from the 'outsiders'. Johnston going for 70 in his 10 overs while Botha gave away 56 runs from 10 overs.
England: E Joyce b Rankin 1, M Vaughan c NJ O'Brien b Rankin 6, I Bell c NJ O'Brien b KJ O'Brien 31,K Pietersen c Porterfield b McCallan 48, P Collingwood run out (White/Johnston) 90, A Flintoff b Johnston 43, P Nixon c Morgan b Botha 19, R Bopara not out 10, S Mahmood not out 0
Extras (lb 2, w 13, nb 3) 18;
Total (for 7 wickets) 266
Fall of wickets: 1-6, 2-23, 3-89, 4-113, 5-194, 6-245, 7-258
Bowling: D Langford-Smith 7-0-38-0, W Rankin 7-1-28-2, D Johnston 10-0-70-1, A Botha 10-1-56-1, K O'Brien 4- 0-26-1, W McCallan 10-0-38-1, A White 2-0-8-0