Ireland have named their squad for the forthcoming ICC World Twenty20 tournament in Bangladesh (March 12 – April 6).
There are few surprises in the squad, with the Irish selectors sticking with the 15 players currently in the Caribbean preparing for next week’s Series against the West Indies in Jamaica.
“There were a few tough decisions for the selectors but we’ve kept faith with the squad who are currently in the Caribbean,” said National Coach Phil Simmons. “It was always going to be difficult for anyone to break into the final squad given the fact that we’re in the middle of the off-season back in Ireland.
“We had a fantastic win against the Windward Islands last week, and I’m pleased with how the preparation has gone this past fortnight. We’ve got three challenging games against the West Indies coming up, followed by a week’s training camp in the UAE, before going to Bangladesh. We play Nepal and the hosts in warm-up games so there’s no danger of us being under-cooked for the Round One matches.
“Indeed, if we progress from the initial group stage, we’ll be going into the games against Sri Lanka, South Africa, New Zealand and England with a lot of game time under our belts, which could give us a serious advantage. However, we’ll be concentrating on the round one games first – that’s the first hurdle for us.”
Ireland captain William Portefield is looking forward to another global event – Bangladesh will be his 7th time at a major final. “There’s a lot of experience in the squad, with most of the guys having played in World Cups before. There are some new faces too though and their enthusiasm will help keep things fresh. It couldn’t have gone much better for us in 2013 but we’re determined to make 2014 a success too – we won’t be resting on our laurels.
“We’re all determined to take Irish cricket to the next level. We’re not happy with just qualifying for finals any more. We want to win games while we’re here and climb the rankings. We have players who I believe can make a major impact in the tournament, as we showed in our domination of the qualifying competition in the UAE in November.”
It will be Ireland’s fourth time at the T20 global finals, having made their debut in the 2009 competition in England. Their win over Bangladesh ensured they reached the knock-out stages of the tournament. In Guyana in 2010 they exited at the group stage after rain robbed them of a possible giant-killing act against eventual winners England. Their 2012 campaign also saw the weather Gods being unkind, as their match with champions West Indies was also washed out mid-innings.
There are six survivors from the 2009 tournament – William Porterfield, Alex Cusack, the O’Brien brothers, Paul Stirling and Gary Wilson. George Dockrell has featured in two finals, while Ed Joyce, Tim Murtagh, Max Sorensen and Stuart Thompson were all in Sri Lanka in 2012. It will be the first final for Andrew McBrine, Andrew Poynter, James Shannon and Craig Young.
IRELAND SQUAD FOR ICC WORLD TWENTY20
William Porterfield (captain), (Warwickshire), Alex Cusack (Clontarf), George Dockrell (Somerset), Ed Joyce (Sussex), Andrew McBrine (Donemana), Tim Murtagh (Middlesex), Kevin O’Brien (Railway Union), Niall O’Brien (Leicestershire), Andrew Poynter (Clontarf), Max Sorensen (The Hills), James Shannon (Instonians), Paul Stirling (Middlesex), Stuart Thompson (Eglinton), Gary Wilson (Surrey), Craig Young (Bready).
Ireland v Nepal, March 12, warm-up
Ireland v Bangladesh, March 14.warm-up
Ireland v Zimbabwe, March 17, Round One
Ireland v UAE, March 19, Round One
Ireland v The Netherlands, March 21, Round One
If successful in Round One, Ireland will go into the same group as Sri Lanka, South Africa, New Zealand and England in Round Two.