Cricket Ireland today announced a very experienced squad for the RSA Challenge ODI against England at Clontarf on Thursday next, August 25th .
As expected, Coach Phil Simmons and his fellow selectors chose 14 of the 15 players who featured in the World Cup squad, only exception being the now retired Andre Botha.
Albert van der Merwe makes a welcome return after recovering from an elbow injury, while Trent Johnston (knee) and Alex Cusack (back) have also recovered sufficiently to face England.
Coach Phil Simmons was delighted to announce an unchanged squad : “Everyone wants to play in this game and it’s great that I have a fully fit squad to choose from. We’re aware that this is the biggest game in our calendar this summer, and it’s sure to be a great occasion with a full house at Clontarf. It’s going to be a historic game with England playing in Dublin for the first time, and we’re hopeful that the team will give the fans plenty to cheer about on the day.
“I’m sure England will be coming with revenge very much in their minds following the World Cup. The days of teams coming over to Ireland and taking us lightly have long gone – we’ve earned their respect with our performances over the past decade, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.”
Ireland captain William Porterfield supported his Coach’s views adding :”This is the game everyone in Irish cricket has been talking about, and really looking forward to. It’s been a sell-out for five months, and there’s sure to be an incredible atmosphere at the ground. We’ve long shaken off the enthusiastic amateur tag – there’s now eight of us plying our trade in county cricket, and turning in consistent performances.
“All but two of our squad earn our living from cricket, making us virtually a full-time outfit, and our cricket has improved year on year, as our results show. This is a vastly experienced squad, with nine of the guys having played 100 times or more for us – even George (Dockrell), who just turned 19 last month has made 46 appearances, while Paul Stirling at 21 has played 81 times.
“We’re all aware we’ve lost the element of surprise, and also that there’s now a real expectation from the cricketing public on us to perform. We’re confident that we have the players in this squad to do just that, although we do realize that it won’t be easy against an England team showing such great form against India at the minute.”
The squad for the England game, which gets underway at 10.15 am is: in full is as follows:
William Porterfield (captain) (Warwickshire)
Alex Cusack (Clontarf)
George Dockrell (Somerset)
Trent Johnston (Railway Union)
Nigel Jones (Civil Service North)
Ed Joyce (Sussex)
John Mooney (North County)
Kevin O’Brien (Gloucestershire)
Niall O’Brien (Northants)
Boyd Rankin (Warwickshire)
Paul Stirling (Middlesex)
Albert Van der Merwe (YMCA)
Andrew White (Instonians)
Gary Wilson (Surrey)