No real surprises in the Cricket Ireland World Cup squad announced today for the 2011 World Cup taking place in India,Bangladesh and Sri Lanka between February 19 and April 2. Most notable absentee – through injury – is Regan West whose persistent injury problems have not seen him play for the country in the last 18 months or so.
Ed Joyce is back as we previously reported on SportsNewsIreland and having gained special dispensation from the I.C.C his experience will be of great benefit in a relatively inexperienced squad albeit one that also includes captain William Porterfield, Niall & Kevin O’Brien Trent Johnston, Cricket Ireland’s Player of the year, John Mooney and Andrew White.
Among those who will part of the World Cup squad for the first time will be teenager spin bowler George Dockrell and Middlesex’s Paul Sterling who is likely to be in contention with Joyce to open the batting with captain Porterfield.
Coach Phil Simmons commented: ‘I like the balance of the squad.
‘As with most Irish teams of the past few years, there are quite a few all-rounders, and that gives us plenty of options in all departments.
‘This squad contains a lot of experience with nine having played in the 2007 competition – I am sure that is more than most teams.
‘What is different this time from 2007 is that 13 of the 15 earn their living from cricket – that’s practically a full-time squad.
‘It makes such a difference having the guys full-time, and that is thanks to our team sponsor RSA Insurance, with whose support we have been able to offer the players who aren’t with English counties contracts with Cricket Ireland. We were also able to spend a month in India acclimatising, and that will stand us in good stead. ‘The squad all know the importance of this tournament and I’m certain we will acquit ourselves well.
‘We may have lost the surprise factor, but we have earned the respect of the cricketing world through our efforts.
‘We’ve reached the Super Eight phase of both the World Cup and the ICC World Twenty20 – there’s no reason why we can’t make the latter stages yet again.’
Ireland captain William Porterfield added : ‘We’ve been waiting for this time to come around now for a while and I know the squad are just looking forward to getting out to Dubai and on to India and Bangladesh.
‘There has been a lot of hard work put in over the past few weeks and months and being in India in November for the training has really helped the lads in getting to where they want to be.’
Ireland travel to Dubai on 28 January for a pre-World Cup training camp, and have warm-up games against New Zealand and Zimbabwe in Nagpur before their first game in the competition proper against Bangladesh in Dhaka on 25 February.
You will recall that Ireland are in Group B together with Bangladesh, India, England, the Netherlands, South Africa and West Indies.
William Porterfield (Warwickshire) (captain)
Andre Botha (North County)
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 (Railway Union)
Niall O’Brien (Northants)
Boyd Rankin (Warwickshire)
Paul Stirling (Middlesex)
Albert van der Merwe (The Hills)
Gary Wilson (Surrey)
Andrew White (Instonians)
Non-travelling reserves are:
Allan Eastwood (Pembroke)
Andrew Poynter (Clontarf)
Regan West (Civil Service North)
Craig Young (Bready/Sussex)
Group matches and venues involving Ireland :
Ireland v Bangladesh, Dhaka, Friday 25 February.
Ireland v England, Bangalore, Wednesday 2 March.
Ireland v India, Bangalore, Sunday 6 March.
Ireland v West Indies, Mohali, Friday 11 March.
Ireland v South Africa, Kolkata, Tuesday 15 March.
Ireland v Holland, Kolkata, Friday 18 March.
Some tough games ahead then but exciting times for the followers of Irish cricket – much to look forward to – full coverage of the Irish group games here as usual.