Cricket: Cusack going under knife ahead of World Cup bid
ALEX CUSACK will play his final game of the season for Ireland at Clontarf today before undergoing surgery in a bid to be fully fit for next year's World Cup on the Indian sub-continent.
The Aussie-born all-rounder will be employed solely as a batsman in the second and final RSA Series one-day international against the Netherlands as the agony of his shin injury now makes it too painful for him to bowl.
Cusack, who is one of the full-time centrally contracted Ireland players and a key member of coach Phil Simmons' squad, will miss Ireland's final two InterContinental Cup qualifying matches in Canada and Zimbabwe.
But if his recuperation goes to plan, Cusack could be available again before the end of the year and will be 100pc by the time Ireland kick off their World Cup campaign against Bangladesh in February.
The Clontarf star (right) has been playing through the pain barrier all season after a rest failed to cure a problem that has become so acute he was unable to bowl against the Dutch in the IC Cup last week, or again on Monday.
Without the option of Cusack's bowling, Ireland may resist the temptation of giving an ODI debut to seamer Allan Eastwood and stick with the XI that beat the Netherlands by 70 runs in the first game.
Recording a 2-0 series win is important to Ireland as the Netherlands are now on the official ODI ranking ladder after beating Bangladesh earlier this summer.