Murtagh willing to end T20 retirement
Published 10/07/2015 | 02:30
Tim Murtagh is having second thoughts about "retiring" from T20 international cricket and could return to the Ireland team for next year's World T20 finals in India.
The experienced Middlesex seamer made himself unavailable for the qualifying tournament that got underway in Edinburgh yesterday, but unlike fellow retiree Ed Joyce, he may not have played his last game over the shortest distance.
"It's a case of never say never," Murtagh said. "If the opportunity was there and Ireland wanted me, then I'd have to give it serious thought - and I'd probably say yes."
Reading between the lines, the 33-year-old is wary of putting his body on the line in the most frenetic form of the game.
However, having missed this year's World Cup with injury, he is clearly keen to perform on the world stage - and Ireland, who are co-hosting the WT20 qualifiers, are not blessed with alternatives.
Merrion all-rounder Tyrone Kane, who impressed on debut against Scotland last month, is likely to open the bowling against Namibia in Belfast today alongside Craig Young, who was controversially overlooked at the World Cup.
Unless new coach John Bracewell can persuade Boyd Rankin to return to the fold, then Murtagh would be top of his options for the finals in March.
Ireland are probably still the best of the 14 teams vying for six qualifying places over the next 17 days, but will want to reach the final at Malahide on July 26 and retain the trophy they won two years ago.
It will be a surprise if William Porterfield's team don't finish top of a seven-team Group A that also includes Hong Kong, Jersey, Namibia, Nepal, Papua New Guinea and the USA.
The dangers to Ireland, though, lie in Group B where a resurgent Scotland hammered the UAE by nine wickets in the curtain raiser yesterday and neither Afghanistan nor the Netherlands can be discounted.
It is 10 years since the hosts lost the final of the ICC Trophy to Scotland in Dublin; Ireland have had the upper hand in the intervening decade, but don't be surprised if the pendulum swings back.