Thursday 19 April 2018

Cricket: Eastwood earns Ireland call-up for one-day clash

ALLAN EASTWOOD has been rewarded for his superb Ireland debut last week with a call-up to the one-day international squad for today’s clash with the Netherlands at Clontarf.

Even if the 30-year-old Pembroke seam bowler has to wait until the second game in the RSA Series on Wednesday to make his bow, his belated elevation must be an inspiration to other long-serving club cricketers in Dublin.

Called up due to injuries, county demands and Ireland’s patience running out with seemingly more talented bowlers, Eastwood took his chance in a big InterContinental Cup victory over the Netherlands.

On the Rathmines ground where he coincidentally made his club debut a decade ago, the rangy right-armer grabbed his first senior wicket in the Dutch first innings and then an excellent 4-62 second time around.

Most impressive was the bounce and away movement he found at a lively pace – a combination that upsets the very best of batsmen.

Ireland may need something similar at Castle Avenue today against a Dutch team that will be strengthened from last week by the addition of Tom Cooper and Baz Zuiderent.

Cooper, a hard-hitting Australianborn batsman, was voted the Player of the Tournament at last month’s World League Division One event and Zuiderent will add experience. Ireland coach Phil Simmons is not concerned that his side is unable to call on the services of William Porterfield and Boyd Rankin, who will remain with their county sides.

With Niall O’Brien and Andre Botha still recovering from injuries, it will again be a weakened Ireland team contesting two important matches with ODI ranking points at stake.

Simmons said: “We play our oneday cricket in a certain way and with the players we have available. It would be nice to have a full-strength team but there are usually faces missing for one reason or another and we have to get on with that.

“We didn’t have the county players for the World League and we still won it, so we have the depth there.” Simmons gave Eastwood encouragement by admitting that there are still places up for grabs in his squad for the World Cup in February and March, with only “10 or 11 certainties” at this stage.

Ireland have made two changes to their IC Cup starting 11, with batsman Andy Poynter replacing the out-oftouch James Hall, and medium-pacer Nigel Jones added to the group.

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