Thursday 26 April 2018

Cricket: Missing stars give Simmons chance to try out new blood

Gerard Hughes

IRELAND coach Phil Simmons will be without star trio William Porterfield, Niall O'Brien and Boyd Rankin for next week's game against West Indies 'A' at Stormont, as well as the World League Division 1 clash in the Netherlands next month.

English county commitments mean that the three were not in the panel announced yesterday, while Gary Kidd and Peter Connell are both omitted from the squad for Thursday's RSA Challenge one-day international against Australia at Clontarf on Thursday.

Off spinning all-rounder Albert van der Merwe from The Hills is included in the senior squad for the first time, as is Bready and Sussex fast bowler Craig Young. Andrew Poynter is also drafted into both squads following his impressive start to the season for both his club and Ireland 'A'.

"The county players have one and four-day games over the period, so we have to plan without them," said Simmons. "It's always a balancing act with the counties and we've got bigger games ahead. The Bangladesh games are vital in terms of ranking points, and in testing ourselves against teams who are above us at the minute. It'll also give us a chance to try out new players.

"We're looking at alternatives in the bowling. The quick bowling is our weakest area, so it's a chance for us to try out Craig Young, to see what he can do, and also Phil Eaglestone, who has been on the periphery now for a few seasons.

"In the spin department, Albert van der Merwe has started the season well with his club, so he'll get his opportunity. It'll be a chance too for me to see Rory McCann with Niall (O'Brien) unavailable."

The women's squad to play world champions England, New Zealand and MCC in England next month was also named yesterday.

Coach Paul Delany said of the squad: "The team is built around the experience of sisters Heather and Jill Whelan who will open the bowling."

Irish Independent

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