Tector in line for debut as Ireland defend Stirling decision
While Jack Tector waits to see whether he will be winning his first international cap against the Netherlands at Malahide today, Cricket Ireland have found themselves having to defend their handling of the player he replaced in the InterContinental Cup squad.
Eyebrows were raised last week when regular opener Paul Stirling played two T20 matches for Middlesex after being left out of Ireland's line-up for the four-day, first-class game, which falls in the 'automatic release' category of ICC competitions.
Ireland say that Stirling's recovery from a calf injury might be put in jeopardy by the rigours of the longer game but his omission has been made easier now that the carrot of Test cricket, that had been on offer to the winners of the IC Cup, has already been eaten.
"Paul is progressing well from his recent injury," a Cricket Ireland statement said, ahead of their first game since being awarded Test-match status, along with Afghanistan.
"It is hoped he will build up his workloads over the coming weeks and return to full fitness for all formats. We have been in regular contact with Middlesex and both parties agree that this represents the best method for him to make a full recovery."
Ireland have won four of the last five editions of the IC Cup and, trailing Afghanistan by one point with two to play, would dearly love to win another, but with the pressure off this would also be a good time to blood a youngster like former U-19 captain Tector.
The eldest of three brothers to have represented Ireland at age levels, the 20-year-old YMCA batsman has been impressive in red-ball cricket for Leinster Lightning and if his chance doesn't come this week, being around the senior side will still be useful experience.
IRELAND (from): William Porterfield (captain), John Anderson, Andrew Balbirnie, Peter Chase, Ed Joyce, Barry McCarthy, Jacob Mulder, Tim Murtagh, Kevin O'Brien, Boyd Rankin, Simi Singh, Nathan Smith, Jack Tector, Gary Wilson.