Tuesday 20 March 2018

Johnston set to return for key qualifiers


David Townsend

TRENT Johnston has been declared fit for next week's one-day internationals against Canada, but the former Ireland captain misses the InterContinental Cup clash between the sides that starts today in Rathmines.

Johnston was injured before last month's England match and, with the International Cricket Council confirming yesterday that the two ODIs against Canada will count towards 2015 World Cup qualification, the big man's knee will not be risked over four days.

Kevin O'Brien and Paul Stirling were also absent from last night's team meeting, but only because they were at an awards dinner in London, and will fly to Dublin in time for the 10.30 start.

After wrapping up a maximum points victory over Namibia in their first qualifier last week, Ireland will be looking to claim top spot in the eight-nation tournament they won three times between 2005 and 2008.

Coach Phil Simmons is likely to make at least one change to the side that beat Namibia by five wickets by turning to Albert van der Merwe in place of one of his seam bowlers. The Hills off-spinner took six wickets against the Netherlands at the same venue last year.

With the quartet of county regulars again unavailable, Kevin O'Brien will lead the team and Belfast youngster James Shannon, an impressive performer at U-19 level, could make his debut.

All the county players will be available next week, though, and Simmons has named his World Cup squad -- minus the retired Andre Botha -- for the two ODIs at Clontarf.

IRELAND (v CANADA, IC CUP) -- K O'Brien (cpt) (Railway Union), A Cusack (Clontarf), G Dockrell (Somerset), P Eaglestone (Strabane), G McCarter (Gloucestershire), J Mooney (North County), A Poynter (Clontarf), S Poynter (wkt) (Clontarf), J Shannon (Instonians), P Stirling (Middlesex), A van der Merwe (YMCA), A White (Instonians), G Wilson (Surrey).

Irish Independent

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