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All-rounder Greg back in fold to face Hong Kong

By Ian Callender

Published 24/08/2016

Long wait: Greg Thompson returns to the Ireland squad after eight years
Long wait: Greg Thompson returns to the Ireland squad after eight years

There are only five survivors from the World Twenty20 squad for Ireland's return to the shortest format when they face Hong Kong at Bready next month.

William Porterfield retains the captaincy but of the rest of the 13-man squad for the games on September 5 and 6, only Kevin O'Brien, George Dockrell, Andy McBrine and Craig Young will bear the scars from the debacle in India in March when Ireland crashed out of the global tournament at the group stage without winning a match.

Among the new faces is, as widely predicted, Waringstown all-rounder Greg Thompson, who is enjoying a wonderful season of club cricket, Instonians batsman James Shannon and opening bat David Rankin who gets the chance to add to his sole international, against Scotland last year, on his home ground.

There are two uncapped players in the squad, the Pembroke Ireland Under-19 pair of left arm quick Josh Little and Lorcan Tucker, a wicket-keeper/batsman who is sure to make his debut as Niall O'Brien, Gary Wilson and Stuart Poynter have all been left out.

The selectors have even lost faith in big-hitting opener Paul Stirling, after scoring just one half century in his last 17 T20 innings, and the experience of his Middlesex team-mate Tim Murtagh has also been discarded and, having failed to take a wicket in his last five T20Is, is another who can have no complaints.

Stuart Thompson, Max Sorensen and Stuart Poynter are the others who were in India but will not be in Bready along with Boyd Rankin, Andrew Balbirnie (both injured) and Andrew Poynter (retired). The selectors had to find a slot for Thompson whose last appearance for Ireland was a week after Ireland's first T20 international, in August 2008.

But after treating the NCU attacks with contempt this season, he could not be ignored while Shannon also returns to the fold; his last game for Ireland was the final of the World T20 qualifying tournament in November 2014.

T20 squad: W Porterfield (capt), P Chase, G Dockrell, J Little, A McBrine, B McCarthy, K O'Brien, D Rankin, J Shannon, S Terry, G Thompson, L Tucker, C Young.

• Play on the first day of the inter-provincial championship decider between Leinster Lightning and North West Warriors at Malahide was abandoned without a ball bowled.

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