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Cricket's Poynter and Balbirnie are looking to seize chance

By Ian Callender

Six months out from the World Cup, there appears to be only 19 players in with a chance of going to the finals.

Ireland yesterday named a squad of 13 for the three-match ODI series next month against Scotland at Malahide which does not include six of the county professionals who will be certainties for Australia/New Zealand.

Captain William Porterfield, Paul Stirling, Ed Joyce, Niall O'Brien, Gary Wilson and Tim Murtagh are all unavailable to face the Scots but George Dockrell, who has not been a regular in the Somerset team, is included along with Durham's Stuart Poynter and Middlesex's Andrew Balbirnie.

The latter two remain outsiders to make the final cut of 15 but one of them now seems sure to go Down Under for the pre-World Cup tour, which leaves on September 23, just 11 days after the final game against Scotland.

Poynter scored 109 in last month's one-day game against a strong Sri Lanka A side at Stormont and Balbirnie made 37 in the same match, after impressing for Ireland A this year.

The other players to keep their place from what was, in all but name, a second-string Ireland team last month are Andrew Poynter, John Anderson, Andy McBrine, Craig Young and 228-times capped Andrew White.

But left out, with their World Cup hopes all but gone, are Chris Dougherty, Nick Larkin, Eddie Richardson and Peter Chase.

In Porterfield's absence, Kevin O'Brien, back from the Caribbean Premier League, will captain the team against Scotland while, as expected Max Sorensen and John Mooney return, the latter for his first game since he returned home early because of stress from the West Indies in January.

Ireland squad: K O'Brien, J Anderson, A Balbirnie, G Dockrell, J Mooney, A McBrine, G McCarter, A Poynter, S Poynter, M Sorensen, S Thompson, A White, C Young. Games on September 8, 10 and 12.

Belfast Telegraph

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