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George Dockrell back in Ireland squad as they prepare to host Hong Kong

By Richard Bullick

Spinner George Dockrell has been recalled to the Ireland squad which will continue its push to reach the promised land of Test cricket at Stormont next week.

The notion of joining the elite might feel far-fetched in the wake of last Thursday's thrashing from Pakistan, but Ireland's record in the ICC InterContinental Cup is outstanding.

In contrast to last week, William Porterfield's men will be the big boys when they host Hong Kong from Tuesday to Friday in a competition which has the carrot of a play-off for Test status.

Slow left armer Dockrell has played an important part in Ireland's previous successes in the tournament and comes in for Stuart Poynter in the only change to the squad for the Pakistan series.

Ireland had hoped for a quick chance to get back on the horse after being bowled out for 82 chasing 338 in the opening game but the weather had other ideas.

Saturday's second ODI at Malahide had to be abandoned without a ball being bowled though the fact everyone had to hang around until mid-afternoon merely added to the feeling of frustration.

The men in green could have done with getting an improved performance before facing Hong Kong and then two tough games overseas next month.

They will meet Australia and hosts South Africa in two ODIs in Benoni, a daunting prospect following beatings by both Sri Lanka and Pakistan this summer.

For that series, Dockrell will join the 13 who were on duty against Pakistan, and chairman of selectors Alan Lewis has expressed confidence in the present players.

"It was a disappointing performance against Pakistan but we feel this group deserve another opportunity and will respond positively to what will be a stern challenge in Benoni," he said.

Before then Ireland will give their full focus to the InterContinental Cup clash having won their opening three matches to lie a point behind Afghanistan.

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