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Max Sorensen in cold for Ireland's World tilt

By Ian Callender

There was always going to be one high-profile absentee from Ireland's World Cup XV and Max Sorensen, despite playing all but 20 of Ireland's 73 games since his debut in 2012, is the player set to miss out.

Although Cricket Ireland have named the squad as the party for four one-day internationals during a two-week training camp in Dubai next month, only injury will force the selectors to change the squad for the finals in Australia and New Zealand, which start on February 14.

The World Cup squad will be formally announced after its submission to the International Cricket Council on January 6, but as the first of the ODIs against Scotland and Afghanistan will not start until later in the month, Sorensen, along with Andrew Poynter and Graeme McCarter know they have missed out.

The beginning of the end of Sorensen's World Cup dream was on September 12 when, fielding a ball off his own bowling, he broke a bone in his wrist and missed the World Cup acclimatisation tour 10 days later.

The Hills opening bowler was given only one match on last month's trip to Dubai, against New Zealand A, and figures of six wicketless overs for 50 runs seems to have decided his fate.

If it was a shoot-out, then Peter Chase, the 21-year-old Durham seamer, won it with figures of three for 38 in the same match and will be one of six players going to their first World Cup with Phil Simmons' panel.

The others are Tim Murtagh, Stuart Thompson, Andrew Balbirnie, Andrew McBrine and Craig Young.

Sorensen actually has a better bowling record for Ireland in ODIs than Murtagh (12 wickets at 22 at a strike rate of 30, compared to nine wickets at 37 and strike rate of 48) but 14 years of experience in county cricket has won selection for the 33-year-old seamer.

Thompson was always a favourite to make the trip but after just 24 runs in his last eight innings, his place also came under discussion at this week's selection meeting, especially as the Eglinton all-rounder is now bowling less and less for Ireland. But on the premise that a batsman is only one innings away from a return to form, the 23-year-old has been backed.

Balbirnie, just eight months older, and Young, the 24-year-old Bready opening bowler, had booked their places with impressive performances on the acclimatisation tour and the Middlesex batsman followed up with a maiden international century in Dubai.

McBrine, the Donemana slow bowler and North West Warriors captain, also did enough Down Under in October to deny Ireland's most capped player, Andrew White, a third ICC World Cup appearance - White another disastrously-timed injury victim after breaking a finger taking a return catch from his first ball in Australia. He did not get another chance.

It leaves four survivors from Ireland's first World Cup campaign in the West Indies, when they famously launched their arrival on the big stage with victory over Pakistan - William Porterfield, captain for a second successive World Cup, Niall and Kevin O'Brien and John Mooney, along with Ed Joyce, who played for England in 2007.

Cricket Ireland have already indicated that three other players will be based in Australia and playing club cricket to be on stand-by throughout the World Cup and Sorensen, Poynter and McCarter are the likely trio. But today that will be scant consolation.

Squad: W Porterfield (capt), A Balbirnie, P Chase, A Cusack, G Dockrell, E Joyce, A McBrine, J Mooney, T Murtagh, K O'Brien, N O'Brien, P Stirling, S Thompson, G Wilson, C Young

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