Randiv hoping to pass ultimate Test in Warriors' title quest
Sri Lanka Test match player Suraj Randiv has been called into the North West Warriors squad for this week's Inter-provincial Championship decider against Leinster Lightning, starting at Malahide this morning (11am).
Randiv, a slow left-arm bowler, is Coleraine's professional and joins Eglinton's Oraine Williams as the second overseas player in the side which also includes four Ireland internationals.
They are still trumped by their hosts who field seven, including Kevin O'Brien, free from his county commitments with Leicestershire, but not his brother Niall, who has also left the Midlands county by mutual consent and was eligible for selection.
Lightning, who also welcome back captain John Anderson after his bout of concussion, go into the game just three points behind leaders Northern Knights and only need to draw the game - the early favourite with rain forecast for today - while taking five Warriors wickets or scoring just 200 runs.
However, a Warriors victory with maximum bonus points would be enough to take the three-day trophy back to the North West for the first time and it is a measure of their improvement that they go into the final game in that position.
Skipper Andy McBrine can be a match-winner with bat or ball in any game and, for the first time in red ball cricket this season, they can call up Craig Young who cites Malahide as his favourite ground in Ireland.
Warriors will also hope that international Stuart Thompson has got his mojo back - the innings defeat in the first game between the teams at Bready proved to be his last before he was forced to take a two-month break from the game. But there is no doubting the form of his West Indian club-mate Williams, who took five wickets and scored 78 runs in Eglinton's latest league victory which took them to the top of the Premiership table.
It is the third Eglinton player in the team who could, ultimately, be the most exciting young prospect to come out of the North West and it will be fascinating to see how young slow left-armer Ross Allen copes against the strongest batting line-up in the championship. His partnership with the experienced Randiv could be key to Warriors', admittedly, outside hopes of clinching the title.
The visitors have had to make one late change with Ballyspallen all-rounder Graham Kennedy, who enjoyed a successful North West Under-17 tour last week, replacing Donemana's Ricky-Lee Dougherty who cannot get off work. Bready's Andrew Austin will keep wicket.
Lightning, though, start hot favourites to complete a second successive hat-trick of inter-provincial titles and even two days' cricket could be enough to complete the season in style.
Leinster Lightning: J Anderson (capt), P Chase, G Dockrell, S Doheny, T Kane, K O'Brien, E Richardson, S Singh, M Sorensen, J Tector, S Terry, L Tucker.
North West Warriors: A McBrine (capt), R Allen, D Scanlon, G Kennedy, O Williams, J Barnes, A Austin, S Randiv, D Rankin, J Robinson, C Young, S Thompson.