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Injury blow for bowler Tim Murtagh

By Ian Callender

Three days after Ireland announced their World Cup 15, their most experienced pace bowler, Tim Murtagh, has been ruled out of the Tri-Series in Dubai against Afghanistan and Scotland.

The 33-year-old Middlesex professional is on his way back to London for assessment of a foot injury he sustained in training yesterday.

It is too early to say if he will be ruled out of the World Cup - Ireland's first game is on February 16 - but not only is it serious enough for him to miss all four games over the next 10 days but specialist attention back in England is required.

Because of his county commitments and a niggling injury at the end of the season, Murtagh has missed Ireland's last 14 competitive matches since he took two for 21 from his 10 overs against Sri Lanka in Clontarf at the beginning of May.

No replacement has been called up although there are five pace bowlers, outside the World Cup squad, being used as net bowlers in Dubai, including Max Sorensen, but there are currently no plans to play any of them in the ODIs.

Ireland's first game is tomorrow (10am GMT) against Afghanistan who yesterday crushed Scotland by eight wickets in the first match of the series. The Afghans chased down the Scots total of 237 for eight in 45 overs - fog delayed the start - with seven overs to spare following an opening stand of 121 between Javed Ahmadi and Usman Ghani.

The game tomorrow should see a return to Irish colours for their leading batsman Ed Joyce who, like Murtagh, has not played since the Sri Lanka game.

Belfast Telegraph

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