Belfast Telegraph

Monday 22 September 2014

Ireland's shadow squad has been handed a tour chance

Opportunity knocks: Andrew Poynter

It cannot have happened too often that the players not selected for an Ireland international have more to feel good about than those whore are chosen. When the Irish team faces Sri Lanka A in the first of three one-day games at Stormont tomorrow (10.45am, free entry) that will be the case.

Max Sorensen and John Mooney have been told to sit this series out and that can only mean their places for the first winter tour to Australia and New Zealand, six months out from the World Cup finals, are already secure.

It is understood that a party of 17, or possibly 18, will make the journey Down Under for a four-week trip, beginning at the end of September – confirmation of dates and the opposition are due shortly from ICC.

And it is the players involved in the matches tomorrow and Friday, again at Stormont, and on Sunday at Coleraine, who are chasing places on the plane to join the 10 first-choice names who are missing this week.

Apart from Sorensen and Mooney, seven of the team that played in the one-day international, against the full Sri Lankan team in May, have been retained by their counties and in addition to that Kevin O'Brien is currently abroad, strutting his stuff for Trinidad in the Caribbean Premier League.

So, today Andrew Poynter – who is surely the 11th name assured of the trip next week – captains the Ireland team for the first time, although it is in all but name an Ireland A squad – eight of them played in the team with that status against the MCC, 11 days ago.

With three uncapped players in Ireland's 13-man squad for tomorrow's game, there is certain to be one new cap with CI captain Chris Dougherty possibly nudging ahead in the pecking order after his 80 not out against the MCC, although Nick Larkin, who was next man in that day, didn't get a chance to bat and he could win the call.

With no fewer than eight of the capped players more than capable bowlers, it is likely that Malahide's Peter Chase will have to wait a little longer for his debut, especially as he bowled 17 wides in the Leinster Senior Cup final at the weekend.

It should be a big day for Andrew White, however. If he plays it will be his 227th Ireland game, making him Ireland's most capped player.

Ireland: A Poynter (capt), J Anderson, A Balbirnie, P Chase, C Dougherty, N Larkin, A McBrine, G McCarter, S Poynter, E Richardson, S Thompson, A White, C Young.

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