Belfast Telegraph

Ireland are going to get very familiar with Windies

By Ian Callender

Ireland will still play three Twenty20 internationals against the West Indies in April even though the teams are due meet on the opening day of the World T20 in Guyana on the last day of the month.

Following Ireland’s second place finish at the qualifying tournament in UAE, they are in the same group as West Indies and England with the game against Paul Collingwood’s side taking place on Tuesday, May 4, the day after the two ICC Full Members meet in the other group match.

Although they have missed out on the more attractive destinations of Barbados and St Lucia — Afghanistan’s ‘reward’ for winning the final in Dubai on Saturday — Ireland will play in both holiday islands if they repeat their exploits, of both 2007 in the Caribbean and last year in England, and reach the Super Eight stages of the World T20. All the Super Eight teams will play two games in Barbados and one in St Lucia before the top four go through to the semi-finals, also in St Lucia.

The Irish team played no fewer than 11 T20 games in 14 days in Sri Lanka and the UAE and they are scheduled to play nine more before they face Chris Gayle’s side in their third successive world event.

As well as the three internationals, one scheduled for the Trelawney Stadium and the other two in Sabina Park, in Kingston, Jamaica, Ireland will also face Jamaica during a two-week stay before they head to Florida for a training camp where three more Twenty20 games will be played.

All 12 teams in the World T20 will be given two warm-up games before the action begins in earnest.

The majority of the players who got Ireland to the West Indies can look forward to being selected for the finals with Boyd Rankin the only absentee in the UAE who can expect a call-up.

The giant Warwickshire pace bowler is nursing a sore foot but he will hope to have recovered in plenty of time for Ireland’s departure on April Fool’s Day for what could be another six-week tour.

Waringstown’s Gary Kidd was the only player not to take any part in the qualifying tournament — upstaged by his slow left arm colleague teenager George Dockrell, who took 17 wickets in 10 games on tour — while Phil Eaglestone, who remained with the party despite not being in the official 14-squad seems certain to lose out to Rankin.

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