William Porterfield is available to lead Ireland in the team’s first match since qualifying for the World Cup finals.
The opening batsman, who led Ireland to glory in South Africa, is not required by his county, Gloucestershire, on Sunday so will captain the team in the homecoming match, the first Friends Provident tie of the summer against Worcestershire at Stormont (10.45am start).
However, Porterfield is the only county player available with Boyd Rankin and Eoin Morgan both playing in the current round of championship games and wicket-keepers Gary Wilson and Niall O’Brien will be action for Surrey and Northamptonshire respectively on Sunday.
So, there is a recall to the squad for new Malahide Development Officer Fintan McAllister, who played in the final two FPT games last season, while Reinhardt Strydom and Paul Stirling, reserves for the South African adventure and who both batted in the top three in all last season’s games against the counties, were other obvious replacements.
In all, nine of the team on duty at the World Cup qualifying tournament will be in Belfast on Sunday, including opening bowler Phil Eaglestone, who flew out for the Super Eights, as a replacement for Andre Botha.
Apart from the injured Botha, the other two missing are Trent Johnston (hamstring) and Alex Cusack (ankle) who played in this week’s final while carrying knocks.
Cusack hopes to be available for the double header the weekend after next, away to Leicestershire and Nottinghamshire.
James Hall, the 20 year old Waringstown opening batsman, who averaged 21 in his three FPT games last season, completes the 13-man squad for Sunday.
The big boost for Ireland, however is Porterfield’s inclusion and the in-form batsman does not expect his appearance to be a one-off.
“I reckon I’ll be wearing the green of Ireland for most of the summer, and I’ll be looking to post a few scores.
“We’ve got a lot of talent in the squad, and I’m confident that we can get some positive results during the campaign.”
Admission on Sunday is £10 and £6 for OAPs with accompanied children free.
Meanwhile, it was also confirmed yesterday that Adrian Birrell, Ireland’s coach at the last World Cup, is back in a consultancy role for Cricket Ireland.
He will assist his successor Phil Simmons, in preparing the ‘A’ squad and, indeed, he took the squad in a training session at North County last weekend.
Team: W Porterfield (captain), P Connell, P Eaglestone, J Hall, F McAllister, K McCallan, J Mooney, K O’Brien, A Poynter, P Stirling, R Strydom, R West, A White.