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Balbirnie is backing new boy Campher to flourish

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Big chance: Curtis Campher may make his Ireland debut

Big chance: Curtis Campher may make his Ireland debut

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Andrew Balbirnie

Andrew Balbirnie

Getty Images

Big chance: Curtis Campher may make his Ireland debut

Curtis Campher is in line to make his Ireland debut in the first one-day international against world champions England at the Ageas Bowl tomorrow (2pm).

The 21-year-old South African Irish passport holder was yesterday named in the match day squad of 14 which does not include Mark Adair, the leading wicket-taker in 2019.

Adair, who underwent ankle surgery during the winter, proved his fitness in Sunday's game against England Lions. But after bowling eight overs for figures of 2-74, chairman of selectors Andrew White said: "He was not yet back to the level that we need him for international cricket. We need to recognise that was his first competitive outing since the Caribbean in January."

That opens the door for Campher to take the all-rounder's spot in the team and captain Andrew Balbirnie yesterday backed him to do well if he makes the starting XI.

"It's not been easy for him, coming over with no cricket to showcase his skills and show what he can offer," said the captain. "But myself and Fordy (coach Graham Ford) have been impressed with his skills with the ball, he is aggressive and gives us something else.

"He has tested me every time I have faced him in the nets and he is certainly up for the battle and will relish the challenge if he gets the opportunity."

The selectors have chosen what they describe as a "dynamic" 14-man squad and that could spell trouble for former captain William Porterfield, who scored 32 against the Lions but at a strike rate of only 66.

With Gareth Delany and Paul Stirling set to open the batting and the skipper at first wicket down, someone is going to have to make way if, as expected, Ireland play both Simi Singh and Andy McBrine with Boyd Rankin and the other new-ball bowler bringing up the rear.

Harry Tector is certain to make his ODI debut and, in form after a 48-ball half century against the Lions, he can be promoted to No.4 with Kevin O'Brien and Lorcan Tucker, who keeps the wicket-keeping gloves in 50-over cricket, completing the top six and allowing Campher to fit in at No.7.

With the slow bowling more economical than pace on Sunday, Ireland are again likely to choose just three swing/seam bowlers, with only one of left-armer Josh Little, Barry McCarthy and Craig Young set to get the nod. The 'tail' would be too long if two of them plus Rankin were involved.

The fact that Campher has been selected ahead of Tyrone Kane, who has played a Test match, and Stuart Thompson, with 83 Ireland caps, shows how highly rated he is by coach Ford.

His South African counterpart said it looked like Campher was playing in a World Cup final, such was his enthusiasm in the intra-squad game last week - his first match with the seniors after impressing for Ireland Wolves against Namibia back in February. "He showed he is a proper cricketer," added Ford.

The match day 14 is only for the opener with the selectors taking advantage of 22 players being locked in the bio-secure ground for the duration of the trip, and keeping all options open for the remaining day/night games on Saturday and Tuesday.

Meanwhile, yesterday's North West intra-squad pathway game went the same way as Monday's NCU match, abandoned because of a wet ground.

Ireland squad: A Balbirnie (capt), C Campher, G Delany, J Little, A McBrine, B McCarthy, K O'Brien, W Porterfield, B Rankin, S Singh, P Stirling, H Tector, L Tucker, C Young.

Belfast Telegraph