Cricket Ireland's succession planning will continue apace next year with the names of the 18 full-time contracts awarded announced yesterday - and the emphasis is on pace bowling.
David Delany, Josh Little and Curtis Campher have earned their first full-time senior contracts but the big loser is Boyd Rankin, whose international career would appear to be over after 153 appearances - his first way back in 2003.
Rankin (36) has been one of the first names on the Ireland team sheet since he returned from his four-year break with England, and although troubled by injury for long parts of his career, he missed only seven of Ireland's 39 internationals across all three formats last year and played two ODIs against West Indies in January and two T20Is against Afghanistan in March.
But injury ruled him out of the three ODIs in England in July and with Delany (22), potentially the fastest bowler in Ireland, Little (20), who has taken nine wickets in his three ODIs against England, and Campher (21), who made such an instant impression on his debut in Southampton, national coach Graham Ford and the selectors feel the next cabs are ready to come off the ranks.
Significantly, Peter Chase, yet another opening bowler, is also back on the full-time list, having lost his contract last year.
Three of the old guard retain their full-time contracts, former captain William Porterfield (36), despite losing his place against England this year to 20-year-old Harry Tector, Kevin O'Brien (36) and former T20 captain Gary Wilson (34), although that is as much down to a shortage of replacements with Lorcan Tucker, the only other wicket-keeper in the 18, still to nail down his place.
Stuart Thompson and Tyrone Kane, who played in Ireland's first Test in 2018, are the others not to have been offered contracts while George Dockrell and Shane Getkate are both on the new Retainer (formerly Emerging) contracts.
All contracts take effect from January 1 and go through to February 28, 2022.
Full-time contracted players: M Adair, A Balbirnie, C Campher, P Chase, D Delany, G Delany, J Little, A McBrine, B McCarthy, J McCollum, K O'Brien, W Porterfield, S Singh, P Stirling, H Tector, L Tucker, G Wilson, C Young.
Retainer contracts: G Dockrell, S Getkate.