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Double delight for Kyle McCallan

By Ian Callender

Kyle McCallan may have retired from the international team four years ago, but Ireland's most-capped player is still picking up awards at club level.

The Waringstown captain was a double winner at the Northern Cricket Union's Annual Dinner when he picked up the awards for bowling and all-rounder of the season, while the player just one game short of equalling McCallan's record number of appearances for Ireland, Andrew White, received the best batsman trophy.

Fittingly, the guest speaker at the dinner, and who presented McCallan and White with their awards, was Trent Johnston, their former captain at international level and who has announced he will follow McCallan into retirement at the end of the year.

Johnston's final match will be the Intercontinental Cup final in Dubai from December 10-14, a game which will take place at the Global Academy Ground, rather than the main stadium which will be hosting two Twenty20 internationals between Pakistan and Sri Lanka.

First up for Ireland in their busy winter is the World Twenty20 qualifying tournament which will now finish in Abu Dhabi.

The original schedule had the final stages of the tournament taking place in Dubai, but yesterday the ICC confirmed that both semi-finals, a double header on Friday November 29, and the final the following day, under the lights starting at 6pm local time, will take place in the UAE capital.

That is good news for Ireland, who will be based in Abu Dhabi for the duration of the three-week event. Apart from their second warm-up game against Papua New Guinea on November 13, which will take place in Dubai, all seven of Ireland's group games are in Abu Dhabi, five of them in the main Sheik Zayed stadium which also hosts four play-off games as well as the last four games.

If Ireland win their group, they will automatically qualify for a fourth successive World Twenty20, to be held in Bangladesh next March, and have a five-day break before the semi-finals.

If they finish only second they must negotiate a quarter-final, but with six of the 16 teams qualifying for the finals that should be a formality.

Belfast Telegraph


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