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Ireland rocked by Sorensen and Stirling double injury

By Ian Callender

On the day that Max Sorensen was ruled out of Ireland's pre-World Cup tour to Australia and New Zealand, Cricket Ireland also revealed that Paul Stirling is suffering from a back injury and is set to miss at least part of the tour.

Stirling, Ireland's exciting opening batsman, missed Middlesex's county championship match this week and is to see a specialist to determine the seriousness of the injury.

He was not due to travel with the majority of the squad, which leaves on Tuesday – one of the five county professionals due to be involved in championship action next week – but now his recovery from a persistent back problem and any participation in the tour will be, in the words of Cricket Ireland, "monitored in the coming weeks".

CI will be hoping it is not serious and, indeed, Stirling was named in a squad of 13 by Middlesex for this week's championship match but the fact he has been referred to a specialist is a concern not just for the upcoming tour, where Ireland will play eight games, but for the World Cup finals, now less than five months away.

At this stage, there are no plans to replace Stirling but the World Cup door has opened for Graeme McCarter, the Gloucestershire and former Fox Lodge bowler, who has been called into the squad to replace Sorensen.

McCarter, along with John Anderson the only two players involved in last week's one-day international series against Scotland who were left out of the month-long tour Down Under, has played only three games for Ireland since his debut in 2011 and last Friday's ODI was his first one-day game; he failed to take a wicket in eight overs which cost 38 runs.

A visit to a specialist this week confirmed that Sorensen, who fell on his follow-through when bowling in Ireland's final ODI at Malahide last week, has a fracture in his right wrist which will keep him out of action for six to eight weeks.

With Alex Cusack, another key seam bowler, recovering from an injury-plagued season, it will be a depleted Ireland attack which will open up the tour. Although travelling in a 13-man squad next week, Cusack is not expected to play any part in the first four games in Australia, two each against the Queensland Bulls and New South Wales 2nd XI.

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