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Ireland won't be overawed by Lord's Test, says White


Big day: Mark Adair looks certain to make his Test debut against England at Lord’s
Big day: Mark Adair looks certain to make his Test debut against England at Lord’s

By Ian Callender

There will be at least one Test debutant when Ireland face England in the four-day match at Lord's this month.

Mark Adair, after taking 15 wickets in his first nine one-day internationals, is the obvious choice to make his first Test appearance in the historic match at the Home of Cricket, which starts on July 24, with Lorcan Tucker, Simi Singh and Craig Young the other non-Test players named in the 14-man squad yesterday.

The squad will play a two-day warm-up game against Middlesex 2nd XI at Merchant's Taylor School in north London on Thursday and Friday next week at the start of a week-long build-up to the match, with the squad travelling to England immediately after the Twenty20 series against Zimbabwe concludes on Sunday.

Captain William Porterfield, Tim Murtagh and Stuart Thompson, three of the six who have played in Ireland's first two Tests, are not involved in the shortest format, but T20 captain Gary Wilson, Andrew Balbirnie, Kevin O'Brien, Boyd Rankin, Paul Stirling, Tucker, Young and Adair will all head from Bready straight to England.

It is a first inclusion in a Test match squad for Young, who has impressed for North Down in his first season in the NCU after moving from North West champions Bready, but he hasn't played a multi-day game for Ireland since September 2016 when he took two wickets in 33 overs in the Intercontinental Cup victory over Hong Kong at Stormont.

Tucker made his Irish debut in the T20 international against Hong Kong immediately following the I-Cup game, and his first 12 games for Ireland have been exclusively white-ball, while Singh has played only two red-ball games in green, back in 2017 when he starred with the bat rather than the ball, hitting 59 in the second innings of the victory against Scotland in Dubai.

He bowled 19 overs in his first game against the Netherlands at Malahide, taking two wickets, but was dismissed for a pair.

There is certain to be a third wicket-keeper in three Test matches because Niall O'Brien, who has since retired, had the gloves for the first match against Pakistan at Malahide last year and Stuart Poynter, who took over behind the stumps against Afghanistan in Dehradun in March, is not in the squad for Lord's.

Wilson, who played as a specialist batsman in the inaugural Test and missed the second one with an eye problem, is favourite to play what would be his 275th match for Ireland behind the stumps, although Tucker was the man in possession for the one-day international series against Zimbabwe and impressed with the bat, averaging 43 in the three matches.

As well as Poynter, slow bowlers George Dockrell and James Cameron-Dow are the other players who featured in Dehradun but are left out this time, while Tyrone Kane also misses out after his surprise Test debut last year.

James McCollum and McBrine, who made their Test debuts against Afghanistan, retain their places, while Rankin, relegated to 12th man because of the slow pitch in India, is almost certain to return at Lord's.

Whatever the final XI - and next week's action and the Lord's pitch will have a say in the selection - chairman of selectors Andrew White insists the players will not be overawed by the occasion.

"I think we demonstrated the fight and talent we possess in the recent ODI against England at Malahide and I expect the players will look to be just as competitive in the Test arena," said White.

The build-up to the Test match means Adair and Wilson will miss the Gallagher Challenge Cup semi-final between their respective clubs, CIYMS and Civil Service North, to be played on Saturday, July 20.

In last night's draw, Instonians' reward for knocking out holders Waringstown is a home game against Muckamore.

Semi-final draw: Instonians v Muckamore, CIYMS v Civil Service North.

Ireland squad: William Porterfield (capt), Mark Adair, Andrew Balbirnie, Andrew McBrine, James McCollum, Tim Murtagh, Kevin O’Brien, Boyd Rankin, Simi Singh, Paul Stirling, Stuart Thompson, Lorcan Tucker, Gary Wilson, Craig Young

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