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Kane back as Ireland play it safe with Little

 

Big chance: Tyrone Kane is in the Ireland 14 for the ODIs with Afghanistan
Big chance: Tyrone Kane is in the Ireland 14 for the ODIs with Afghanistan

By Ian Callender

Tyrone Kane is set to become the sixth Ireland player this year to receive a one-day international cap after being named in the squad to face Afghanistan at Stormont on Sunday and Tuesday.

The Merrion and Leinster Lightning opening bowler was the surprise selection in Ireland's inaugural Test against Pakistan but has played only one Twenty20 international - against the Afghans last August - in the 12 months since because of injury.

After being selected for the Ireland Wolves tour to Sri Lanka, Kane was pulled out by the medical staff before travelling, with his place going to Mark Adair, who made his Ireland debut against England this month.

Kane (24), who received his first central contract this year, replaces Josh Little in the only change to the 14 on duty for the Tri-Series against Bangladesh and the West Indies, who meet in the final at Malahide today.

Little (19), who also made his ODI debut against Eoin Morgan's side, has been taken out of the squad after reporting some minor back pain and, to ensure he will be ready for the Zimbabwe series in July, he will not bowl for the next four weeks.

Little is Ireland's fastest bowler but still down on speed compared with opposition bowlers faced this summer. As a result, when line and length are not up to standard, the West Indies and Bangladesh batsmen in the last week scored 381 in 50 overs and 294 in 43 overs respectively.

While disappointed at the bowlers' lack of discipline, chairman of selectors Andrew White is looking at the bigger picture.

"What is most important at this stage is to understand their role in the squad, maximise opportunities to play to their strengths and gain greater confidence through playing more games and being within a supportive environment," he said.

And, according to White, the feedback from the newcomers in the side is they are being helped by their experienced team-mates.

"Through seeking out advice or simply being able to observe how the senior lads prepare, the opportunity to have mentors and role models within the squad is immeasurable," added White.

So while James McCollum and Lorcan Tucker are retained in the batting line-up, alongside William Porterfield, Paul Stirling and Andrew Balbirnie, the bowling group retains the experience of Tim Murtagh, Boyd Rankin and George Dockrell to help Adair, Barry McCarthy and, now, Kane.

Meanwhile, Balbirnie has been reprimanded and given one demerit point by ICC for his reaction to his dismissal against Bangladesh on Wednesday.

Television replays showed that Balbirnie did not get a touch to a legside delivery from Abu Jayed but he was still given out.

His frustration was natural, especially having made 135 in the previous game against the West Indies and following two other disappointing dismissals - stumped by England's Ben Foakes and then caught after being hit on the head in the first game against the West Indies.

Ireland squad: W Porterfield, M Adair, A Balbirnie, G Dockrell, T Kane, A McBrine, B McCarthy, J McCollum, T Murtagh, K O'Brien, B Rankin, P Stirling, L Tucker, G Wilson.

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