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Patient Craig Young out to seize chance against Australia for Ireland at Stormont

Craig ready for belated crack at a full member nation

By Ian Callender

When Craig Young says we have had this conversation a dozen times before, it is an exaggeration but you can feel his pain.

The Bready pace man was supposed to play his first game against a Full Member nation at the World Cup in February - but he wasn't selected for any of Ireland's six games. It was then supposed to be against England at Malahide in May - but the game was rained off before Ireland got a chance to bowl.

So it is take three tomorrow at Stormont (10.45am) for the 25-year-old and this time it is Australia, the world champions, who are the opponents - a case of third time lucky and definitely one worth waiting for.

"It can be a bit daunting but I think I am past that and looking forward to rocking up and bowling to (David) Warner, (Steve) Smith and co," said Young. "They are always going to be a strong squad. You can understand Mitchell Johnson being rested but they still have Mitchell Starc, James Pattinson and Pat Cummins.

"It will be difficult but these are the sort of games we want as cricketers and hopefully the weather stays good and we put on a great show. The stands are up at Stormont and the place is looking great."

Young was talking ahead of Ireland's first practice session and the chance to meet up again with all the county professionals, including Tim Murtagh and former Sussex team-mate Ed Joyce, who have retired from Twenty20 internationals but remain two key players in the 50-over game.

"It is great to have the likes of Murts and Joyce back, they have so much experience and after a few good conversations you can tap into that," he continued.

"Joyce has always been good at that, the first to talk to me, perhaps me being a little bit shy he has made it a lot easier. And John (Bracewell, the coach) is always encouraging us to talk cricket to each other."

When Australia were last here in 2012, Young was watching on television, still 15 months away from his first Ireland cap, but tomorrow will not be the first time he has seen the Aussies up close.

"I was at the ground in Belfast which is no longer used (Ormeau) in 2001. That game was ruined by the weather. I remember queuing up for Brett Lee's autograph. Ricky Ponting, (Glenn) McGrath and (Shane) Warne were there but I didn't get his autograph.

"I was sitting side-on watching the Irish bowlers and saying this is quick. Now, hopefully, I'll be doing the same on Thursday."

The then 11-year-old was playing for Bready boys and dreaming of representing Ireland and even county cricket.

"Ever since I picked up a ball the Ireland thing was there, the county thing was there," said Young. "Joyce was already across, I remember thinking if you are good enough you go across.

"Then (Eoin) Morgan went then Boyd (Rankin, another former Bready old boy) went across and when Boyd came back with the Middlesex helmet, I said that's what I want."

Unfortunately, Young's three years with Sussex were blighted by injury so when Cricket Ireland offered him a full-time contract back home, he jumped at the chance.

"Deep down, all I wanted to do was play for Ireland. And although I have played only 21 games in two years (out of a possible 52), it's nice to be around the squad and rubbing shoulders with these guys on a regular basis. It numbs the pain of not playing," he said.

If Young takes a few big scalps tomorrow, it could kick-start a long Ireland career.

CRICKET Ireland yesterday announced four ODIs for next summer and, for the first time, both touring teams to England will be travelling across the Irish Sea for a two game-series.

Sri Lanka will play Ireland on Thursday June 16 and Saturday June 18, immediately after their Test series and ahead of the ODIs against England, and Pakistan have agreed to the same schedule with their games confirmed for August 18 and 20.

It will be a second visit in three years by Pakistan - last time Paul Stirling and Joyce scored centuries in a 1-0 series win for the tourists, the first game ending in a tie - and Sri Lanka played in Dublin last year, winning the only game to beat the weather by 79 runs.

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