Ireland have only one 50-over warm-up match before they face West Indies in the first of three World Super League games in Jamaica on Saturday but it promises to be a shoot-out for the spare opening batting spot.
With Paul Stirling forced to isolate in Florida for 10 days, having tested positive for Covid, he will miss the one-day international and interim coach David Ripley has suggested that captain Andrew Balbirnie is not the automatic replacement to walk out with William Porterfield at the start of the innings.
Balbirnie, certainly prefers batting at No 3, from where he shared a double-century match-winning partnership with Stirling against world champions England in 2019, and Ripley said at the weekend “we (may) pick someone maybe outside the box to go in at the top – we do have several options”.
‘Several options’ might be exaggerating a little but Simi Singh, who opened for Leinster Lightning with success in the T20 Trophy last year, is a definite option and would be the most likely alternative, with Andy McBrine and Lorcan Tucker, who hit two 50s in the T20 series against the USA, the other possibles.
The warm-up game has been confirmed for Wednesday against the Jamaican Scorpions, starting at 2.30pm GMT.
Meanwhile, it may have been a dead rubber for the Ireland Under 19s in Barbados yesterday but they crushed Zimbabwe in the last of their four-match series by 117 runs.
The Africans had won the series – a warm-up ahead of the Under-19 World Cup in West Indies which begins at the end of next week – with a four wickets win on Saturday and gave a few of their reserve players an opportunity in the final game.
Ireland took full advantage, scoring 196 for eight and then dismissed the Zimbabweans for 79.
Reuben Wilson was the star bowler, taking four wickets in his first spell as Zimbabwe collapsed to 28 for eight and, fittingly it needed Wilson to return and take the final wicket after a stand of 41.
For the fourth game running, captain Tim Tector was top scorer but this time five other players also reached double figures.
SCORES: Saturday – Ireland U19s 118 (38.5 overs, T Tector 37, J Cox 29) Zimbabwe U19s 120-6 (30.2 overs, N McGuire 2-17, J Forbes 2-24). Zimbabwe won by 4 wickets.
Yesterday – Ireland U19s 196-8 (46 overs, T Tector 53, D Vincent 44, J Cox 29) Zimbabwe U19s 79 (31 overs, R Wilson 5-21, N McGuire 3-20, M Humphreys 2-21). Ireland won by 117 runs.