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Stand-in skipper Gary Wilson is urging Ireland to get up to speed before big Test debut

 

By Ian Callender

Gary Wilson wants to keep a competitive edge to Ireland's four-day game against Somerset, despite the match - which starts this morning at Taunton - not being given first-class status.

Somerset were keen to use 12 players for the pre-season warm-up clash and ground conditions, after a week of rain in the western county, could have impacted on the amount of play which the umpires would have allowed for a first-class fixture.

So with both teams keen to get as much action as possible, Cricket Ireland were happy to agree to their hosts' request and it is now likely that all 13 Irish players will be involved, including the uncapped Jack Tector and James Shannon, who did not play in any of the World Cup qualifying games in Zimbabwe.

But Wilson, stand-in captain for the injured William Porterfield, insists it will not be a practice match.

"It will be our first red-ball action of the season and having used a Kookaburra ball in the Intercontinental Cup games, it will be a chance to get used to the Dukes ball which we will be using in the Test match next month," said Wilson.

"But we want a competitive edge to the match, it's an opportunity for the batsmen to spend time in the middle and the bowlers to get overs under their belts. We will be trying to win the game against quality county opposition."

With Tim Murtagh recalled by Middlesex, Ireland will have only four county regulars this weekend - Paul Stirling, Boyd Rankin, Barry McCarthy and Wilson - with the home-based players relying on one inter-provincial match before they are plunged into their inaugural Test against Pakistan on May 11.

Belfast Telegraph

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