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Test places up for grabs in inter-pro battles



Clear aim: Andy McBrine is out to defend his Ireland place

Clear aim: Andy McBrine is out to defend his Ireland place

©INPHO/Presseye/Rowland White

Clear aim: Andy McBrine is out to defend his Ireland place

Ireland coach Graham Ford insisted recently there are still places available in next week's Test match squad when Leinster Lightning and North West Warriors square up over the next three days in the opening first class match of the season.

No fewer than 17 internationals will be involved and, while only six of them are certain starters at Malahide on Friday week, at least five others will still hope to make the 13 which will be named this Friday morning.

Ironically, the two captains could be playing for one slot with Andy McBrine up against George Dockrell and, while Warriors skipper McBrine is the man in possession, Dockrell's batting continues to be missed at international level. Indeed, it has improved so much in the past 12 months that he could almost be considered as a specialist No.7 with his bowling a bonus.

Gary Wilson is currently holding down that place - and will be rewarded for his 13-year career with his 254th cap in the Test match. Yesterday he batted for more than three hours for Derbyshire, finishing 64 not out.

Simi Singh is the other slow bowler in contention, although he has bowled only 20 overs in two red-ball matches for Ireland, but if he impresses this week for Lightning it could be enough.

In another shoot-out for Test selection, Warriors' Craig Young will be up against Peter Chase and there is probably only room for one, with Boyd Rankin - making his first appearance for Warriors today since 2003 - Tim Murtagh and Barry McCarthy certain to be included.

Belfast Telegraph