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Thompson and Young handed big Ireland chance


Top form: Greg Thompson will feature against Zimbabwe
Top form: Greg Thompson will feature against Zimbabwe

By Ian Callender

Greg Thompson and Craig Young have been given the chance to break into the Ireland squad in time for the T20 World Cup qualifying tournament after being named yesterday for the three-match series against Zimbabwe, starting on July 10.

Waringstown captain Thompson starred for Northern Knights in the T20 Festival weekend, which concluded on Monday, scoring 65 and 37 in his two innings at a strike rate of exactly 200, without being dismissed.

Young, in his first season with North Down, has been selected on the back of his performances for Ireland Wolves in their recent series against Scotland A, when he took five wickets in the first two games.

Thompson was recalled into the Ireland squad for the first time in eight years in 2016 and played nine T20 games, the last in March 2017, but he has been in superb form for club and province this year and he has deserved another call-up.

Young has played only one international since May 2017, a T20 game against Netherlands in Rotterdam in June last year when he bowled two overs at the cost of 24 runs.

But, as chairman of selectors Andrew White explained, they are determined to have as many permutations as possible ahead of the most important tournament of the year, in October.

"With the T20 World Cup Qualifier just around the corner, we want to ensure no stone is left unturned in finding a side that will give us the best possible chance of being successful," revealed White.

"So we wish Greg well with this opportunity, likewise the form of Northern Knights' all-rounders Mark Adair and Shane Getkate can't be denied, and we are excited at the first inclusion of Gareth Delany, who has clearly demonstrated his skills with both bat and ball during the opportunities he has had with the Wolves and at inter-provincial level."

Pembroke pace bowler Josh Little, whose first 11 Ireland appearances were all in T20 games, and the experienced George Dockrell have also been relegated from the ODI squad as T20 specialists.

In all, nine players are in both the ODI and T20s squads, with five selected only for the ODIs against Zimbabwe at Bready on July 1, and Stormont on July 4 and 7 - captain William Porterfield (Gary Wilson remains the T20 skipper), Tim Murtagh, Andy McBrine, James McCollum and Simi Singh.

Mark Adair, Shane Getkate, Tyrone Kane and Lorcan Tucker, who have only 30 caps between them, have been given the chance to become regulars in both formats.

But Simi Singh has still something to prove as he has also been named in the Ireland Wolves squad, captained by Harry Tector, which faces Zimbabwe in a 50-over game at Eglinton on Saturday, alongside Stuart Thompson, on his home ground, Peter Chase, Barry McCarthy and James Cameron-Dow.

Meanwhile, Ulster Schools were bowled out to the last ball of the first day of the annual two-day game with Southern Schools, for a first innings deficit of 59.

Scores: At Rathmines, Southern Schools 1st Innings 227 (53 overs, D O'Halloran 56, N McGuire 46, S Stanton 43; M Humphreys 4-57, J Hunter 2-13, R Malone 2-28) Ulster Schools 1st Innings 168 (A Reid 29, R Malone 27, A Johnston 27; S Ruttle 3-33). Today 10.00-5.30pm.

Ireland ODI squad: W Porterfield (capt), M Adair, A Balbirnie, S Getkate, T Kane, A McBrine, J McCollum, T Murtagh, K O'Brien, B Rankin, S Singh, P Stirling, L Tucker, G Wilson

T20 squad: Wilson (capt), Adair, Balbirnie, G Delany, G Dockrell, Getkate, Kane, J Little, O'Brien, Rankin, Stirling, G Thompson, Tucker, C Young.

Ireland Wolves: H Tector (captain), J Cameron-Dow, P Chase, S Doheny, F Hand, G Kennedy, B McCarthy, N McGuire, N Rock, S Singh, J Tector, S Thompson.

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