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Wilson set to spearhead Knights as Test stars return to interpro action

Lead man: Gary Wilson will hope to inspire the Knights
Lead man: Gary Wilson will hope to inspire the Knights

By Ian Callender

The Test match may be over but, with a bad sense of timing, the interprovincial red-ball action begins in earnest this morning when Leinster Lightning host Northern Knights at Sydney Parade (11am).

The game is the first of four first-class clashes in the next five weeks, which would have been perfect preparation for last week's Lord's Test, but unfortunately the six-match white-ball series against Zimbabwe in the first half of the month could not be moved.

Five of Ireland's Test match 11, and half of the 14-man squad, are straight back into action, with Gary Wilson leading a Knights side which includes James McCollum and Mark Adair, while Andrew Balbirnie and Kevin O'Brien are in the Lightning side, which also features Simi Singh and Lorcan Tucker, who missed out at Lord's.

David Delany could finally make his long-awaited debut for the Knights after his high-profile signing during the winter. The selectors have been trying to get the 21-year-old Clontarf pace bowler into every squad this summer but a combination of injuries and exams has always excluded him, until now.

He faces competition as Josh Manley, who has been impressing as an opening bowler for Instonians since his arrival from South Africa last month, is included for the first time, while Adair and Shane Getkate are certainties for the starting 11.

Regular opening bowler Graham McCarter, however, is unavailable, and his Civil Service North team-mate Matty Foster pulled up in their Premier League game on Saturday but is named in a squad of 13.

The other notable absentee is Neil Rock, who is with the Ireland Under-19s, and CIYMS opener Chris Dougherty is recalled as batting cover and reserve keeper.

Lightning are set to have three changes to the team that played at Bready last month, with Barry McCarthy, ruled out on the first morning of that game by illness, returning along with Rush's in-form opening batsman Stephen Doheny and left-arm international Josh Little, who was injured. Fionn Hand and Gareth Delany are the two to make way.

Meanwhile, South Africa captain Faf du Plessis has been confirmed as the final overseas player in the Belfast Titans team for the inaugural Euro T20 Slam, which starts a month today in Amsterdam.

Leinster Lightning: G Dockrell (capt), A Balbirnie, P Chase, S Doheny, T Kane, J Little, B McCarthy, C McLoughlin-Gavin, K O'Brien, S Singh, J Tector, L Tucker.

Northern Knights: G Wilson (capt), H Tector, M Adair, M Commins, D Delany, M Ellison, M Foster, J McCollum, C Dougherty, S Getkate, J Cameron-Dow, J Manley, J Mulder,

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