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Wolves facing a difficult task in Bangladesh, admits Balbirnie


By Ian Callender

After just three days' preparation, the Ireland Wolves squad started a four-day unofficial Test against Bangladesh 'A' in Sylhet this morning.

Andrew Balbirnie, one of 13 senior internationals in the 16-man squad, captains the team and says it will be a tough week.

"I'm looking forward to a challenging four days in testing conditions," said Balbirnie. "It will be exciting to see how we will react and adapt against a strong Bangladesh 'A' team. We've had three good days of prep and have acclimatised to conditions, hopefully we can start well on what is a long and important tour."

The seam bowlers, led by Peter Chase, arrived in Dhaka two days early to ensure they had extra time to prepare and have a chance to be ready for the first game against a Bangladesh side captained by Nazmul Hossain, who scored an undefeated century against Scotland and 53 against South Africa in last year's Under-19 World Cup.

Sunzamul Islam, who dismissed Ed Joyce on his ODI debut in the Tri-Series at Malahide in May, is also in the hosts' line-up and, although the Bangladesh senior team is currently playing an ODI series in South Africa, the next 16 days promise to be a searching examination for Ireland's wannabes.

Balbirnie, John Anderson, George Dockrell and Chase start the tour as the only certainties to be in the Ireland squad for their Intercontinental Cup match against Scotland in the UAE next month, but in spin-friendly conditions it will be a fight between Andy McBrine, Jacob Mulder and Simi Singh to fill the second spin bowling place. The selection for this week's game, which has been given first-class status, will show who is in pole position.

The squad move on to Cox's Bazar on the south coast next week for a five-match ODI series.

Wolves squad: A Balbirnie, J Anderson, P Chase, G Dockrell, S Getkate, A McBrine, B McCarthy, J Mulder, S Poynter, J Shannon, S Singh, Nat Smith, J Tector, S Terry, S Thompson, L Tucker.

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