Cricket: Simmons keeps faith with Ireland's Caribbean stars
Ireland’s countdown to next year’s World Cup finals in Asia will begin with the same squad that played in the World Twenty20 in Guyana last month.
National coach Phil Simmons has named a 13-man squad for the glamour match of the summer, the one-day international against Australia two weeks today, and it is made up exclusively of the players who lost to hosts West Indies and eventual winners England in the shortest form of the game.
The two players not included are Civil Service North captain Nigel Jones and 17-year-old George Dockrell, the latter only because he is sitting an exam on June 17, the day of the match.
It means Waringstown slow left armer Gary Kidd is in line to play his seventh ODI and his first since the European Championship game against the Netherlands in July 2008.
Boyd Rankin, who missed Ireland’s last ODI, against the West Indies in April, is also selected for a rare appearance on home soil while John Mooney and Kidd are the other squad members hoping for a recall to the 50 overs line-up.
Niall O’Brien has been included in the squad and is expected to play despite confirmation that he is playing with a broken left index finger.
The following week, Ireland play two RSA-sponsored games against West Indies A at Stormont and Cricket Ireland yesterday announced ticket arrangements and prices for the games. Admission is £10 for adults, £7 for OAPs and just £2 for Under 16s. There is also a two-match deal of £15, £11 and £3 respectively which members can pay for at the gate for the first game on Wednesday June 23. The second game is on June 25.
The West Indies A squad includes Kieron Pollard, Lionel Baker, Nakita Miller, Andre Fletcher and Devon Smith and will guarantee quality opposition before Ireland head to the World League in the Netherlands on June 27.
Just four days after the squad return they are back in action at Stormont against Bangladesh in two more RSA ODIs on July 15 and 16 when big-hitting Tamim Iqbal is likely to be the main visitor attraction.
Here too, there is a two-tier pricing structure with tickets priced at £20, £15 and £3 for one match and £35, £25 and £5 for both, again payable at the gate or www.ticketmaster.co.uk
\[Peter Hutcheon\]Bangladesh will be Ireland’s first opponents at the 2011 World Cup in Dacca on February 25.
Ireland squad (v Australia, at Clontarf): W Porterfield (capt), T Johnston, A Botha, P Connell, A Cusack, G Kidd, J Mooney, K O’Brien, N O’Brien, B Rankin, P Stirling, A White, G Wilson.
Tonight: Metal Technology Twenty20 Cup (6pm): Civil Service North v Carrickfergus.
Tomorrow: Ulster Bank Schools Cup semi final (2pm): Sullivan Upper v Grosvenor Grammar.