Sur­prises in Ire­land squad for first Test

The Irish Times - Sports Weekend - - SPORTS - EM­MET RIOR­DAN

Ire­land’s se­lec­tors threw in a few curve­balls when they un­veiled their 14-man squad for next week’s his­toric first Test match against Pak­istan in Malahide.

A trio of ex­pe­ri­enced bowlers have been left out of Gra­ham Ford’s squad, with left-arm spin­ner Ge­orge Dock­rell and the seam duo of Barry Mc­Carthy and Peter Chase, who plays with Malahide, also miss­ing out.

The omis­sion of Mc­Carthy was the big­gest sur­prise after a win­ter where he pro­duced some key per­for­mances with the ball. The 25-year-old, who took two wick­ets for Durham on the first day of the County Cham­pi­onship match against Le­ices­ter­shire at Ch­ester-le-Street on Fri­day, ad­mit­ted he was “bit­terly dis­ap­pointed” not to be in­cluded but also tweeted his con­grat­u­la­tions to those who were se­lected.

The big springer in the pack is In­sto­ni­ans’ Aus­tralian-born seam bowler Nathan Smith. The 22-year-old from Vic­to­ria im­pressed in the re­cent squad tri­als and is in line to make his Ire­land de­but against Pak­istan next Fri­day.

Front­line

All-rounder Stu­art Thomp­son’s 148 for the North West War­riors against the Le­in­ster Light­ning in the open­ing game of the in­ter­provin­cial cham­pi­onship dur­ing the week earned him a place in the squad, while Mer­rion seamer Ty­rone Kane, who won seven caps in Twenty20 in­ter­na­tion­als in 2015, is also named.

In­sto­ni­ans’ mid­dle-or­der bats­man James Shan­non, who has played one T20 in­ter­na­tional since 2013, is also named in the squad.

With Dock­rell miss­ing out, off-spin­ner An­drew McBrine is the only front­line spin­ner named in the squad.

Boyd Rankin is in line to be­come one of only a hand­ful of crick­eters to play Test cricket for two coun­tries after his one cap for Eng­land in the dis­as­trous Ashes tour in 2013-14, while Ed Joyce has re­turned to ac­tion and looks set to make his Test de­but just four months shy of his 40th birth­day.

Cricket Ire­land have an­nounced that ball-by-ball cov­er­age of the Test will be pro­vided by on­line broad­cast­ers Guerilla Cricket, which have made a name for them­selves by their left-field ap­proach to cov­er­ing the sport.

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