Surprises in Ireland squad for first Test
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.
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.