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Ireland name squad for UAE and Afghanistan series

Ireland news

Cricket Ireland have named a 16-man squad for the upcoming ODI series against UAE and Afghanistan.

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The three matches against Afghanistan will form part of the ICC Men's Cricket World Cup Super League, as Ireland look to build on their 10 points earned last time out, when they shocked England in early August with a dramatic run-chase over the ICC Cricket World Cup champions.

Gary Wilson will not join the squad for this tour in order to be at home for the birth of his second child, with Neil Rock coming in as wicket-keeping cover. Ordinarily, Wilson would likely have been able to rejoin the squad after the birth, however this is not possible under the COVID-19 protocols in place for the series without an extended period of self-isolation, so it was agreed that he would be ruled out on this occasion.

This tour will also be the first since Stuart Barnes, the new assistant head coach and national bowling lead, joined the support staff.

Match dates, playing times and venue details will be officially announced in the coming days.

Additionally, several players and support staff who are not on the tour will remain at home under COVID-19 safe conditions in case a substitute needs to be flown out to Abu Dhabi during the month.

The Ireland men’s cricket team have played just 12 international matches in 2020, however head coach Graham Ford believes the squad can be pleased with the progress they have made despite the disrupted year.

He said: “We’ve beaten the T20 World Champions, the West Indies, in a T20I in the Caribbean, beaten Afghanistan for the first time in a T20I in the subcontinent, and beaten the current World Cup champions England in their own backyard – those wins have helped build self-belief within the players and have demonstrated the progress we are making as a squad.

“We have two challenging series ahead of us, but we’re looking to create a sense of momentum going into a big year – a year that will feature multiple tours, a full home season and a T20 World Cup at the back end.”

Squad: Andrew Balbirnie (c), Mark Adair, Curtis Campher, David Delany, Gareth Delany, Josh Little, Andrew McBrine, Barry McCarthy, James McCollum, Kevin O’Brien, Neil Rock, Simi Singh, Paul Stirling, Harry Tector, Lorcan Tucker, Craig Young.

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