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William Porterfield

Ireland name strong squad for historic Test against Pakistan

Ireland news

Tyrone Kane, Nathan Smith and James Shannon are the relatively inexperienced players in the 14-member squad.

Ireland have named a squad of 14 with a host of expected names for their historic maiden Test match, a one-off contest against Pakistan starting in Dublin on 11 May.

William Porterfield will be leading the team out on the momentous day, and he will have for company many of the men who have been a major part of Ireland’s rise up the international ranks: Paul Stirling, Ed Joyce, the O’Brien brothers Kevin and Niall, Stuart Thompson, Gary Wilson, Tim Murtagh and Boyd Rankin among them.

Andrew Balbirnie and Andy McBrine also figure in the list as expected, but there is no space for George Dockrell, the experienced left-arm spinner who has had a somewhat barren run of late.

Among the others to miss out are all-rounder Simi Singh, top-order batsman Jack Tector and medium pacer Barry McCarthy.

Figuring instead are Tyrone Kane, Nathan Smith and James Shannon.

Kane, 23, is a highly-regarded right-arm medium pacer who has played five Twenty20 Internationals but has only three first-class appearances against his name.

Smith, 19, has a little more first-class experience — nine games — but has never played for Ireland before, while Shannon is a 28-year-old off-spinner who has played one one-day international and two T20Is for Ireland in the past.

The performance of the O'Brien brothers will be crucial for Ireland's chances
The performance of the O'Brien brothers will be crucial for Ireland's chances

Nine of the players in the party were in action in the North West Warriors v Leinster Lightning first-class fixture at the start of the month. Of them, Niall O’Brien, Thompson and Balbirnie scored centuries, and while Porterfield, Joyce and McBrine failed with the bat, Kevin O’Brien, Kane and Rankin performed well, which will be crucial for Ireland’s chances.

Across in the English county circuit, Murtagh has been in good form, picking up 14 wickets in three games for Middlesex, while Wilson cracked an unbeaten 64 for Derbyshire against Leicestershire late last month and Stirling, also turning out for Middlesex, has scored two 40s in April.

Squad: William Porterfield (c), Andrew Balbirnie, Ed Joyce, Tyrone Kane, Andy McBrine, Tim Murtagh, Kevin O’Brien, Niall O’Brien (wk), Boyd Rankin, Nathan Smith, Paul Stirling, James Shannon, Stuart Thompson, Gary Wilson (wk)

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