Ireland Call Up McDonnell For Pakistan ODIs
Ireland have included uncapped Strabane batsman Niall McDonnell in their 14-man squad to play Pakistan in two One-Day Internationals later this month.
Since the World Cup in Bangladesh, India and Sri Lanka, Andre Botha has retired and left-arm spinner George Dockrell has a shoulder injury but the addition of McDonnell is the only other change from the squad that embarrassed England in Bangalore.
The two-match series gets underway on 28th May and the Irish camp are hoping that two strong performances will strengthen the case being made for a qualifying event ahead of the 2015 World Cup, something that will be discussed when the ICC Board meets in late June.
Also missing from the squad is newly-qualified batsman Hamish Marshall, who suffered a fractured thumb playing for Gloucestershire in April.
"There aren’t a lot of surprises as we haven’t had any cricket since the World Cup finished," coach Phil Simmons said of the squad.
"We’ll train hard in the build-up to the game, and hopefully the conditions at Stormont will suit us. The county players have been playing some excellent cricket, and most of them seem to be in really good form which is encouraging for Irish cricket.
"Everyone is aware of the importance of these games, not just in terms of ranking points, but also in the bigger scheme of things with a decision pending on a qualification tournament for the 2015 World Cup. Two more strong performances against Pakistan will help in that regard.
"The 2007 World Cup win against Pakistan was the catalyst for the exponential growth for Irish cricket. I can see no reason why we can’t repeat that success on home soil given the talent we now possess in our ranks."
McDonnell, 31, scored a century for Ireland A against the MCC in Dublin last year, and he spoke of his feelings at getting a call-up:
"I can honestly say that I can't find a word to describe how I felt when Peter Gillespie rang me; I suppose it was a mixture of excitement, raw nerves and a little trepidation at being involved at this level. It's a dream come true in many ways and the prospect of batting with the likes of Paul Stirling, William Porterfield or Ed Joyce is some motivation.
"I can't underestimate the role Adi Birrell and particularly Jeremy Bray have played in my development. Jeremy is so focused on his new role as one of Cricket Ireland's High Performance Coaches that his determination and enthusiasm just rubs off on everyone he works with. Just being involved with this Ireland squad is an opportunity that I fully intend to make the most of."
The second and final match is on 30th May.
Ireland ODI squad: William Porterfield (captain), Alex Cusack, Trent Johnston, Nigel Jones, Ed Joyce, Niall McDonnell, John Mooney, Kevin O'Brien, Niall O'Brien, Boyd Rankin, Paul Stirling, Albert van der Merwe, Andrew White, Gary Wilson
© Cricket World 2011