Ireland Name ICC World T20 Squad
Ireland have named a 15-man squad for the upcoming ICC World Twenty20 in Bangladesh but will be without all-rounder John Mooney, who continues to recover from a stress-related illness.
The 32-year-old is the only notable absentee from the panel named by coach Phil Simmons ahead of the tournament which starts on 16th March.
Eleven of the players included featured in Sri Lanka two years ago with Andrew McBrine, James Shannon, Craig Young and Andrew Poynter the only members without World Cup experience.
Sussex captain Ed Joyce returns to the set-up after sitting out of the tour of the Caribbean. Otherwise, the selectors have stuck with the same personnel that played in the Nagico Super50 and are preparing for the upcoming limited-overs series with West Indies.
"There were a few tough decisions for the selectors but we've kept faith with the squad who are currently in the Caribbean,” Head Coach Simmons said.
"It was always going to be difficult for anyone to break into the final squad given the fact that we're in the middle of the off-season back in Ireland.
"We had a fantastic win against the Windward Islands last week, and I'm pleased with how the preparation has gone this past fortnight.
"We've got three challenging games against the West Indies coming up, followed by a week's training camp in the UAE, before going to Bangladesh. We play Nepal and the hosts in warm-up games so there's no danger of us being under-cooked for the Round One matches.”
Unlike previous years, Ireland will face an additional hurdle before being given the opportunity to rub shoulders with the highest ranked countries. An initial group stage sees hosts Bangladesh, Zimbabwe and Ireland joined by the other six Associates, who progressed from the qualifying tournament in the UAE, in a battle to advance to the Super10.
"Indeed, if we progress from the initial group stage, we'll be going into the games against Sri Lanka, South Africa, New Zealand and England with a lot of game time under our belts, which could give us a serious advantage. However, we'll be concentrating on the round one games first - that's the first hurdle for us," Simmons added.
Consistency in selection and stability has been a fundamental part of their recent successes and with a pathway to Test cricket seemingly paved, Simmons and his squad will be determined to impress on the big stage once again.
It will be their fourth successive appearance at the World T20 after they won the qualifying event in November of last year, comfortably beating Afghanistan in the final. In 2009, their win over Bangladesh at Trent Bridge in Nottingham ensured a passage through to the knock-out stages but they failed to negotiate the group stages in 2010 and 2012 in the Caribbean and Sri Lanka respectively.
Ireland captain William Porterfield is looking forward to another global event - Bangladesh will be his seventh time at a major final.
"There's a lot of experience in the squad, with most of the guys having played in World Cups before.
"There are some new faces too though and their enthusiasm will help keep things fresh. It couldn't have gone much better for us in 2013 but we're determined to make 2014 a success too - we won't be resting on our laurels.
"We're all determined to take Irish cricket to the next level. We're not happy with just qualifying for finals any more.
"We want to win games while we're here and climb the rankings. We have players who I believe can make a major impact in the tournament, as we showed in our domination of the qualifying competition in the UAE in November."
Ireland begin their campaign against Zimbabwe on March 17th but have warm-up games pencilled in against Nepal and Bangladesh before then.
Meanwhile, Trent Johnston will name his Irish Women’s Squad for the ICC World Twenty20 tomorrow (Friday).
Ireland ICC World Twenty20 Squad: William Porterfield (captain), Alex Cusack, George Dockrell, Ed Joyce, Andrew McBrine, Tim Murtagh, Kevin O'Brien, Niall O'Brien, Andrew Poynter, Max Sorensen, James Shannon, Paul Stirling, Stuart Thompson, Gary Wilson, Craig Young
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