Ireland have named a 15-man squad to tour Kenya as well as a 17-man provisional squad for the ICC World Twenty20 qualifying tournament in February.
They travel to Kenya to play a four-day ICC Intercontinental Cup match, two One-Day Internationals as well as three Twenty20 Internationals and then bid to qualify for the ICC WT20 in Sri Lanka later this year.
Of the 17 players picked, only James Shannon and Max Sorensen are uncapped while wicket-keeper Niall O'Brien is absent because his commitment to the Bangladesh Premier League means he cannot fulfil Cricket Ireland's principle of being available for entire tours.
"It’s a strong squad with the majority of the players having served us so well over the past few years," coach Phil Simmons said.
"Max Sorensen and James Shannon are the only ones who haven’t played at senior level, but they’re both exciting talents whom I’m sure will acquit themselves well if needed. Rory McCann came in when Niall O’Brien and Gary Wilson were unavailable during the World Cricket League in 2010, and performed well behind the stumps, helping us win that tournament with an unbeaten record.”
He added: "There were difficult matters for the selectors to discuss regarding Niall O'Brien's availability. They took on board Niall's offer to play in only the ODI's in Kenya, join the squad for part of the South Africa camp, and then the ICC World T20 Qualifier. However the selectors remained consistent to their principle, regarding that all players must be available for all parts of the tour. Niall was not able to make himself available for the whole tour and therefore the selectors have decided not to select him for any part of the tour including the ICC World T20 Qualifier.
"We are only selecting for this tour and the next selection will be for the RSA Challenge ODI versus Australia in June; at that point they will consider all available players.
"Niall has communicated that he still wishes to play for Ireland and the selectors will take that into consideration when they next meet."
They will play Kenya in the four-day game beginning on 12th February with the ODIs on 18th and 20th and three Twenty20 Internationals on 22nd, 23rd and 24th February.
The squad will then embark on a training camp in South Africa ahead of the ICC WT20 qualifier in the United Arab Emirates which gets underway on 11th March.
There is also encouraging news for Ireland that Tim Murtagh is a stage closer to being able to represent them although he will not be able to do so until his Irish passport is processed.
Cricket Ireland are hopeful this will happen before a deadline of 14th February, by which time they must name their squad for the ICC WT20 qualifier.
Ireland squad to tour Kenya: William Porterfield (captain), Alex Cusack, George Dockrell, Trent Johnston, Nigel Jones, Ed Joyce, John Mooney, Rory McCann, Kevin O'Brien, Boyd Rankin, Max Sorensen, Paul Stirling, Albert van der Merwe, Andrew White, Gary Wilson
Ireland provisional squad for ICC WT20 qualifier: William Porterfield (captain), Alex Cusack, George Dockrell, Trent Johnston, Nigel Jones, Ed Joyce, John Mooney, Rory McCann, Kevin O'Brien, Andrew Poynter, Boyd Rankin, James Shannon, Max Sorensen, Paul Stirling, Albert van der Merwe, Andrew White, Gary Wilson
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