Ireland Name Squad To Take On Sri Lanka
Ireland have named a 13-man squad to take on Twenty20 world champions Sri Lanka in a two-match One-Day International series next month.
All 13 players were involved in the recent ICC World Twenty20, where Ireland missed out on reaching the Super 10 stages.
Had they done so, they would have faced Sri Lanka, who went on to beat India to claim their first global title outright since 1996.
However, despite Sri Lanka's recent strong performances in the sub-continent, Ireland go into the series with hopes themselves of producing an upset.
Ed Joyce, who has been in outstanding form for Sussex at the start of the English domestic season, says that home advantage will be a huge help.
"I'm convinced we have a real chance of beating Sri Lanka because it's fair to say they won't relish the conditions we're likely to encounter in early May in Dublin," he said.
"We tied with Pakistan at the same venue last year, and lost the second match by a narrow margin when we looked like winning it.
"It was a very special occasion for me to score that hundred in front of a sell-out crowd but it was a bitter-sweet experience as we eventually lost that game. Hopefully this time we can go one better and record our first Dublin victory against one of the big teams," he added.
Even for somebody with the vast experience of Joyce, the Sri Lankans will pose something of an unknown quantity.
"I've only played one international match against Sri Lanka during the 2007 World Cup, so I'm really looking forward to the challenge of facing some of the world's best bowlers.
"As a player you always want to test yourself against the best, and there's no doubt that the Sri Lanka attack very much comes into that category."
Head coach Phil Simmons explained why he had decided not to make changes from the recent trip to Bangladesh.
"We've resisted the temptation to make any changes, as the guys have been magnificent over the past few years," he said.
"We've turned in some fantastic performances against Full Members in recent times, but it's a reality that we still haven't recorded a major victory here in Dublin - although we seem to be getting closer every year.
"What better way to break that duck than with a win over reigning world champions? That would be a great thank-you present to the Irish fans who have made our last two fixtures sell-outs."
Ireland ODI squad: William Porterfield (captain), Alex Cusack, George Dockrell, Ed Joyce, Tim Murtagh, Andrew McBrine, Kevin O'Brien, Niall O'Brien, Andrew Poynter, Max Sorensen, Paul Stirling, Stuart Thompson, Gary Wilson
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