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History boys? Here's the Ireland squad for the 2015 Cricket World Cup

There are just 39 days until the tournament gets underway.

Niall O'Brien celebrates with teammates 6/5/2014 Source: James Crombie/INPHO

Updated 13.00pm

WITH JUST SIX weeks to go until the World Cup commences, Ireland have named their 15-man squad for cricket’s show-piece event, which takes place in Australia and New Zealand.

Consistency in selection has underpinned Phil Simmons’ hugely successful tenure to date and, predictably, there are few surprises in the panel that will begin their campaign against West Indies on 16 February.

The squad, once again captained by the effervescent William Porterfield, contains no fewer than nine players plying their trade in county cricket.

“It’s fantastic to be leading Ireland in another global tournament,” Porterfield said.

“We’ve produced some wonderful performances over the years in World Cups, and there’s no reason why we can’t claim further successes in Australia and New Zealand.

“While we may have lost the surprise factor over the years, we’ve certainly gained a lot of respect for our brand of cricket which has been pretty pleasing.”

Cricket Ireland formally submitted the final squad to the International Cricket Council today after an extended 30-man list had been lodged in December.

“There’s a great mix as always in the squad, and the younger guys coming through are all hungry which keeps the more experienced players on their toes. Competition for places has been fierce and that’s got to be good for Irish cricket,” Porterfield continued.

With the core of the side set in stone, the only dilemma for the selectors surrounded the composition of the bowling attack.

As was revealed before Christmas, there is no place for fast-bowler Max Sorensen who is the most notable absentee having featured heavily in all formats since his debut two years ago.

Instead, there has been a great deal of confidence and faith placed in Peter Chase and Craig Young, both of whom are still in the infancy of their international careers.

The former has yet to play an One-Day International but was fast tracked into the squad after making an instant impression with Durham during the latter stages of the 2014 county season.

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Peter Chase Peter Chase has only a handful of international appearances Source: Presseye/Rowland White/INPHO

Chase then stood out during the recent acclimatisation tours and is one of six players going to their first World Cup with Young, Tim Murtagh, Stuart Thompson, Andy McBrine and Andrew Balbirnie the others.

It’s also expected that three players – likely to be Sorensen, Andrew Poynter and Graeme McCarter – will play club cricket in Australia during the tournament and be on stand-by.

The squad departed for Dubai on Sunday for an intensive preparatory series of fixtures against Associate counterparts Afghanistan and Scotland. Simmons confirmed that five extra seamers have travelled with the squad to the UAE.

“It’s our intention to have some additional players based in Australia to provide cover for the World Cup squad, and we’ll finalise those arrangements in the coming weeks. It’s important that we’ll have players who can hit the ground running if we suffer any injuries during the two months of the event,” the Ireland head coach said.

Despite a spate of injuries and withdrawals hampering the preparation in the final few months of 2014, Ireland will be confident of stamping their mark on the world stage once again.

The form of those playing in England during last summer was particularly encouraging. Gary Wilson, the Surrey captain, enjoyed his most prolific season with the bat and Ed Joyce – set to feature in his third World Cup – scored eight first-class centuries for Sussex.

After a brief return home, they will board their flight to Australia/New Zealand at the end of January.

Ireland’s first Pool B game against West Indies is in Nelson before they travel to Brisbane to face United Arab Emirates on 25 February. In all, they play six group games and it’s likely they’ll need three wins to progress to the Super 10 stages – something they have achieved in both 2007 and 2011.

Ireland’s 2015 World Cup Squad: 

  • William Porterfield (Warwickshire, Captain)
  • Andrew Balbirnie (Middlesex)
  • Peter Chase (Malahide/Durham)
  • Alex Cusack (Clontarf)
  • George Dockrell (Somerset)
  • Ed Joyce (Sussex)
  • Andrew McBrine (Donemana)
  • John Mooney (North County)
  • Tim Murtagh (Middlesex)
  • Kevin O’Brien (Railway Union)
  • Niall O’Brien (Leicestershire)
  • Paul Stirling (Middlesex)
  • Stuart Thompson (Eglinton)
  • Gary Wilson (Surrey)
  • Craig Young (Bready)

– First published 12.34

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