Phil Simmons names 13-man squad to take on the Aussies in Belfast

Coach Phil Simmons has named Niall O’Brien in the panel, but says he has to work hard to displace Gary Wilson.

Image: Cricket Ireland

A SQUAD OF 13 has been named as Ireland prepare to take on Australia at Stormont on June 23rd in the the RSA Challenge One Day International.

Kevin O’Brien, having signed a T20 contract with Somerset, became the eighth member of the squad based with county side, though Boyd Rankin misses out as he continues his recuperation from a foot injury.
However, coach Phil Simmons is convinced that Middlesex seamer will prove to be a more than able replacement.

“Although Tim Murtagh hasn’t played for Ireland yet, he’s been bowling superbly for Middlesex so that will soften the blow of losing Boyd. Max Sorensen and Trent Johnston were fantastic in the UAE so we have plenty of options in the squad having so many all-rounders,” said Simmons.

“I’ve been following the English based players and there have been some fantastic performances from them at various stages this season.”

Simmons had a word of warning for Niall O’Brien, who he says will have his work cut out for him to regain his place. However, he has been recalled to the squad after being left out of the ICC World Twenty20 qualifiers.

“There’s no doubt he’s among the best 14 players that Ireland have, but Gary Wilson did superbly in the UAE, so Niall knows he’s going to have work hard and be at his best to regain the gloves.”

Simmons is under no illusions about the size of the task facing his side in Belfast.

“They’re a quality side and it’s going to be extremely difficult. They’re preparing for five ODI’s against England and players will all be looking to cement their spot in the team. With Mike Hussey withdrawing that frees up a batting slot and their guys will all be keen to fill it.

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“We had a great opportunity to beat them two years ago and threw it away. We’ve learned from that and are two years more experienced now – I’d back us to win that game at this stage given the same chance. These games are the sort of fixtures we’ve been crying out for and hopefully there will be many more of them in the coming years.”

The Ireland squad is as follows:

William Porterfield (captain) (Warwickshire), Alex Cusack (Clontarf), George Dockrell (Somerset), Trent Johnston (YMCA), Ed Joyce (Sussex), John Mooney (North County), Tim Murtagh (Middlesex), Kevin O’Brien (Railway Union/Somerset), Niall O’Brien (Northants), Max Sorensen (The Hills), Paul Stirling (Middlesex), Andrew White (Instonians), Gary Wilson (Surrey).

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