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Stirling to captain Ireland T20 squad, several new faces named for upcoming Oman and Afghanistan series
DUBLIN – Cricket Ireland has today named four squads that will compete in a Quadrangular tournament in Oman in February, and play a nine-match, multi-format series against Afghanistan in India starting on 21 February.
28-year old Paul Stirling, who first debuted for the Ireland Men's senior side in 2008, will take charge of the T20 International side in the temporary absence of full-time captain Gary Wilson. Wilson was diagnosed with a condition last month that has impacted upon his vision, and while medical staff expect him to make a full recovery, this tour was considered too early and therefore he will remain at home to recover fully ahead of a busy home season.
Speaking from Bangladesh, where he is playing in the Bangladesh Premier League, Stirling said:
"It's a privilege to have been asked to captain the side in Gary's absence, I will relish the challenge. Having started off in this side as a young player in 2008, the influence of senior players like Trent Johnston, Kyle McCallan, Andrew White and Ed Joyce were huge in developing the cricketer and the person. Myself, along with the other senior players and management in this squad, will look to create an environment where players coming through who are hungry for success can flourish both on and off the field."
"It is a big year ahead for us with the T20 World Cup Qualifiers coming up in October, so the importance is growing with each game we play."
"It has been pleasing to see some brilliant individual performances in Sri Lanka with the Ireland Wolves, and look forward to seeing these players grab their opportunities when they arise. This will be a great chance for the team to showcase their skills against high quality opposition, both in Oman and India."
Among the new faces in the senior squad, several uncapped players have impressed selectors on the current Ireland Wolves tour, notably 19-year old Wolves captain Harry Tector, 23-year old opener James McCollum, the 28-year old spinner James Cameron-Dow, and 27-year old Shane Getkate. They will be joined by 22-year old wicketkeeper-batsman Lorcan Tucker and 19-year old Josh Little who have both appeared in four T20Is each.
Andrew White, Chair of National Men's Selectors, said:
"This will be a big year for Irish cricket, with the men's senior side playing in all three formats of the game over the coming six months, then heading to the T20 World Cup Qualifier in late 2019. With that in mind, we have selected squads that we believe are the best sides for each format – as well as progressing the process of integrating emerging players into our senior sides."
"Oman and the Afghan series in India offer up two very distinct challenges for us, and the length of the tour will necessitate a touring squad with depth. This will be our first major tour since becoming a Full Member, and we're certainly looking forward to some good, competitive cricket in challenging conditions. This is what top-tier international cricket is all about."
"Gary [Wilson] is going to be a big miss for us - but it was decided that he should continue recovery in the short-term with the longer-term priority of being a key member of a busy home schedule, and leading the T20 squad to the T20 World Cup Qualifier campaign in late 2019. In his absence, we have asked Paul Stirling to stand-in as T20 skipper. Stirlo is one of Ireland's most experienced and successful exponents of this format of the game, and has gained a wealth of experience playing around the world – for Ireland, Middlesex and various franchise teams in global T20 leagues. This is the first time he has been handed the captaincy of the national side, so will undoubtedly be a proud moment for not only himself, but his family."
"With regards to some of the new faces, there is no denying the performances of James McCollum, James Cameron-Dow, Shane Getkate and Harry Tector on the current Ireland Wolves tour have impressed selectors. For McCollum, it hasn't just been his runs but the manner in which he has scored them in subcontinent conditions that has impressed us most. His assuredness at the top of the order has been an asset for the Wolves team, and builds on his first-class performances last season for the Northern Knights."
"James Cameron-Dow may, for many fans, come as a bit of an unexpected surprise on this Wolves tour – but we have had our eye on him for a while now. His two five-wicket hauls in the red-ball Wolves games certainly stood out, but his progress and development throughout the tour has been promising. He certainly offers us a good spin option for the Indian wickets we will play on against Afghanistan."
"Shane Getkate has had an outstanding white-ball series for the Wolves in Sri Lanka and Harry Tector has been a consistent performer at under-age levels, and now led two national teams – the Under-19s squad to the World Cup last year and now the Ireland Wolves. His century last week for the Wolves showed the talent and leadership attributes we believe he will bring into the senior set-up."
William Porterfield, Ireland ODI and Test captain, said:
"After what has been a quiet winter pre-Christmas, it's great to be getting close to playing again. It's been great to have so many guys playing and performing with the Ireland Wolves, building up to the Afghanistan series. A big part of that tour will be the Test match - we have seen some great Test cricket over the winter and I expect this to be a great contest away from home."
"We have a great balance throughout the squad and it's great to see some new faces that have been putting in performances for the Wolves get the opportunity."
"I'm gutted for Gary that he is going to miss the tour and wish him a speedy recovery. I would also like to wish Paul Stirling the very best of luck in leading the lads into the next few weeks of T20s."
Oman Quadrangular T20 Tournament Squad
Afghanistan series - T20 Squad
Afghanistan series – ODI Squad
Afghanistan series – Test Squad
Quadrangular tournament in Oman
Ireland Men's tour (Afghanistan series)
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