Ireland name experienced preliminary squad

DUBLIN, Ireland, CMC – The Phil Simmons-coached Ireland have named their 22-man preliminary squad for next year’s Cricket World Cup, retaining a large chunk of the players who campaigned in the Caribbean showpiece three years ago.

Trent Johnston

The side includes the experienced O’Brien brothers, Kevin and Niall, along with Boyd Rankin, William Porterfield and Trent Johnston, and will be trimmed by January 19 to 15 for the tournament slated for India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka.

Simmons, who played 26 Tests and 143 One-Day International for West Indies, said Ireland were moving into their final stages of preparation for the February 19 to April 2 tournament. “There are no surprises in the 22, as we’ve had a fairly settled squad this past year. Our training camp in India last month went well and it was fantastic preparation for the conditions which we’ll be facing when the tournament starts,” the 47-year-old explained.

“There’s a lot of experience in the squad but that’s balanced by the fact we’ve got a few exciting youngsters as well. Both Paul Stirling and George Dockrell have turned in some great performances in 2010, and the World Cup will be a great stage for them.”

The fitness worry in the squad is all-rounder Regan West who is struggling to recover from a shoulder injury, while Rankin has made excellent progress from a foot niggle.

Simmons remained hopeful that West, who has not played for Ireland in over a year, will be fit enough to make the trip.

 Boyd is bowling again and on track to be fully fit for the tournament,” he said.

“Regan is working hard after his shoulder operations, and will undergo a final fitness assessment before the final squad is announced. We’re still hopeful that he’ll make it.”

Ireland will fine-tune their preparations for the World Cup with a camp in Dubai next month, before playing warm-up games against New Zealand and Zimbabwe in Nagpur, India.

Ireland will play in Group B alongside West Indies, Bangladesh, India, England, the Netherlands and South Africa.

SQUAD – William Porterfield, Andre Botha, Alex Cusack, George Dockrell, Phil Eaglestone, Allan Eastwood, James Hall, Trent Johnston, Nigel Jones, Ed Joyce, Rory McCann, John Mooney, Kevin O’Brien, Niall O’Brien, Andrew Poynter, Boyd Rankin, Paul Stirling, Albert van der Merwe, Regan West, Gary Wilson, Andrew White, Craig Young.

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