Five players from the North West are in Ireland’s squad for next month’s ICC World T20, in India.
Skippered by William Porterfield, the Killymallaght man is joined by Bready pair Boyd Rankin and Craig Young, Donemana’s Andy McBrine and Eglinton’s Stuart Thompson.
Ireland have named an experienced 15-man squad for the next month’s ICC World Twenty20, with captain Porterfield one of five players ready to embark on a fifth campaign in the biennial tournament.
Porterfield was at the helm when Ireland first competed in the T20 global showpiece in England in 2009 and along with the O’Brien brothers, Paul Stirling and Gary Wilson, he has taken part in all three subsequent events in the West Indies, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.
“We are really looking forward to this World Cup, particularly with the return of Boyd Rankin,” said Ireland Chairman of Selectors Alan Lewis. “He gives our attack so much more balance and potency, as seen in our InterContinental Cup win last week.
“As such a consistent performer I am also delighted to see Tim Murtagh in the squad for an event like this particularly as he missed the 2015 World Cup is such disappointing circumstances.
“These are the events that players want to excel in so hopefully with the lead time involved and the energy the team always show we can emerge out on top of the group in the first phase.”
Ireland have been drawn in the same group as The Netherlands, Oman and Bangladesh, with the winners qualifying for the Super 10 stage.
Ireland Head Coach John Bracewell is relishing the opportunity to lead Ireland at a major global event for the first time and is confident his side will acquit themselves well.
“The squad has got a real balance to it, with that blend of youth and experience that every coach likes. Ireland are now regular performers on the world stage so there’s no fear or intimidation factors.
“Everyone has been given a real boost by the return of Boyd Rankin, and Tim Murtagh’s rethink on retirement in this format. Porty (Porterfield) has plenty of options with the ball as so many of the squad are genuine all-rounders,” said the New Zealander.
“We will be well prepared for the competition, as we’re currently playing Papua New Guinea, will take on the UAE later this week, and will be India for a training camp ahead of the competition.
“It’s another great chance for the squad to showcase Irish cricket to a global audience, and the guys are determined to prove they belong at the top level of the sport.”
Ireland ICC World T20 Squad: William Porterfield (capt Warwickshire), Andrew Balbirnie (Middlesex), George Dockrell (Leinster Lightning), Andy McBrine (Donemana), Tim Murtagh (Middlesex), Kevin O’Brien (Railway Union), Niall O’Brien (Leicestershire), Andrew Poynter (Clontarf), Stuart Poynter (Durham), Boyd Rankin (Warwickshire), Max Sorensen (The Hills), Paul Stirling (Middlesex), Stuart Thompson (Eglinton), Gary Wilson (Surrey) and Craig Young (Bready).