CRICKET: Gary Wilson to captain T20I squad against Netherlands and Scotland

Gary Wilson. 'Mandatory Credit �INPHO/Oisin Keniry
Gary Wilson. 'Mandatory Credit �INPHO/Oisin Keniry

Cricket Ireland has announced a 14-man squad to take part in the T20I Tri-Series in the Netherlands under the captaincy of Gary Wilson.

The Tri-Series tournament will feature Ireland, Scotland and Netherlands, with matches being played from 12 – 20 June 2018 in the Netherlands. The format will involve each team playing two T20Is against each of the other nations.

The series will also be a turning point in the leadership structure for the T20I squad, with William Porterfield stepping aside from captaincy duties in this form of the game after a successful decade in the role.

“It has been a huge honour to captain my country across all formats for the past 10 years, and I have been fortunate enough to captain Ireland at the last five World Twenty20’s,” said Porterfield.

“With the qualifiers only a year or so away, I feel that now is the right time for me and the team for a fresh voice and leader in this format. I will now focus solely on my batting in a format that I love playing.

“I would like to thank everyone for their support over the past 10 years and indeed in making this decision.

“Finally I would like to wish Gary all the best in what is an exciting time for him.”

Graham Ford, Head Coach of the Ireland Men’s National team, said in regards to Porterfield’s leadership: “We have a very impressive captain whose attitude, commitment and passion for Irish cricket sets a great example for the younger players.

“He is experienced, tactically astute and very honest with his players. He believes that this is the best move for the national squad, and I shall support him 100% for making this important decision.”

Andrew White, Chair of National Men’s Selectors, praised Porterfield for the decision and was pleased to confirm a new T20I squad captain.

“While William’s decision came as a surprise to the selectors, we also believe it is representative of the leader that he is,” he said.

“The increase in the schedule of fixtures across Test, ODI and T20Is under the ICC Future Tours Programme will be at levels unseen by Ireland in the past.

“The demands of a leader to lead their national side across all formats of the game cannot be underestimated and most Full Member nations have accordingly split their captaincy responsibilities.

“William has captained the T20I squad to five consecutive ICC World Twenty20’s and has rightfully been commended by all within the Cricket Ireland set-up for putting the team before himself.

“With regards to the new captain, the selectors believe Gary Wilson is the right man at the right time for an important transition period in Irish cricket. Not only a ready-made skipper in this format of the game, Gary has also been Ireland’s leading batter over the last two years in T20Is.

“He is the current captain of the Derbyshire T20 side, and has also captained Surrey in this format – his wealth of experience and record of leading by performance are qualities that the entire squad can only benefit from.

“Over the 2017-2018 period, Gary has scored 256 runs in eight innings at an average of 51.20, and a fantastic strike rate of 158.02. For this format of the game, those statistics are outstanding.

“He will also work within the new leadership development structures that Cricket Ireland is establishing, under the direction of Ed Joyce, on bringing through the next generation of T20 leaders. We wish Gary well as he leads his squad to the Netherlands in June.”

Gary Wilson, the 32-year old international who has played 88 times for Ireland in the T20 format, spoke today about his elevation to captain of the national T20 side: “I am absolutely honoured to be asked to undertake this role. With 16 months until the qualifying tournament for next World Twenty20 tournament in Australia, I believe this is a timely opportunity to prepare the squad for an important new phase in Irish cricket,” said Wilson.

“I hope my experience and leadership in this form of the game will be of benefit in developing the next generation of leaders and am looking forward to the first step in this journey – the Tri-Series in the Netherlands.”

The 14-man squad for the Tri-Series in the Netherlands is: Gary Wilson (Captain), Andrew Balbirnie, Peter Chase, George Dockrell, Barry McCarthy, Kevin O’Brien, William Porterfield, Stuart Poynter, Boyd Rankin, James Shannon, Simi Singh, Paul Stirling, Stuart Thompson andCraig Young

Selectors noted that Josh Little and David Delany were both unavailable to be considered for selection at this time.