No real surprises as Cricket Ireland today announced their preliminary squad for the 2011 World Cup which is being held in Bangladesh, India and Sri Lanka from February 19 to April 2.
Coach Phil Simmons has named 22 players in this initial squad, though this must be reduced to 15 by the ICC deadline of January 19.
Eight of those 22 currently ply their trade for English counties including, of course, one Ed Joyce, who was granted special dispensation by the ICC to take part in this event. Eight of the line-up played for Ireland in the last 50 over World Cup in the West Indies in 2007.
Philip Smith, CEO RSA Insurance said “The anticipation for the World Cup is building up now. Following the success of the RSA assisted training camp in India last month everyone is now focused on the lead up to the tournament. RSA wishes all the players well in their final preparations.”
Coach Phil Simmons added : “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.
“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.”
On the medical front concerning Regan West (shoulder) and Boyd Rankin (foot) who are both recovering from injury, Simmons said: “Boyd is bowling again and on track to be fully fit for the tournament. 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 travel to Dubai in January for a pre-World Cup training camp, and have scheduled warm-up games against New Zealand and Zimbabwe in Nagpur before their first game in the competition proper against Bangladesh in Dhaka on February 25.
Ireland’s group opponents are Bangladesh, India, England, the Netherlands, South Africa and West Indies.
The preliminary squad :
•William Porterfield (Warwickshire) (Captain)
•Andre Botha (North County)
•Alex Cusack (Clontarf)
•George Dockrell (Leinster/Somerset)
•Phil Eaglestone (Strabane)
•Allan Eastwood (Pembroke)
•James Hall (Waringstown)
•Trent Johnston (Railway Union)
•Nigel Jones (Civil Service North)
•Ed Joyce (Sussex)
•Rory McCann (Instonians)
•John Mooney (North County)
•Kevin O’Brien (Railway Union)
•Niall O’Brien (Northants)
•Andrew Poynter (Clontarf)
•Boyd Rankin (Warwickshire)
•Paul Stirling (Middlesex)
•Albert van der Merwe (The Hills)
•Regan West (Civil Service North)
•Gary Wilson (Surrey)
•Andrew White (Instonians)
•Craig Young (Bready/Sussex)