George Dockrell will captain an Ireland squad of 15 in the ICC Under 19 World Cup which takes place in Australia from August 4-26.
For Ireland Under 19 coach Ryan Eagleson it’s been one of the most difficult tasks he has undertaken in selecting the final squad of 15 for the World Cup in Australia: “It’s been exceptionally tough for myself and my fellow selectors as we tried to finalise the squad. There’s a great depth of talent now in Irish cricket, and it’s obviously heartbreaking for the guys who have missed out. We’ve picked a squad which we feel has a genuine chance of progression in the World Cup. There’s a good balance to the squad and real depth in all the disciplines which should give us plenty of options. The team has trained exceptionally hard since qualifying in August and they should all be proud of their dedication and commitment during that period.
“My message to those players who have missed out this time is not to feel that it’s the end of the international road for them. With Ireland playing so many formats of the game now, including the expanded A team programme, and plans for the introduction of a first-class structure are at an advanced stage, there have never been so many potential opportunities. As a coach I’ll be continuing to monitor their form, and if they score runs and take wickets, they’ll get their chance, be it at Interprovincial or international level – it’s certainly not the end of the road for them at such a young age.
“While I accept it might feel like the end of the world for those who haven’t been selected, they should take heart from the fact that both Kyle McCallan and Paul Mooney both missed out at Under 19 level – Kyle went on to become Ireland’s most capped player, while Paul played 84 times taking over 100 wickets and playing in the 2007 World Cup. It just shows you that with the right attitude and determination to prove the selectors wrong, it can prove to be a catalyst for relaunching their careers.”
Irish skipper Dockrell has been in prolific form this season, and is hopeful of Ireland continuing to impress on the world stage:
“I’m really looking forward to the tournament as a whole, testing ourselves against the best nations at this level with a group of guys who I’ve played with all through the various age groups.
“There’s an expectation now surrounding Irish cricket as the senior side has done so well in previous World Cups with a number of big scalps and we’ll be attempting to emulate that success. We haven’t beaten a major Test playing nation yet at this level so we’d like to take the spirit and attitude of the senior squad into our cricket and hopefully get a major scalp at this tournament.
“On the other side of the coin there’s a certain respect now when Irish cricket is mentioned. Teams know we won’t be a walkover and we’re going to give them a good fight. They know they’re going to have to be at their best as we can challenge them and potentially beat them.
“There’s no doubt we’ve been drawn in a very strong group with a very talented England side and the defending champions Australia with so many talented players in their ranks on their home soil isn’t going to be easy. However the composition of the tournament means that if we can manage a win against one of them we could find ourselves qualifying. Anything can happen in cricket – one batsman or bowler can put their hand up on the day and anything’s possible. We’ll be going out there with the attitude that we can win one if not two of those games and progress to the next round.”
While Ireland’s preparations have been hampered by having 5 of their 6 warm up games washed out, they will face England in two youth ODI’s games at Leicester on July 18 and 20. They depart for Australia on July 25th for a training camp in Darwin ahead of the start of the World Cup. They will play warm up games in Brisbane against Afghanistan and Sri Lanka before the tournament proper gets under way for them on August 12 against England.
The squad in full is follows:
George Dockrell (captain) (Somerset), Scott Campbell (Coleraine), Peter Chase (Malahide), Adam Coughlan (North County), Shane Getkate (North County), Ryan Hunter (Donemana), Tyrone Kane (Merrion), Robin Kelly (Pembroke), Andrew McBrine (Donemana), Graeme McCarter (Gloucestershire), Barry McCarthy (Pembroke), Alistair Shields (North Down), Patrick Tice (Merrion), Jason Van der Merwe (Muckamore), Ben Wylie (Instonians).
Ryan Eagleson (Coach), Brian Walsh (Manager), Peter Johnston (Assistant Coach), Paul McKenzie (Video Analyst), Declan Norris (Physio).
Ross Adair (Holywood), Robert Forrest (Clontarf), Hugh MacDonnell (Leinster), Sam Shannon (Instonians).