IRELAND AT FULL STRENGTH FOR CRUCIAL ICUP CLASH

Table toppers Ireland will be at full strength for their crucial ICC InterContinental Cup clash with second placed Afghanistan in Greater Noida at the end of March.

Ed Joyce, Niall O'Brien, Tim Murtagh and John Anderson are named in the 14-man squad having missed the Desert T20 tournament.

CIYMS leg-spinner Jacob Mulder is named in the first-class squad for the first time, after impressing in the Desert T20 earlier this month, where he was the competition's leading wicket taker with ten victims.

"It's great to have such a wealth of experience to choose from," said Ireland Head Coach John Bracewell. "We had a full squad available which hasn't been the case with injuries in recent times but it's great to have everyone back with such a busy programme in March.

"While we haven't been at out best in limited overs cricket in recent times we have a great record in the InterContinental Cup where we've won all our four games taking full points.

"The players are all fully focused on winning the competition for a fifth time, especially with the chance of playing Test cricket on offer. Ed Joyce has been in supreme form in the tournament with two double hundreds and he clearly looks like a man on a mission.

"Young Jacob Mulder was the stand-out bowler in the T20 and the selectors felt he deserved his opportunity in the longer format. With the conditions in India likely to be spin-friendly his leg-spin gives us added variety which could be so important.

"Everyone is aware of the importance of the tour and we're preparing hard for what should be a highly competitive and challenging series."

In addition to the ICC InterContinental Cup match, Ireland will play three T20I's and five ODI's against Afghanistan - all in Greater Noida.

The Irish will prepare for the games with a ten-day training camp in the UAE, where they will play the hosts in two ODI's on March 2 and 4.

Pace bowler Boyd Rankin is being rested for the matches in the UAE, but will join the squad during the camp to prepare for the Afghanistan games.

Cricket Ireland also confirmed that top-order batsman Nick Larkin had ruled himself out of the running for a place in the Ireland ranks for the time being.

“After a lengthy period of discussion between Cricket Ireland and Nick Larkin, the player has finally clarified that his focus right now is on advancing his career with the NSW Blues in Australia," said Performance Director Richard Holdsworth.

"He is contracted there until 2018 and is not therefore available for Ireland during that period.”

Larkin made his Ireland debut at Stormont in July 2014 scoring 0 and 16 against Sri Lanka A, but hasn't featured for Ireland since then.

IRELAND SQUADS

ICC InterContinental Cup v Afghanistan
William Porterfield, John Anderson, George Dockrell, Ed Joyce, Jacob Mulder, Tim Murtagh, Andrew McBrine, Barry McCarthy, Kevin O’Brien, Niall O’Brien, Boyd Rankin, Paul Stirling, Gary Wilson, Craig Young

ODI squad v UAE
William Porterfield, Andrew Balbirnie, George Dockrell, Ed Joyce, Jacob Mulder, Tim Murtagh, Andrew McBrine, Barry McCarthy, Kevin O’Brien, Niall O’Brien, Paul Stirling, Stuart Thompson, Gary Wilson, Craig Young.

ODI squad v Afghanistan
William Porterfield, Andrew Balbirnie, George Dockrell, Ed Joyce, Jacob Mulder, Tim Murtagh, Andrew McBrine, Barry McCarthy, Kevin O’Brien, Niall O’Brien, Boyd Rankin, Paul Stirling, Stuart Thompson, Gary Wilson, Craig Young.

T20I squad v Afghanistan
William Porterfield, George Dockrell, Josh Little, Jacob Mulder, Andrew McBrine, Barry McCarthy, Kevin O’Brien, Boyd Rankin, Paul Stirling, Greg Thompson, Stuart Thompson, Lorcan Tucker, Gary Wilson, Craig Young.

Fixtures
Ireland v UAE, March 2 (ODI)
Ireland v UAE, March 4 (ODI)
Ireland v Afghanistan, March 8 (T20I)
Ireland v Afghanistan, March 10 (T20I)
Ireland v Afghanistan, March 12 (T20I)
Ireland v Afghanistan, March 15 (ODI)
Ireland v Afghanistan, March 17 (ODI)
Ireland v Afghanistan, March 19 (ODI)
Ireland v Afghanistan, March 22 (ODI)
Ireland v Afghanistan, March 24 (ODI)
Ireland v Afghanistan, March 28-31 (ICC INTERCONTINENTAL CUP)