Nantie Hayward should be named as Ireland's first overseas professional of the season tomorrow.
The 30 year old South African, who has played 16 Test matches and 21 one day internationals - the last of which was in 2002 - will make his debut on Sunday in Ireland's second Friends Provident Trophy game against Somerset, at Taunton. Judged on yesterday's evidence at Stormont, he will be needed.
Ireland's first match on home soil after their World Cup exploits ended in a 58 runs defeat to Kent and the loss of opening bowler Boyd Rankin and batsman Eoin Morgan left Ireland vulnerable. The fact that neither played for Derbyshire nor Middlesex, in spite of being recalled by their counties, was a major disappointment to new coach Phil Simmons.
"I'm disappointed in as much as I think the counties would want them to play cricket. Morgan could have got some runs, found some form, but instead he is watching. But they know what's best for their squad," he said.
Not only was Rankin missing from the bowling attack but his opening partner in the World Cup, Dave Langford-Smith, was hit on the ankle in his second over and had to come off the field without completing his fifth. He then batted with a runner, last man out as Ireland were dismissed for 173. Simmons expects him to return for the double header against Somerset and Hampshire in England next Sunday and Monday when the coach will be looking for an improvement from his team, no matter what side takes the field.
"I think the guys were mentally tired rather than phsycially tired after a very busy week off the field. This week hopefully we can concentrate on practice and get ourselves more relaxation time. So, expect better from them next weekend," added Simmons.
The coach has also identified a batting overseas professional but whether Ireland can sign him will depend on the funds available after Hayward signs in.