IRELAND have named two uncapped players in their 15-man squad for next week’s Tri-Series against Scotland and Netherlands and barring injury will be the panel which will head to the T20 World Cup qualifiers next month.
Harry Tector and David Delany should both make their senior international debuts next week – the first of Ireland’s four games is against the Dutch on Sunday – in what chairman of selectors Andrew White has described a “dynamic and talented squad”.
Tector (19), who is considered one of the best fielders in Ireland, is primarily in the squad as a batsman Delany (21) as a bowler with extra pace joins his cousin Gareth Delany (22) who made his debut against Zimbabwe in July.
The other player in the squad who will feel like a new cap is CIYMS leg spinner Jacob Mulder, who hasn’t featured in an Ireland side since 2017 and whose last T20 international was against Afghanistan in Greater Noida two and a half years ago.
But extra pace and wrist spin are invariably successful in the shortest format and Mulder’s form for the Premier League champions – he took 47 wickets – this season carried into the weekend training camp and he could not be ignored this time.
Craig Young’s move to North Down has also paid dividends for the pace bowler and he keeps his place in the squad to the exclusion of Peter Chase, Barry McCarthy, Josh Little and Tyrone Kane.
Indeed, no fewer than nine players have been discarded since the last Tri-Series between the teams, in Deventer 15 months ago, with James Shannon, Simi Singh, Stuart Poyner, William Porterfield and Greg Thompson also falling by the wayside.
For Waringstown skipper Thompson, who turns 32 next week, it looks to be the end of his Ireland career after three spells, dating back to 2004 when he became Ireland’s youngest cricketer.
But the other members of Ireland’s exciting new lower middle order – with the ability to clear big boundaries – Mark Adair and Shane Getkate were automatic selections and when you add Stuart Thompson, Kevin O’Brien plus Tector and Gareth Delany they have three dimensional players, so key in the hurly-burly of T20 cricket.
Paul Stirling and O’Brien will continue their opening partnership, first tried with so much success in the quadrangular tournament in Oman last February, with Andrew Balbirnie – Ireland’s best batsman - to follow at No 3.
Captain Gary Wilson will be under pressure to score at better than a run-a-ball but his vast experience in county cricket will surely stand him in good stead and as wicket-keeper is in the perfect position to help the youthful bowling attack, in a format which is so batsman-friendly.
The squad is completed by the experience of Boyd Rankin, who missed the two games against Zimbabwe because of injury, and George Dockrel , with Lorcan Tucker (23) the reserve batter and wicket-keeper.
All six games in the series next week – each side plays the other twice - will be played at Malahide, starting at 1.30pm and there is free admission.