Ian Callender (Belfast Telegraph)
GARY Wilson is out of the Ireland squad that will face Afghanistan in a three-match series of Twenty20 internationals in Greater Noida, starting on Friday.
Wilson, Ireland’s third most capped player, has not recovered from the chest infection which kept him out of the Ireland Wolves one-day games on their South African tour last week and has returned home to Belfast.
He is replaced in the 14-man squad by the uncapped Stephen Doheny who ended up keeping wicket for Wolves in the final three games because of Wilson’s illness and Neil Rock's wrist injury and having scored 229 runs at an average of 32 on the eight-match tour, he was promoted to the senior squad as cover in both batting and wicket-keeping.
There was no guarantee that Wilson would have played all three games in India with Lorcan Tucker in the squad but the Pembroke keeper who kept in all three one-day internationals against West Indies in January is now certain to be first choice behind the stumps in the games on Friday, Sunday and Tuesday.
Although Tucker has played 14 Twenty20 internationals since his debut in 2016, he has kept wicket in only two of them, by coincidence both against Hong Kong.
Doheny, a 21-year-old with the Rush club in north Dublin, has been in the Irish system for some years. He has already played 30 games for the Wolves/Ireland Academy with a top score of 115, and although not the No 1 wicket-keeper for his club proved a capable deputy in Pretoria last week.
Speaking from Dublin before he flew out yesterday, Doheny said: “It’s obviously a great honour for me to be called up to the T20 squad. It will be a great learning experience.
“It is something I have been working hard towards for a long time and it is satisfying to know that all the many, many hours of training and preparation have paid off. I am aware the hard work is only really starting now.
“I’ve enjoyed a great winter away and had the opportunity to break down my game and work on specific skills.”
Unlike the other six Wolves players in the Ireland squad who were able to fly direct from South Africa to India on Sunday, Doheny had to return home as he had no visa, which was only sorted on Monday.
Ryan Eagleson, the current Academy Performance Coach, flies to India today to assist acting Head coach Rob Cassell who is standing in for injured Head Coach Graham Ford.