To help people cope (mostly by getting them to start arguments) Iíve put together a squad ladder ahead of the T20 World Cup.
At this point we donít know whether the tournament will be going ahead in October, but this is how I see the 15-man squad shaping up if it does.
This list isnít my personal choice, just how I think they selectors are shaping the squad.
- Paul Stirling ó Irelandís only world class player in T20Is and surely the first name on the teamsheet. His partnerships with Kevin OíBrien at the top of the order have been vital to Irelandís positive results since they came together. Can also slip a handy over of off-spin in here and there. Will need him to fire.
- Andrew Balbirnie (Captain) ó Not the most devastating T20 batsman, but the lynchpin of the batting unit at 3. His ability to find gaps and rotate the strike allows others to bat around him and his experience will be crucial in protecting the younger batters below him. Has started well as captain.
- Kevin OíBrien ó Loves the world stage. Big hitting at the top and bags of experience makes him Irelandís go-to man in a fight. Age is catching up on the 36 year old and his fielding isnít as sharp as it was. Could be his last international tournament.
- Boyd Rankin ó The big man from Bready will surely be leading the bowling attack as Irelandís only senior bowler. Bouncy Australian pitches should suit him, although the last time he visited wasnít a happy one with England.
- Gareth Delany ó The leg-spinning world number five all-rounder has cemented his place in the team, making himself useful on both sides of the ball. Batting at 4 heís helped turn around Irelandís middle order woes with his powerful hitting, while his flat bowling has proved an important source of wickets.
- Harry Tector ó A star in the making, the 20 year old has taken to international cricket like a duck to water, leading the scoring charts for Irelandís series against Afghanistan. Having impressed for the Wolves against Namibia too, heíll be the go-to man for death overs runs. Outstanding fielder too.
- Mark Adair ó Itís been a tough start of the year for Sparky, after a stellar 2019. Disappointing in the Caribbean when clearly not fit, then missed the Afghan series with the same injury. When fit he adds balance to the team batting at 8 and his variations with ball in hand make him an excellent T20 death bowler.
- Simi Singh ó Current incumbent of the 7 spot and holding off George Dockrell for the spinners role. Has turned in some star all-round performances already this year and if he can continue that form heís a must pick. Makes things happen.
- Josh Little ó For a 20 year old learning the hardest job in cricket ó T20 death over bowling ó Josh Little has shown remarkable resilience for his age. Didnít have a great tour to northern India, but impressed as he cliched the 1st T20 against West Indies, taking two wickets and conceding just 8 off the last over to win the game. Ireland view his left-arm variation as crucial to a balanced bowling attack.
- Craig Young ó Has gotten his career back on track and has probably sealed his spot as the third seamer following a brilliant super over against Afghanistan in which he conceded just 8 runs. The spot is his to lose.
- Lorcan Tucker ó Yet to make the gloves his having taken over from an ill Gary Wilson for the Afghan series. To be honest, this could be a toss up, with neither particularly impressing with the bat.
- Gary Wilson ó Will almost definitely make the squad with a lack of viable alternatives. As above, itís a toss-up between him and Tucker for the final XI, although the former captainís experience could win out in the end. Could cover a batting spot too, although his awful form may see Stephen Doheny preferred.
- Barry McCarthy ó After a poor showing in the West Indies T20s he bounced back superbly against Afghanistan, although it might not be enough to force himself into the XI. Will probably play if Boyd Rankinís body doesnít hold up for consecutive games.
- George Dockrell ó Will probably go as the spare spinner and utility man, capable of batting as high as 7 and a superb fielder. His bowling hasnít kicked on in recent years and it will cost him.
- Stephen Doheny ó Next cab off the rank for the batting line-up. Scored well on the Wolves tour to earn a call up as an injury replacement for the senior squad. Yet to make his senior debut, and with a lack of summer cricket it could be a baptism of fire for the Rush man.
- David Delany ó Looked a nailed on selection following the qualifying tournament, however injury has prevented him from kicking on. A 90+mph bowler, a lack of playing time this summer may mean he doesnít get the chance to prove his fitness. If fit and firing his pace could make a huge difference.
- Shane Getkate ó And now we come to the seam-bowling all-rounders. With Mark Adair having impressed so much in the role, it doesnít look like thereís another spot in the squad. Getkate is the closest however, having been picked in several squads in the last year. Hasnít shown enough to earn a spot so far.
- Curtis Campher ó Could be a flyer. The 20 year old dual-passport holder seriously impressed on the Wolves tour with bat, while contributing with the ball. Probably wonít get enough cricket to push for a place this time around.
- Tyrone Kane ó Another who impressed on the Wolves tour, but has a lot of challengers to pass on his way to the squad. Batting has improved immensely. Another who needs cricket to make a claim.
- Jacob Mulder ó The emergence of Gareth Delany has probably pushed him down this list as Ireland have suddenly solved their leg-spinner issue. Was impressive on the Wolves tour.
- Neil Rock ó Emergency keeper, though could have a route to the 15 if Gary Wilsonís recent health record is anything to go by. Made a good 50 on the Wolves tour, but more than likely a tournament too soon.
- Andy McBrine ó Consitently impressive in ODIs and was brilliant against the West Indies, but hasnít played a T20I in over three years and doesnít seem to be in the selectors' minds.
- Peter Chase ó Has dramatically fallen out of favour since taking 4/35 against India in 2018 and has only played two T20Is since. A high Economy Rate has seen him tumble down the fast bowling pecking order.
- Stuart Thompson ó Another whoís fallen quickly as younger players have taken their chances. An awful Wolves tour might have knocked him out of contention permanently.
- Nick Larkin ó The Wildcard. The Big Bash Star has indicated that he is open to a return to the green of Ireland, and selectors may find it difficult to refuse the big match experience and explosive batting of the New South Wales man if he is available. Obviously this list isnít exhaustive, and other have their chance to put their hands up if we get some cricket this summer.