Ireland's long search for a wicket-taking leg-spinner could be over with the emergence of Pembroke teenager JJ Garth.
The Ireland U19 international played for Ireland A on both their tour to Sri Lanka in January, as well as their series against Namibia, held in South Africa this March.
Garth acquitted himself well, and is highly rated by Academy Coach Pete Johnston who has overseen his development in recent years.
“Although only 19, JJ has been around the Academy and Pathway for a long time and already has a great deal of experience," said Johnston.
"He competed in an Under-19 World Cup having just turned 17, and has played for the Ireland Wolves on many occasions, including against Bangladesh A, Sri Lanka A and recently the Namibian senior team.
“He’s a hard worker, always with a positive mindset, and has earned this opportunity to join the senior training squad. I’ve no doubt that making the step up to be part of a senior team tour like this will be another great learning experience for him and that he will continue to develop his game and professionalism.”
(JJ Garth in action for Ireland U19s against Scotland in the World Cup Qualifiers)
Garth comes from a cricketing family, with both his parents as well as his sister Kim all playing senior internationals.
Over the past two decades Ireland have searched for a successor to Conor Hoey, with Greg Thompson handed a debut at just 16.
In more recent times Jacob Mulder was tried with varying degrees of success, while Simi Singh and indeed Paul Stirling have all tried their hand at an art which has become such a potent weapon in world cricket.
Gareth Delany has had some success in the games he has played, although batting is clearly his strongest suit.
Although still a teenager, Garth has been plying in his trade for eight years, and has learned his arts from some of the top coaches in the country.
“I started bowling leg spin when I was about 11 or 12 years old. I was bowling pace up until then, but it was suggested to me to try leg spin as there were so many seamers in Leinster.
“While my father has always been a significant influence on my cricket, I have to give credit to Kamal Merchant who has played a big role in developing my leg spin. Coming up through Under-17s and Under-19s, Nigel Jones and Ryan Eagleson have also been great support.
“Since turning to spin I have developed a great appreciation for leg spinners Rashid Khan and Imran Tahir.”
Garth is involved in the Ireland intra-squad game which starts this afternoon (WED) in Southampton at 2pm.
The Irish will then face England Lions on Sunday when the 22-man squad will be whittled down to the 14 who will take on England in a three-match ODI-series at the same venue.