I said last week that I thought there might be a couple of new faces in the squad to tour The Caribbean next week. They have emerged as Craig Young and one that we know slightly more about- Andrew Poynter.
Other than those two names, it is a fairly similar squad to the one that toured the UAE last year.
One notable omission from that trip is James Shannon, I know 'Shanno' will be disappointed and he probably feels that he didn't get much of a chance to make a big score on that tour. He did only get two games and I feel for him to an extent.
One thing I do know, is that Shanno is an extremely talented player, in my opinion the best young batsman we have seen since Paul Stirling came into the side five years ago. I've said this before, the fact that we have had such a settled squad now for the last five years or so means that opportunities for players outside of that 14 or 15 have been limited at best.
I believe that James is a player that has suffered because of that fact. If he had been thrown in and given a number of games to succeed in the full Ireland side I have no doubt that he would have done very well. It's both his bad luck and the selectors good fortune that they have been able to pick virtually the same strongest squad for a number of games.
Within those squads there have obviously been changes to the team and Shanno deserved his chance when he got it late last year. I just hope that he can go back to Instonians and the Northern Knights and score the bucket load of runs that he is capable of to force his way back into the reckoning.
One man's misfortune is another man's gain and in fact James Shannon is now, where Andrew was two years ago. At the time Andrew was probably another victim of being a tourist without playing a huge amount of first team cricket. He has done exactly what James needs to. He's gone away and scored his runs, forced the selectors to pick him again and he is now on the plane.
Andrew is an incredibly dangerous player, especially in the shorter forms of the game and in fact was probably what we were crying out for in Dubai at the qualifiers last year. Even though we won all of our games there was probably a spot in the order for someone like him. I remember the way he played at the qualifiers two years ago where he came in and really played with the freedom you need in T20 cricket. It's great to have him back involved and I believe he will be stronger and more experienced for being left out a few years ago.
The other new face is someone I don't know a huge amount about. Craig has been over at Sussex for the last few years, has suffered a couple of fairly serious injuries and has done an excellent job to be back fighting fit. A strong, bustling bowler with a quick arm who can bowl mid eighties, he could be exactly what we are looking for.
There are going to be opportunities over the next couple of years for bowlers to step up to the mark and Youngy gets that first chance. I've only seen him bowl in a match once, two years ago when Surrey 2nd XI were taking on Sussex and I remember at the time thinking he was the most difficult bowler to face in that game.
We leave on Tuesday and with a very balanced, experienced squad and we'll be going there to win games of cricket. The Caribbean holds many happy memories for Irish cricket and Jamaica and Sabina Park in particular as we all know was almost the birthplace of Ireland on the world stage.
Let's hope there are more to come this year.
Another piece of news to emerge over the last four or five days is that the ICC are considering a revamp of their administration and within that have mooted the possibility of a two tier test league. Suddenly the idea of a Test match at Malahide or Stormont may not be too far away.
This, as we all know, would be a huge step forward for cricket in Ireland. Suddenly there would be tv deals in place for games, allowing demand for greater sponsorship deals. The money coming from the ICC would almost certainly multiply by few times and with that the responsibility of the players and administration would multiply as well. This is what we have been waiting for and as far as we are concerned, the sooner the better.