22 December 2008

Ireland coach Phil Simmons this morning announced a preliminary RSA Senior team squad of 18 ahead of the World Cup Qualifers

The tournament which is being held in theGauteng region of South Africa from April 1-18 will see just four sides qualify for the 2011 Cricket World Cup, which is being held across the sub-continent.

There are no surprises in the 18, with Simmons happy to stick to the tried and trusted, with the 15 who won the Intercontinental Cup against Namibia in South Africa last month being selected. They are joined by Eoin Morgan, who missed that trip due to injury and Middlesex commitments, 18 year old Paul Stirling and Reinhardt Strydom.

Simmons explained, “I’ve decided to go with the group of players who have served us so well this past season. It’s hard to go outside that group, and the fact there’s so little cricket for us between then and the qualifiers makes it nearly impossible for anybody else to stake a claim.”

The former West Indian test star accepts that it’s going to be a difficult task to qualify, “We know it’s going to be tough for all the countries with just 4 places up for grabs. There’s going to be a lot of pressure games, but we have an experienced squad who have proven themselves over the years.”

Simmons outlined the preparations which he hoped will see Ireland capture one of the four available spots, “Thanks to the support from our generous team sponsor RSA, the Sports Councils, and the ICC high performance programme, we now have a full-time strength and conditioning coach on board, and we’re training and working hard in the nets. The players know what is expected from them, and we’ll certainly not be found wanting in terms of effort and fitness. We’ll spend probably two weeks beforehand in South Africa , and I’m currently putting the final touches to those plans.”

Ireland have been placed in a Group alongside Scotland, Canada, Namibia, Oman and the second placed team from World Division 3, which is due to be held in Argentina from January 24-31. The other group contains Kenya ,Netherlands , Bermuda , Denmark , UAE and the first placed team from WCL 3.

Simmons continued, “I’ll also name the A squad in early February, when we have to submit a list of 30 to the ICC for this competition. The ICC deadline for the submission of the final 15 is March 1st.  The ‘A’ team will train through March and April to ensure they are ready to replace any of the Senior squad should any of them have to drop out with injury.”

Commenting on the announcement Philip Smith, CEO of RSA Insurance, the official sponsor of Ireland’s National cricket teams said; “ We  wish Phil and the entire squad every success in the World Cup qualifying tournament. Cricket Irelandhas built a tremendous record of achievement over the past couple of years and, as sponsors, we are very proud to play a part in what will no doubt be further success by the National Senior team during 2009.”


The 18 named squad members are as follows:

  • William Porterfield - captain (Gloucestershire)
  • Andre Botha ( North County )
  • Peter Connell (North Down)
  • Alex Cusack (Clontarf)
  • Phil Eaglestone (Strabane)
  • Trent Johnston (Railway Union )
  • Kyle McCallan (Waringstown)
  • John Mooney ( North County )
  • Eoin Morgan (Middlesex)
  • Kevin O’Brien (Railway Union )
  • Niall O’Brien (Northants)
  • Andrew Poynter (Clontarf)
  • Boyd Rankin (Warwickshire)
  • Paul Stirling (Cliftonville)
  • Reinhardt Strydom ( North County )
  • Regan West (Civil Service North)
  • Andrew White (Instonians)
  • Gary Wilson ( Surrey )

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