Kevin O'Brien to lead Ireland against Namibia
With the county season reaching its end, a number of Ireland's players with commitments in England will miss the four-day Intercontinental Cup match between Ireland and Namibia in Belfast from September 6. The match was originally scheduled for early July but was postponed because the Namibia players were facing issues getting their visas. With regular captain William Porterfield missing the game, Kevin O'Brien has been appointed captain of a 13-man squad that includes some new names.
Stuart Poynter, the 21-year-old wicketkeeper, joins his older brother Andrew in the squad, while 18-year-old Graeme McCarter, who took 14 wickets in the recent Under-19 World Cup qualifying tournament, has also been included. Boyd Rankin, contracted with Warwickshire, Niall O'Brien, who plays for Northamptonshire, and Sussex's Ed Joyce will all miss the game, which is Ireland's first four-day match in this year's Intercontinental Cup. Trent Johnson will also miss the game with injury.
Ireland have recently announced they are planning to put a first-class structure in place in order to ultimately attain Test status, and this will be their first first-class match this year.
Kevin O'Brien has captained Ireland once before but only in List A games, and he said he was looking forward to leading the team in a longer format. "The four-day game gives skippers a chance to try different ideas and put their own stamp on the team," he said. "We have a few new faces in the squad for the game, with Stuart Poynter and Graeme McCarter both uncapped at senior level. This is an excellent chance for them, and the rest of the squad to make a mark ahead of the winter schedule."
Ireland had won the Intercontinental Cup three years in a row before Afghanistan won last year's event.
Ireland squad: Kevin O'Brien (captain), Alex Cusack, George Dockrell, Phil Eaglestone, Nigel Jones, Graeme McCarter, John Mooney, Andrew Poynter, Stuart Poynter, Paul Stirling, Albert van der Merwe, Andrew White, Gary Wilson.