No Niall O'Brien for Kenya tour
Niall O'Brien, the Ireland wicketkeeper-batsman, has not been picked in the Ireland squad for the tour of Kenya. O'Brien's participation in the Bangladesh Premier League makes his unavailable for part of the tour. He also hasn't been picked in the squad for the ICC World T20 qualifier in the UAE in March.
The tour of Kenya includes a four-day Intercontinental Cup match, two World Cup qualifying ODIs as part of the ICC's 50-over league and three Twenty20s. O'Brien said he would be available for the ODIs but the selectors said all players must be available for all parts of the tour, and didn't pick him.
"There were difficult matters for the selectors to discuss regarding Niall O'Brien's availability," Phil Simmons, the Ireland coach, said in a release. "They took on board Niall's offer to play in only the ODIs in Kenya, join the squad for part of the South Africa camp, and then the ICC World T20 Qualifier.
"However the selectors remained consistent to their principle, regarding that all players must be available for all parts of the tour. Niall was not able to make himself available for the whole tour and therefore the selectors have decided not to select him for any part of the tour including the ICC World T20 Qualifier.
"We are only selecting for this tour and the next selection will be for the RSA Challenge ODI versus Australia in June; at that point they will consider all available players. Niall has communicated that he still wishes to play for Ireland and the selectors will take that into consideration when they next meet."
O'Brien was picked up by Khulna Royal Bengal for US$80,000 at the BPL auctions; the tournament runs from February 9-20. O'Brien, 30, has been a key player for Ireland in their top order and is vastly experienced, having played 49 ODIs and 98 first-class matches.
The Ireland squad will be led by William Porterfield. Albert van der Merwe will only play in the Intercontinental Cup match between February 12-15, and Nigel Jones will join the squad from February 15 to take part in the ODIs and the T20s.
Ireland also announced a provisional squad of 17 for the ICC World T20 Qualifier in the UAE; a squad of 14 will be selected from this on February 12. The squad will also participate in a warm-up preparation camp in Port Elizabeth, South Africa.