Ireland news December 22, 2008

Ireland announce World Cup Qualifiers squad

Cricinfo staff

Ireland have announced their squad for next year's World Cup Qualifiers in South Africa.

There are no surprises in the 18 names, with the 15 who won the Intercontinental Cup against Namibia in South Africa last month all retaining their places. They are joined by Eoin Morgan, who missed that trip due to injury and Middlesex commitments, Paul Stirling and Reinhardt Strydom.

"I've decided to go with the group of players who have served us so well this past season," the coach Phil Simmons explained. "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.

"We know it's going to be tough for all the countries with just four 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."

Ireland have been placed in a group alongside Scotland, Canada, Namibia, Oman and the second-placed team from next year's World Cricket League 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 the World Cricket League.

"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," Simmons said. "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."

Simmons added that Ireland will name an A squad in early February who will be training in March and April to provide support to the senior squad in the event of injuries.

Squad William Porterfield (capt), Andre Botha, Peter Connell, Alex Cusack, Phil Eaglestone, Trent Johnston, Kyle McCallan, John Mooney, Eoin Morgan, Kevin O'Brien, Niall O'Brien (wk), Andrew Poynter, Boyd Rankin, Paul Stirling, Reinhardt Strydom, Regan West, Andrew White, Gary Wilson