Johnston to captain weakened Ireland
Trent Johnston will captain Ireland for the two one-day matches against West Indies A later this month and the World Cricket League Division One one-dayers between July 1 and 10. The selectors announced the squads for the two series and the key players missing are current captain William Porterfield, wicketkeeper Niall O'Brien and fast bowler Boyd Rankin.
All three have been omitted because they have county commitments. The new faces in the squad are Albert van der Merwe, the offspinning allrounder, and Sussex fast bowler Craig Young. Andrew Poynter, who's in both squads, has been rewarded for his impressive start to the season for both his club, Clontarf, and Ireland A.
"The county players have one and four-day games over the period, so we have to plan without them. It's always a balancing act with the counties, and we've got bigger games ahead," Ireland coach Phil Simmons said. "We're looking at alternatives in the bowling. The quick bowling is our weakest area, so it's a chance for us to try out Craig Young to see what he can do, and also Phil Eaglestone, who has been on the periphery now for a few seasons. In the spin department, Albert van der Merwe has started the season well with his club, so he'll get his opportunity. It'll be a chance too for me to see Rory McCann with Niall [O'Brien] unavailable.
"While I agree it doesn't look the strongest squad at first glance, don't forget there are still eight or nine of the team who started the games in the ICC World Twenty20. In a way, it might be a good thing that these guys aren't available, as it gives those drafted in a great chance to force their way into the reckoning for the World Cup next year."
Ireland's games against West Indies A are at Stormont on June 23 and 25.
Squad for WCL: Trent Johnston (capt), Andre Botha, Alex Cusack, George Dockrell, Phil Eaglestone, Nigel Jones, Rory McCann, John Mooney, Kevin O'Brien, Andrew Poynter, Paul Stirling, Albert van der Merwe, Andrew White, Gary Wilson, Craig Young.
Squad for West Indies A : Trent Johnston (capt), Andre Botha, Alex Cusack, George Dockrell, Phil Eaglestone, Nigel Jones, John Mooney, Kevin O'Brien, Andrew Poynter, Paul Stirling, Albert van der Merwe, Andrew White, Gary Wilson