Ed Joyce and Hamish Marshall named in Ireland touring party
Former internationals Hamish Marshall and Ed Joyce have been named in Ireland's 17-man squad for their upcoming tour to India. Marshall, the former New Zealand batsman, is included for the first time, while Ed Joyce is back in an Ireland squad after trying his hand with England. Joyce last played for Ireland in the ICC Trophy final against Scotland in July 2005.
Both players don't become eligible to play for Ireland in official ODIs until April next year, but Ireland have asked the ICC for a special dispensation to allow both to take part in the World Cup which starts next February - a decision on their participation is expected from the ICC soon.
Alex Cusack returns after his recent operation, which ruled him out of Ireland's tour to Zimbabwe. The remainder of the squad contains few surprises, with Boyd Rankin and Regan West still out recuperating from their injuries.
The squad will be based at the Pune Sports Club from November 1 to 22, and will play four matches against invitational sides made up of first-class cricketers. The tour is a key part of Ireland's preparation for the World Cup, which will be held in India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh next year.
Ireland coach Phil Simmons feels the tour will not only give his team a chance to bond but also crucial experience of the conditions they will confront at the World Cup. "It's a fantastic opportunity for the squad to acclimatise and bond together during the three weeks in India. I've put together a demanding programme covering physical, technical and tactical elements. We'll also be playing four games against quality opposition, so the players will get a chance to impress in subcontinental conditions."
Although Joyce and Marshall aren't officially available yet, Simmons said the tour was a great opportunity for them to get to know the other players and vice-versa, as well as providing depth to the squad. He also emphasised the need to do well in the World Cup, as the 2015 event has been reduced to 10 teams.
"It's vital we stay high in the world rankings, and continue to compete and indeed defeat full member countries. We've reached the quarter final stage of two of the last three major tournaments, and that could well have been three in a row bar the rain intervening in our game with England in Guyana."
Ireland squad: William Porterfield (capt), Andre Botha, Alex Cusack, George Dockrell, Allan Eastwood, Trent Johnston, Nigel Jones, Ed Joyce, Hamish Marshall, John Mooney, Kevin O'Brien, Niall O'Brien (wk), Andrew Poynter, Paul Stirling, Albert van der Merwe, Andrew White, Gary Wilson.