Ireland news December 20, 2010

No surprises in preliminary Ireland squad

ESPNcricinfo staff

There were no surprises in Ireland's preliminary 22-man squad for the World Cup, with Will Porterfield to captain and Ed Joyce set to return to international cricket with Ireland more than five years after his last match for the country of his birth.

Ireland's emphasis appeared to be on experience, with seven of the players currently attached to English counties and eight members of the squad having participated in the last World Cup in the West Indies in 2007.

"There's a lot of experience in the squad, but that's balanced by the fact we've got a few exciting youngsters as well," explained coach Phil Simmons. "Both Paul Stirling and George Dockrell have turned in some great performances in 2010, and the World Cup will be a great stage for them.

"Our training camp in India last month went well and it was fantastic preparation for the conditions which we'll be facing when the tournament starts."

Questions do however remain over the fitness of two members of the squad. Fast bowler Boyd Rankin is suffering from a long-term foot injury that first flared up in January this year and, after a short recovery, ruled him out of Ireland's World Cup training camp in India. Left-arm spinner Regan West is recovering from a shoulder injury.

"Boyd is bowling again and on track to be fully fit for the tournament," said Simmons. "Regan is working hard after his shoulder operations, and will undergo a final fitness assessment before the final squad is announced. We're still hopeful that he'll make it."

Ireland will travel to Dubai in January for a pre-World Cup training camp, and have scheduled warm-up games against New Zealand and Zimbabwe in Nagpur before their first game in the competition proper against Bangladesh in Dhaka on February 25. India, England, Netherlands, South Africa and West Indies are the other teams in Ireland's group.

Preliminary Ireland squad: William Porterfield (capt), Andre Botha, Alex Cusack, George Dockrell, Phil Eaglestone, Allan Eastwood, James Hall, Trent Johnston, Nigel Jones, Ed Joyce, Rory McCann, John Mooney, Kevin O'Brien, Niall O'Brien, Andrew Poynter, Boyd Rankin, Paul Stirling, Albert van der Merwe, Regan West, Gary Wilson, Andrew White, Craig Young.

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