Niall McDonnell included for Pakistan ODIs
Uncapped opening batsman Niall McDonnell has been included in Ireland's 14-man squad for the upcoming two-match ODI series against Pakistan.
The squad includes 13 of the 15 players who were part of Ireland's World Cup campaign. The two players to miss out are left-arm spinner George Dockrell, who dislocated his shoulder during the World Cup match against Netherlands on March 18, and still hasn't recovered from the injury, and allrounder Andre Botha, who announced his retirement from internationals earlier this month.
Former New Zealand batsman Hamish Marshall, who became eligible to play for Ireland in April, was not considered because of a fractured right thumb sustained while playing for Gloucestershire against Middlesex earlier this month.
McDonnell, 31, scored a century for Ireland A against MCC in August last year and reacted with delight to his call-up. "I can honestly say that I can't find a word to describe how I felt when Peter Gillespie rang me," McDonnell said.
"I suppose it was a mixture of excitement, raw nerves and a little trepidation at being involved at this level. It's a dream come true in many ways and the prospect of batting with the likes of Paul Stirling, William Porterfield or Ed Joyce is some motivation."
Coach Phil Simmons said a strong performance against Pakistan would boost Ireland's chances for the 2015 World Cup with a decision still pending on a qualification tournament for the tournament.
"Everyone is aware of the importance of these games, not just in terms of ranking points but also in the bigger scheme of things with a decision pending on a qualification tournament for the 2015 World Cup. Two more strong performances against Pakistan will help in that regard.
"The 2007 World Cup win against Pakistan was the catalyst for the exponential growth for Irish cricket. I can see no reason why we can't repeat that success on home soil given the talent we now possess in our ranks.
"There aren't a lot of surprises [in the squad] as we haven't had any cricket since the World Cup finished. We'll train hard in the build-up to the game, and hopefully the conditions at Stormont will suit us. The county players have been playing some excellent cricket, and most of them seem to be in really good form which is encouraging for Irish cricket."
The two ODIs will be played on May 28 and 30 in Stormont.
Squad: William Porterfield, Alex Cusack, Trent Johnston, Nigel Jones, Ed Joyce, Niall McDonnell, John Mooney, Kevin O`Brien, Niall O`Brien (wk), Boyd Rankin, Paul Stirling, Albert Van der Merwe, Andrew White, Gary Wilson.