Murtagh included in Ireland squad
Tim Murtagh, the Middlesex seamer, has been named in Ireland's squad to face Australia in the one-day international at Stormont on June 23. Niall O'Brien has also been recalled after missing the World Twenty20 Qualifiers having chosen to play in the Bangladesh Premier League, but has not been guaranteed a starting place by the coach Phil Simmons.
Murtagh, who qualified for Ireland in February, was not included for the T20 Qualifiers in the UAE and so is in line for his international debut against Australia. He is enjoying a productive season for Middlesex in the County Championship with 32 wickets at 25.09. His inclusion will help cover for the absence of Boyd Rankin, the Warwickshire pace bowler, who is continuing his recovery from a foot injury. Murtagh is one of the eight county-based players in the 13-man squad.
"Although Tim Murtagh hasn't played for Ireland yet, he's been bowling superbly for Middlesex so that will soften the blow of losing Boyd," Simmons said. "Max Sorensen and Trent Johnston were fantastic in the UAE so we have plenty of options in the squad having so many allrounders. I've been following the English based players and there have been some fantastic performances from them at various stages this season."
Meanwhile O'Brien, who plays for Northamptonshire, has a chance to restart his international career. In his absence Gary Wilson, who is on the Surrey staff, was the wicketkeeper-batsman and Simmons has said that O'Brien cannot just expect to walk back in the side.
"There's no doubt he's among the best 14 players that Ireland have, but Gary Wilson did superbly in the UAE, so Niall knows he's going to have work hard and be at his best to regain the gloves."
Looking ahead to the contest against Australia, Ireland's latest chance to take on a Full-Member opposition, Simmons recalled the match two years ago when Ireland pushed Australia close.
"We had a great opportunity to beat them two years ago and threw it away," he said. "We've learned from that and are two years more experienced now - I'd back us to win that game at this stage given the same chance. These games are the sort of fixtures we've been crying out for and hopefully there will be many more of them in the coming years."
The squad will be captained by William Porterfield and also includes Sussex's Ed Joyce, Somerset's George Dockrell, who has impressed in the Championship this season, and Kevin O'Brien who has recently signed with Somerset for the Friends Life t20.
Squad William Porterfield (capt), Alex Cusack, George Dockrell, Trent Johnston, Ed Joyce, John Mooney, Tim Murtagh, Kevin O'Brien, Niall O'Brien, Max Sorensen, Paul Stirling, Andrew White, Gary Wilson.