Kevin O'Brien to lead Ireland against Australia A
Ireland have named uncapped 19-year-old left-arm spinner Scott Campbell in their squad for the first-class match against the touring Australia A side that begins on Friday. In the absence of William Porterfield, Kevin O'Brien will captain Ireland, who have Trent Johnston and Max Sorensen fit after recent injuries.
Porterfield is among a group of first-choice players, including Ed Joyce, Niall O'Brien and George Dockrell, who are not included due to county commitments, although Middlesex's Paul Stirling is included. Cricket Ireland has announced that entry for the game at the Civil Service ground in Stormont will be free.
"Scott is the next spinner in line behind George Dockrell," Ireland coach Phil Simmons said. "He's impressed me when I've watched him bowl for Ireland A and the Under-19 side. These type of games against real top quality opposition will be vital for him in his cricketing development and will help him improve. I've said before that four-day cricket is where players really learn how to play the game, and it's great that the team are getting this type of exposure against high calibre opposition."
Johnston, who had been suffering from an Achilles problem, Sorensen (finger) and Peter Connell (hamstring) all passed fitness tests to be included in the 14-man squad. Last month, Ireland narrowly failed to beat Pakistan in their two-match ODI series; they also have an ODI against England scheduled for September.
O'Brien said: "It's always an honour to lead your country and I'm extremely proud to have been given the opportunity. There's no doubt that it will be tough against a team with ten Test players and seven of their Ashes squad. It's a great opportunity for our players and I'm sure they will take it. You always want to test yourself against the best and their bowling attack will certainly be amongst the toughest we've faced in international cricket. It should be a great spectacle of cricket and a challenge I'm certainly looking forward to."
Ireland could become the first international opposition for Fawad Ahmed, after the Pakistan-born spinner was added to the Australia A squad ahead of an anticipated Ashes call up. On Sunday, Australia A completed a crushing, 360-run win over Scotland, although Ireland will be expected to provide stiffer opposition. The tour concludes with a three-day game against Gloucestershire, starting on June 21.
Ireland squad Kevin O'Brien (captain), John Anderson, Scott Campbell, Peter Connell, Alex Cusack, Phil Eaglestone, Trent Johnston, John Mooney, Stuart Poynter, James Shannon, Max Sorensen, Paul Stirling, Stuart Thompson, Andrew White