Ireland opt for settled World T20 squad
Ireland have named an unchanged squad for the World Twenty20 from the one that is currently touring the West Indies. Four players, including James Shannon, who replaced John Mooney after the allrounder returned home due to a stress-related illness, will get the chance to play in their first World T20.
Ireland are currently on tour in the West Indies, where they played the domestic List A tournament - the Regional Super50 - and will play two T20Is and an ODI against the national side. Ed Joyce, who was rested for the Regional Super50, has been named in the World T20 squad.
There are just two changes from the group that won the World Twenty20 Qualifier in the UAE last year, with Andrew Poynter and Craig Young coming in for Moody and the retired Trent Johnston. Shannon, Poynter, Young and Andrew McBrine will all feature in the global T20 tournament for the first time.
"There were a few tough decisions for the selectors but we've kept faith with the squad who are currently in the Caribbean," Phil Simmons, the Ireland coach, said. "It was always going to be difficult for anyone to break into the final squad given the fact that we're in the middle of the off-season back in Ireland."
Simmons stressed that he was satisfied with Ireland's preparations for the world tournament. Following their West Indies tour, Ireland will have a week-long training camp in the UAE before leaving for the World T20.
Before their Group A match against Zimbabwe on March 17, Ireland will play two warm-up games against Nepal and Bangladesh. If they top Group A, beating Zimbabwe, Netherlands and UAE, Ireland will progress to the next round, taking on Sri Lanka, South Africa, New Zealand and England.
"If we progress from the initial group stage, we'll be going into the games against Sri Lanka, South Africa, New Zealand and England with a lot of game time under our belts, which could give us a serious advantage," Simmons said. "However, we'll be concentrating on the round one games first - that's the first hurdle for us."
Ireland squad for World Twenty20: William Porterfield (capt) (Warwickshire), Alex Cusack (Clontarf), George Dockrell (Somerset), Ed Joyce (Sussex), Andrew McBrine (Donemana), Tim Murtagh (Middlesex), Kevin O'Brien (Railway Union), Niall O'Brien (Leicestershire), Andrew Poynter (Clontarf), Max Sorensen (The Hills), James Shannon (Instonians), Paul Stirling (Middlesex), Stuart Thompson (Eglinton), Gary Wilson (Surrey), Craig Young (Bready).