Ireland news June 21, 2012

Ireland resume World Cup quest

ESPNcricinfo staff

Ireland resume their quest to qualify for the 2015 World Cup next month with two World Cricket League ODIs against Afghanistan. It is their first series since securing a place at the World T20 with victory in the qualifying event in the UAE.

Stuart Thompson, a 20-year-old allrounder, has been added to the squad for the two matches on July 3 and 5 at Clontarf. Thompson has been rewarded for his form for Ireland A, scoring 93 in helping his side to a record chase against Gloucestershire second XI and making 71 against Scotland A.

"Stuart's been very impressive this season and has a sound technique which will stand him in good stead at the higher level," Ireland coach Phil Simmons said of Thompson's inclusion. "He's also bowled pretty well at times and gives the squad plenty of options.

"These are two vital games - two wins would put us in a fantastic position to qualify but we're well aware of just how dangerous Afghanistan can be. We've had some tremendous tussles with them over the past few years."

Ireland currently lie joint top of the World Cricket League Championship with five wins from their first six games. Afghanistan are joint fifth with three wins from six games. The top two from the Championship automatically qualify for the 2015 World Cup.

Ireland also play an Intercontinental cup match against Afghanistan from July 9 to 12 at Rathmines, where Kevin O'Brien will captain a much-changed squad.

Ireland v Afghanistan, World Cricket League Championship, Clontarf, July 3 and 5

William Porterfield (capt), Alex Cusack, George Dockrell, Trent Johnston, Ed Joyce, John Mooney, Tim Murtagh, Kevin O'Brien, Niall O'Brien, Paul Stirling, Max Sorensen, Stuart Thompson, Andrew White, Gary Wilson

Ireland v Afghanistan, InterContinental Cup, Rathmines, July 9-12

Kevin O'Brien (capt), John Anderson, Andrew Balbirnie, Alex Cusack, Trent Johnston, Rory McCann, John Mooney, Paul Stirling, Max Sorensen, Stuart Thompson, Albert Van der Merwe, Andrew White, Ben Wylie