Pace bowler Max Sorensen and wicketkeeper-batsman Andrew Poynter have missed out on Ireland's squad for the tour to UAE, which is a part of the side's final preparations for the 2015 World Cup. Allrounder Andrew White has also been ruled out due to a finger injury. The selectors have brought back Ed Joyce who had been rested from the side's tour to Australia and New Zealand.
Ireland are scheduled to play four ODIs between January 4 and 19, against Afghanistan and Scotland, and their World Cup squad is expected to be announced in early January.
Sorensen and Poynter were in the Ireland squad that played two one-day matches against New Zealand in the UAE recently. Prior to the series in the UAE, Poynter played the Associate Warm-up Matches in Australia and New Zealand, a tour Sorensen missed due to a fractured right wrist.
Phil Simmons, Ireland's head coach, said the selectors' decision to leave out Poynter and Sorensen was difficult but underlined the competition for places in the side. Simmons also praised pacer Craig Young, who made his ODI debut for Ireland earlier this year, and also picked out Peter Chase as an important player for the World Cup.
"We are backing young Donemana spinner Andrew McBrine who particularly impressed in the New Zealand leg of the acclimatisation tour, but it's very unfortunate for Andrew White that his finger injury came at such a bad time for him.
"Craig Young has been fantastic since he broke into the team, and has continued to develop, while Peter Chase is growing in confidence and skill all the time. Peter, with his pace and extra bounce, is important for the type of Australian wickets we will play on in the UAE."
Simmons also said that Andy Balbirnie had forced his way into the squad on the back of a string of consistent scores. Balbirnie was the top run-getter for Ireland XI during the Associate Warm-up Matches, and he followed it up with a century against New Zealand A in the UAE.
"Andrew Balbirnie's form with the bat has been outstanding, with excellent performances in Australasia and in Dubai recently against a strong New Zealand 'A' team," Simmons said. "His runs on tour have helped him force his way into the squad.
"It was a very difficult decision for the selectors to leave out Max Sorensen and Andrew Poynter but this just shows the competition for places in the squad."
Ireland squad for UAE: William Porterfield, Andrew Balbirnie , Peter Chase, Alex Cusack, George Dockrell, Ed Joyce, Andrew McBrine, John Mooney, Tim Murtagh, Kevin O'Brien, Niall O'Brien, Paul Stirling, Stuart Thompson, Gary Wilson, Craig Young