Ireland have announced a severely depleted 13-man squad for their one-dayers against India and South Africa due to get under way on June 23.
Though it is a wonderful opportunity to showcase Ireland's talent, several of their star players are missing through injury. Andre Botha, Dave Langford-Smith and, most disappointingly of all, Boyd Rankin have all failed to recover from their respective injuries in time, though it is expected they will be fit in time for the quadrangular series in July.
The batting also lacks depth and, to compound their troubles, both Jeremy Bray and Eoin Morgan have declared themselves unavailable while their allrounder, Peter Gillespie, has decided to call it a day.
"There's no doubt we have been badly hit by injuries," Phil Simmons, their coach, said. "Langford-Smith has a side injury, and this type of injury can be very slow to heal. Both Andre Botha (elbow injury) and Boyd Rankin (stress fracture of the fibula), are still two or three weeks away from full fitness, but I'm confident all three will be ready for the quadrangular tournament."
Injuries, though unfortunate, are part and parcel of the game but it is Morgan's case which is a greater concern, as more and more Ireland players pledge their future to England.
"Morgan has informed me that he isn't available for the ODIs because of his commitments with Middlesex," Simmons said. "He wants to qualify and play for England, and feels that by obtaining a regular place in the Middlesex team is the best way to achieve that."
"It's been a very difficult decision for me," MOrgan told cricketeurope.com. "I obviously love playing for Ireland and would like nothing better than to be lining out for them next weekend. Unfortunately there is a clash with my Middlesex commitments.
"I feel at this stage of my career, it's best if I cement my place in the Middlesex one-day side, and hopefully through good performances force my way into the reckoning for the four-day championship games. If I had gone away and played for Ireland, Middlesex indicated that if my replacement scored runs, then they would be above me in the fight for places. They weren't in a position to give me any guarantee about my place."
Simmons added: "Bray asked not to be considered for selection for these matches and Gillespie has decided to retire from representative cricket. The positive aspect to this is that a number of the younger players in the squad will now get a chance to show me what they are capable of. They have the opportunity to firmly establish themselves in the squad. I'm already starting to look ahead to the World Cup qualifiers in the UAE in 2009, and the composition of the team."
Ireland squad Trent Johnston (capt), Kenny Carroll, Alex Cusack, Thinus Fourie, Dominick Joyce, Gary Kidd, Kyle McCallan, Kevin O' Brien, Niall O' Brien, William Porterfield, Roger Whelan, Andrew White,Gary Wilson