Gary Wilson has been left out of the Ireland T20 squad for the Oman Quadrangular T20 tournament and the away bilateral series against Afghanistan, as he continues to recover from a medical condition. Wilson had been diagnosed in December last year with a condition that has affected his vision. And while he is expected to be on the road to recovery, the forthcoming tour is a little too early for the process to be completed. In Wilson's absence, 28-year old opening batsman Paul Stirling will take over the captaincy.
Speaking from Bangladesh, where he is currently engaged in the 2019 BPL, Stirling said: "It's a privilege to have been asked to captain the side in Gary's absence, I will relish the challenge. Having started off in this side as a young player in 2008, the influence of senior players like Trent Johnston, Kyle McCallan, Andrew White and Ed Joyce were huge in developing the cricketer and the person. Myself, along with the other senior players and management in this squad, will look to create an environment where players coming through who are hungry for success can flourish both on and off the field.
"It is a big year ahead for us with the T20 World Cup Qualifiers coming up in October, so the importance is growing with each game we play.
"It has been pleasing to see some brilliant individual performances in Sri Lanka with the Ireland Wolves, and look forward to seeing these players grab their opportunities when they arise. This will be a great chance for the team to showcase their skills against high quality opposition, both in Oman and India."
Among the fresh faces in the T20 squads for the quadrangular series and the India tour are Harry Tector, the 19-year old Ireland Wolves captain, and allrounders Shane Getkate and Joshua Little. James McCollum, the 23-year old opening batsman, and James Cameron-Dow, the 28-year old left-arm spinner, have been named in the ODI and Test squads to face Afghanistan, while Lorcan Tucker, the 22-year old wicketkeeper-batsman finds a place in all four squads.
"Oman and the Afghan series in India offer up two very distinct challenges for us," Andrew White, the chairman of selectors, said. "This will be our first major tour since becoming a Full Member, and we're certainly looking forward to some good, competitive cricket in challenging conditions. This is what top-tier international cricket is all about.
"With regards to some of the new faces, there is no denying the performances of James McCollum, James Cameron-Dow, Shane Getkate and Harry Tector on the current Ireland Wolves tour have impressed selectors. For McCollum, it hasn't just been his runs but the manner in which he has scored them in subcontinent conditions that has impressed us most. His assuredness at the top of the order has been an asset for the Wolves team.
"James Cameron-Dow may, for many fans, come as a bit of an unexpected surprise on this Wolves tour - but we have had our eye on him for a while now. His progress and development throughout the tour has been promising. He certainly offers us a good spin option for the Indian wickets we will play on against Afghanistan.
"Shane Getkate has had an outstanding white-ball series for the Wolves in Sri Lanka and Harry Tector has been a consistent performer at under-age levels, and now led two national teams - the Under-19s squad to the World Cup last year and now the Ireland Wolves."
Ireland will play five matches against Oman, Scotland, Netherlands, and an Oman Development XI in the Quadrangular series. They will then head to India, the adopted home of the Afghanistan team, for three T20Is and five ODIs. The limited-overs leg will be followed by the first-ever Test match between the two sides since both became Full Members of the ICC.
"A big part of that tour will be the Test match - we have seen some great Test cricket over the winter and I expect this to be a great contest away from home," William Porterfield, the captain of the Test and ODI teams, said.
"We have a great balance throughout the squad and it's great to see some new faces that have been putting in performances for the Wolves get the opportunity.
"I'm gutted for Gary that he is going to miss the tour and wish him a speedy recovery. I would also like to wish Paul Stirling the very best of luck in leading the lads into the next few weeks of T20s."