William Porterfield has been named captain of the Ireland squad for the two-ODI RSA series against Bangladesh. George Dockrell and Andrew Poynter replaced Gary Kidd and Peter Connell from the side that performed creditably against Australia last month.
Coach Phil Simmons was happy with the make-up of the squad despite missing a couple of key players to injuries. "It's more or less as strong a squad as we could wish to have. We are still missing Andre Botha with a back injury, and of course Regan West who has been out all summer. The players know just how vital these games are from a number of viewpoints."
Simmons acknowledged that the series against Bangladesh would be vital to Ireland's development in the game. "There are crucial ranking points at stake as we attempt to climb the ODI table, and it's a good benchmark for us to play the teams close to us. We are looking for a regular diet of international cricket, and good performances in this RSA series can only help us achieve that," he said.
Ireland have put it past Bangladesh in the past and Simmons hoped his side could do likewise again. "We have performed well against Bangladesh in the last two World Cups, beating them in Barbados in 2007, and again last year at Trent Bridge in the World Twenty20. On our own patch and conditions, there's no reason why we can't do it again."
Poynter will fly to Jersey immediately after the two games to lead Ireland A in the European Championships taking place in Jersey from July 13 to 19. Albert van der Merwe will captain the side until Poynter's arrival, while Jeremy Bray will act as a player-cum-coach for the inexperienced side which includes seven players from the Ireland side at the Under-19 World Cup earlier this year in New Zealand.
Simmons believed the European Championships represented an opportunity for the youngsters to push forth their claims for national selection. "It's an important competition as it gives the players a chance to claim a spot in the squad for the World Cup next year. There are places on the plane to be had, and it's up to the guys to show me what they can do. They know what a great opportunity this tournament offers them.
"I'll be travelling to Jersey after the Bangladesh games so I can see first-hand just what they have to offer in match situations. Andrew Poynter has scored half-centuries in recent games against West Indies A and Afghanistan. He has a good cricketing brain and is always thinking about the game. I think he has got real leadership qualities and will do a good job," Simmons said.
Ireland squad for Bangladesh series: William Porterfield (capt), Alex Cusack, George Dockrell, Trent Johnston, John Mooney, Kevin O'Brien, Niall O'Brien, Andrew Poynter, Boyd Rankin, Paul Stirling, Andrew White, Gary Wilson.
Ireland A squad for European Championships: Andrew Poynter (capt), Jeremy Bray, Andrew Balbirnie, Jordan Coghlan, Shane Getkate, James Hall, Gary Kidd, Rory McCann (wk), Graham McDonnell, Niall McDonnell, James Shannon, Stuart Thompson, Albert van der Merwe, Craig Young.