Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Josh Little to join Ireland T20 World Cup squad after IPL

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Josh Little will stay at the IPL until Gujarat Titans’ final game, with Cricket Ireland allowing him to miss their T20I series against Pakistan and tri-series in the Netherlands which form the basis of their preparation for June’s T20 World Cup.

Ireland’s selectors named a 15-man provisional squad for the World Cup on Tuesday, which is unchanged from the squad which faced Afghanistan in their most recent T20I series. The same group will face Pakistan in three T20Is, starting in Dublin on Friday, then will play a tri-series with Netherlands and Scotland from May 19-24.

Little, who took 4 for 45 in his first appearance of the IPL season on Saturday, left India mid-tournament last year in order to feature in Ireland’s ODI series against Bangladesh, when World Cup qualification was at stake. But he has been allowed to stay for the duration this year and, barring an unlikely play-off charge, will return home after Titans’ final group match on May 16.

Paul Stirling, who replaced Andy Balbirnie as Ireland’s white-ball captain last year, will appear at his eighth successive T20 World Cup. He has played in 21 of Ireland’s 25 previous men’s T20 World Cup matches and is the fifth-highest run-scorer in men’s T20I history.

He leads a squad that has only changed slightly from 2022, when Ireland reached the Super 12s by beating West Indies and Scotland in the first round before shocking eventual champions England in the second stage.

Three players have been named in the 2024 squad who were not involved 18 months ago: Ross Adair, an attacking batter and the older brother of seamer Mark; Neil Rock, the back-up wicketkeeper-batter to Lorcan Tucker; and Ben White, the legspinner. Stephen Doheny, Fionn Hand, Conor Olphert and Simi Singh all miss out.
“The squad is one that we have gradually developed and tested out over the last 18 or so months,” Heinrich Malan, Ireland’s coach, said. “The skillsets we need to cover are there, albeit we have allowed Josh [Little] to continue in the IPL until his side end their campaign, so he will likely join us ahead of the big tournament.

“We have an intensive block of T20 cricket coming up this month ahead of the T20 World Cup – we have seven games in 15 days as preparation for the tournament. We will not be treating those seven games as warm-ups, though, we’ll be aiming to win as many of those games as possible.”

Ireland start their T20 World Cup campaign against India at Nassau County International Cricket Stadium – the temporary stadium near New York City – on June 5 and will face Canada at the same venue two days later. They will then travel to Lauderhill, Florida to face USA and Pakistan on June 14 and 16 respectively.

Ireland squad for Pakistan T20Is, Netherlands tri-series and T20 World Cup: Paul Stirling (capt), Mark Adair, Ross Adair, Andy Balbirnie, Curtis Campher, Gareth Delany, George Dockrell, Graham Hume, Josh Little*, Barry McCarthy, Neil Rock (wk), Harry Tector, Lorcan Tucker (wk), Ben White, Craig Young.

*Little to join squad before World Cup

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