THERE was more good news for North West cricket on the international stage this week following the announcement of the Ireland squad for next month’s World T20 Qualifiers in the UAE.
Skipper William Porterfield is to be joined in the 15-strong panel by both Stuart Thompson and Andrew McBrine as Phil Simmons’ charges attempt to make the finals of this competition for a fourth successive time.
The Irish boys have been seeded No1 in Group A of the 16-team event from which six qualifiers will go forward to the finals in Bangladesh next April.
Ireland coach Phil Simmons admitted the squad didn’t contain many surprises. “There’s no secret that I like a lot of experience in my squads and this one’s no different,” he said.
“Most of the guys have played in World Cup finals and are used to pressure, which always comes with these qualifying tournaments.
“There are a couple of fairly fresh faces in as well and Andrew McBrine for example deserves an opportunity. He’s done very well this season and his bowling will be a useful asset on the slower pitches in the UAE.”
The Donemana man was naturally delighted to have been named in the travelling party and received the news just days before jetting off to Benidorm with a few of his cricket friends in the North West.
“I got a call from Phil Simmons at the weekend and while I was delighted to be given the nod I did have to explain that a number of us were flying to Spain on Wednesday for Aggie’s (Andrew Riddles’) stag party.
“Thankfully the head coach was very understanding so I’ll be arranging to head down to Dublin next week to meet up with him when we get back,” he said.