Ian Callender (Belfast Telegraph)
TYRONE Kane has been catapulted into the Ireland squad for the World Twenty20 qualifying tournament next month following a series of impressive performances in this year’s inter-provincials.
The Merrion all-rounder is the only uncapped player in the 15-man squad with Max Sorensen, originally left out of the World Cup squad, again the player to miss out.
Kane took a hat-trick against the Northern Knights and a five-wicket haul in the T20 game against the North West Warriors just 11 days ago and the Ireland selectors, now headed by new coach John Bracewell, have promoted him to the squad which, of course, includes the four county professionals who have been regulars in the NatWest T20 Blast this season, William Porterfield, Niall O’Brien, Paul Stirling and Gary Wilson, plus Kevin O’Brien who is also playing for Leicestershire in the competition.
Alex Cusack, who has been rested from the Intercontinental Cup game against UAE, which started in Malahide today, is recalled as is Coleraine opening bowler Graeme McCarter and there is also a place for Durham’s Stuart Poynter, although he hasn’t featured for Durham this season.
The biggest surprise is the omission of his brother, Andrew, who has scores of 52 (from 47 balls) and 35 (off 22) for Leinster Lightning this season and was Ireland’s third highest scorer at last year’s World Twenty20 in Bangladesh, behind Porterfield and Joyce.
Both Andrew Poynter and Sorensen have been included in the squad for the games against Scotland at Bready from June 18-21 when Porterfield, Wilson and Niall O’Brien are not available – Stuart Poynter will keep wicket – while the other county professionals will be flying in and out, depending on their fixture list in England, but Bracewell has welcomed the three-match series.
"I know all too well about local rivalries and bragging rights, so I'm certain the matches against Scotland will be incredibly competitive - but that's just what we need,” he said.
"It certainly was a very hard decision to omit the two guys and they are naturally disappointed. They are included in the Scotland series, so they have a chance to impress should they be needed in case of injuries during the qualifiers.”
World T20 Qualifier squad: W Porterfield (capt), A Balbirnie, A Cusack, G Dockrell, T Kane, A McBrine, G McCarter, J Mooney, K O’Brien, N O’Brien, S Poynter, P Stirling, S Thompson, G Wilson, C Young
Scotland T20 series (as above) plus A Poynter, M Sorensen, minus W Porterfield, N O’Brien, G Wilson.