Ireland usher in new era
Ian Callender (Belfast Telegraph)
IRELAND captain William Porterfield met Jacob Mulder for the first time today, just 24 hours before he could be leading out the North Down leg spinner when the international side returns to Twenty20 cricket at Bready (3.30pm).
Sweeping changes were demanded after the debacle of the World Twenty20 last March and, credit to the selectors, they made them with only five of the 15 players in India surviving for their return to the shortest format as the countdown begins to the next qualifying tournament, probably next year.
The two-game series – the teams meet again at Bready tomorrow – are not mandatory release games for the English counties, so once Durham wanted Barry McCarthy to play in their county championship match, which starts tomorrow, Ireland had to call in another player and Mulder’s impressive record (18 wickets) in this year’s inter-provincial action has earned him the call-up
“It's something I've been working hard for over the past four years so it's great to get an opportunity like this and hopefully I can make the most of it," said the 21 year-old.
Head coach John Bracewell said Mulder was “the most effective spinner” in the inter-pros this year.
"Jacob's inclusion is a two-part story really in that he's earned the right to be included with his performances and also he gives us variety in a style that is successful in world cricket," said Bracewell.
We need to have a look at potential leg-spinners especially when we are going to be out in Delhi for a month next year playing (Afghanistan) in three formats.”
It is very much an experimental line-up, with 16-year-old pace bowler Josh Little and wicket-keeper batsman Lorcan Tucker, both from Pembroke, the other uncapped players in the squad, while Greg Thompson’s batting form with Waringstown this season has earned him a recall - eight years after his last Ireland appearance - sealed by a stunning 109 in the T20 final against Lisburn last month.
Opening batsman David Rankin, on his home ground, should add to his sole cap, won, also at Bready, against Scotland last year, while also competing for batting slots are Sean Terry and Northern Knights skipper James Shannon whose last international was the World T20 qualifying final in Dubai, in 2013.
All four batsmen are capable of “clearing the ropes” which has been a major reason why Ireland have struggled in this format and can make up for the absence of Paul Stirling, the one other player from the last global event who would have been in this squad but he is playing for Middlesex this week.
Porterfield, fresh from a fourth consecutive victory in the Intercontinental Cup, against Hong Kong on Friday, is excited by the T20 squad he has been given.
There’s a lot of lads I haven’t met let alone see play, so I’m looking forward to seeing what they can do,” said the skipper. We don’t get a lot of fixtures in this format so it will be great to have a look at the young lads. They have done well in T20 cricket here and they deserve their chance.”
The unusual start time today – and it is the same again tomorrow – is because the game is the second of a double-header at the North West venue when the team follows the Ireland Women who face Bangladesh, also in T20 internationals, starting at 10.30am.