Wasim surprise choice for Knights
Ian Callender (Belfast Telegraph)
Instonians professional Imad Wasim is the surprise choice for Northern Knight's Newstalk inter-provincial championship game against Leinster Lightning at College Park next week.
The Pakistani has been brought in as a like-for-like replacement for Craig Ervine, who is unavailable and brings with him a first class average of over 40 for Islamabad although his top score of 139 not out is one of only five centuries in 62 games.
The obvious selection for the Northern Knights' second three-day game would have been CIYMS opener Rassie van der Dussen, who is the leading run-scorer in the NCU with 388 runs at an average of almost 130, more than twice as good as Wasim who has scored 69 runs fewer.
Coach Eugene Moleon explained his selection. "Ideally we would have liked to have gone down the local player route but the two stand-out players this season, James Hall and Ryan Haire, have both made themselves unavailable for the inter-provincials.
"So we decided to replace a pro (albeit one who has an Irish passport) with another pro who bats in the middle order," said Moleon.
"His left arm spin was probably the deciding factor.
"James Cameron-Dow will still be our number one spinner but they can work with each other over the three days and also help Jacob (Mulder, the young CIYMS leg spinner, who retains his place in the squad).
There is only one other change to the squad that beat the North West Warriors at Stormont, with Mark Adair replacing Civil Service North team-mate Allan Coulter who has been rested to give his shin splints, which curtailed his bowling to just 13 overs last week, time to recover.
Phil Eaglestone and Nigel Jones are again unavailable because of work commitments.
One boost for the Knights is that they will not have to face Kevin O'Brien.
He is unavailable because of commitments at Surrey and the Lightning selectors have brought in Cormac McLoughlin, who hit 78 not out for The Hills in their Irish Cup win over Bready on Sunday.
Albert van der Merwe, the YMCA captain and retired Ireland off-spinner, is also recalled.
First up for the Knights players is a full programme of Ulster Bank Premiership games tomorrow including the game of the season so far, between the joint leaders CIYMS and Waringstown at Belmont.
At least one of the remaining 100% records must go and, before a ball is bowled, it is first blood to CI who can welcome back opening bowler Steven Dunn and batsman Steven Clark from injury while the Villagers are without both Eaglestone and Jonathan Bushe.
With Moleon unavailable and Andrew Forbes still on the injury list, Instonians will need an extra bowler for their home game against Lisburn, who won their first 'close' game of the season on Wednesday night when they scraped home by one run in their Twenty20 Cup clash at Muckamore.
Having lost three games on the last ball this season, it was a significant victory for David Simpson's side who were indebted to Ervine's three wickets in a over which sparked a sensational collapse by the home team, who needed 34 from the last six overs with eight wickets left.
It gets no easier for Muckamore today, when they host North Down while the other 'pointless' team, Ballymena, host CSN whose Twenty20 game against Waringstown was postponed last night because Stormont was unavailable.
Interpro squads: Leinster Lightning: J Mooney (capt), J Anderson, B Ackland, P Collins, T Kane, F McAllister, C McLoughlin, A Poynter, E Richardson, S Singh, M Sorensen, A van der Merwe
Northern Knights: A White, M Adair, J Cameron-Dow, C Dougherty, Imad Wasim, S Getkate, N Larkin, J Mulder, L Nelson, J Shannon, D Simpson, N Waller.
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