Ireland made one change from their tri-Series squad as Tyrone Kane, the 24-year old pacer from Dublin, replaces Josh Little (injured) for the two-match ODI series against Afghanistan starting on Monday (May 19) in Belfast.
Josh Little, who picked up a four-fer on his ODI debut against England this summer, has been rested as a precautionary measure to get him ready for the home series against Zimbabwe in July. The 19-year-old left-arm pacer suffered a minor stress fracture in the ongoing tri-series, involving Bangladesh and West Indies and therefore, has been advised to take rest to avoid a potential injury that could rule him out of action for three months.
Speaking about the only change, Andrew White, Chair of National Men’s selectors, said: “During the tri-Series Josh reported some minor back pain related to bowling. A precautionary scan showed a small area of bone stress in an area commonly seen in fast bowlers. We take these findings very seriously given the potential for such stress responses to develop into a more serious stress fracture that could put Josh out of action for up to three months if he were to continue bowling. We want to rest Josh from bowling for around four weeks and begin rehab immediately in preparation for the Zimbabwe series at the beginning of July.
White also expressed great delight in some of the recent performances by Ireland in the tri-series. “We have recently seen some fantastic batting performances against quality bowlers led by some of the more senior players – including some big centuries which are needed at this level to build competitive totals or to chase down big targets”
“We have also been pleased to hear from our recent debutants how invaluable it has been to come into a side with a cohort of experienced professionals to learn from. Through seeking out advice, or simply being able to observe how the senior lads prepare and approach their game, the opportunity to have mentors and role models within the squad is immeasurable.”
Acknowledging that Ireland is a team in transition, White noted that the team needs patience and lauded younger players for their ability to adapt and for their willingness to learn.
“We have not shied away from the fact that our senior men’s international squad is in a transition period. This is not an overnight process, and it will take time and patience to bring through new players into the international set-up. Given the quality of opposition we have been playing of late – England, West Indies and Bangladesh here at home, and Afghanistan in India – the selectors have been pleased with the way these younger players have adapted to the challenge and shown a willingness to learn – both skills-wise and mentally,” he said.
Tyrone Kane made his Test debut against Pakistan last summer but is yet to get make his appearance in ODIs. A tall right-arm pacer and a handy lower-order batsman, Kane, churned out a string of decent performances for Ireland A and Leicester Lightning recently and thus, been rewarded with a place in the highly-competitive ODI side.
Speaking of Kane’s selection, White said: “The first few months of 2019 have shown the talent and potential within Irish cricket, and the emergence of new players on the international stage. Indeed in just the first half of this calendar year we have seen five players make their ODI debuts. With Tyrone [Kane] joining the squad for the Afghanistan series, he is in contention to be a sixth ODI debutant.
“Our objective is to build a squad, and expand the talent pool, that is capable and confident of playing at this level, and we cannot rush this process,” he concluded.
Ireland’s squad for the two ODIs against Afghanistan:
William Porterfield (captain), Mark Adair, Andrew Balbirnie, George Dockrell, Tyrone Kane, Andrew McBrine, Barry McCarthy, James McCollum, Tim Murtagh, Kevin O’Brien, Boyd Rankin, Paul Stirling, Lorcan Tucker, Gary Wilson.