Ireland has announced 15-member squad as they prepare to face England in a three-match One Day International (ODI) series starting from September 20. In a bid to revitalize their performance in the fifty-overs format after missing out on the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2023, Ireland’s selectors have made some strategic changes that could reshape the team’s approach at the crease.
Experienced opener Paul Stirling has been entrusted with the responsibility of leading a strong 15-member squad to England. The move is seen as a testament to Stirling’s leadership qualities and his rich experience on the field. However, it’s not just in the captaincy department that Ireland is shaking things up.
One of the most notable shifts is the decision to have Andrew Balbirnie open the batting alongside Stirling. The two players share a strong understanding and camaraderie on the field, making them a promising opening pair for Ireland. National selector Andrew White emphasized the importance of this change, stating, “The key changes are at the top of the order where Andrew Balbirnie will open with Paul Stirling. The pair have a great understanding and we believe they can develop into a longer-term opening option in the 50-over game.” This strategic adjustment is aimed at providing Ireland with a solid foundation at the beginning of their innings.
Further alterations in the lineup come in the form of Curtis Campher’s position in the batting order. The all-rounder, who has been a consistent performer for Ireland, is set to bat at No.3 in the upcoming ODIs against England. This is a significant move for Campher, who has primarily batted lower down the order at No.6. White explained the rationale behind this decision, stating, “Curtis Campher will make the move to number 3, where we believe he has the technique and aptitude to succeed in the role.” Campher’s adaptability and his ability to handle both pace and spin make him a promising candidate for the crucial No.3 spot.
Campher’s performances in the format have been steadily improving, with an average in the mid-30s. His century in the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup Qualifier 2023 against Scotland showcased his potential to make a significant impact on the game. This elevation to the No.3 position highlights the team management’s belief in his capabilities and his potential to anchor the innings from a more prominent role.
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Andrew White, Ireland Men’s national selector, said:
“While the squad has an overall familiar shape, there are several important changes we are going to look at. The key changes are at the top of the order where Andrew Balbirnie will open with Paul Stirling. The pair have a great understanding and we believe they can develop into a longer term opening option in the 50-over game.
“Along with this, Curtis Campher will make the move to number 3, where we believe he has the technique and aptitude to succeed in the role – he plays pace as well as anyone in the squad, and whilst he has been a mainstay of our middle order for a few years now, we believe he has the capability to batter higher up the order and have a really positive impact.
“We see this series as important in the development and evolution of our one-day squad and the players are certainly looking forward to locking horns with England for the first time in ODIs since 2020.”
Ireland squad: Paul Stirling (capt), Mark Adair, Andrew Balbirnie, Curtis Campher, Gareth Delany, George Dockrell, Graham Hume, Josh Little, Andy McBrine, Barry McCarthy, Neil Rock, Harry Tector, Lorcan Tucker, Theo van Woerkom and Craig Young.