DUBLIN – Cricket Ireland has today announced five ‘squads’ that will play in multiple formats across Ireland Men’s back-to-back tours of Bangladesh and Sri Lanka in March/April 2023.
The first tour is to Bangladesh where it will feature a warm-up fixture on 15 March, then three one-day internationals, three T20 Internationals and a Test Match. This will be the first-ever Test Match played between the two sides, and the first multi-format series the two sides have played at senior level.
The second tour to Sri Lanka will feature a Test Match and two one-day internationals. Similarly, this will be the first-ever Test Match played between the two sides, and the first multi-format series the two sides have played at senior level.
The squad will depart Dublin on 11 March.
Selectors have named essentially five squads that features 22 players across the different formats:
Ireland squad for Bangladesh ODI series
Andrew Balbirnie (Capt), Mark Adair, Curtis Campher, Gareth Delany, George Dockrell, Stephen Doheny, Graham Hume, Matthew Humphreys, Josh Little, Andrew McBrine, Barry McCarthy, Paul Stirling, Harry Tector, Lorcan Tucker, Ben White.
Ireland squad for Bangladesh T20I series
Andrew Balbirnie (Capt), Mark Adair, Ross Adair, Curtis Campher, Gareth Delany, George Dockrell, Graham Hume, Matthew Humphreys, Barry McCarthy, Conor Olphert, Paul Stirling, Harry Tector, Lorcan Tucker, Ben White, Craig Young.
Ireland squad for Bangladesh Test Match
Andrew Balbirnie (Capt), Mark Adair, Curtis Campher, Murray Commins, George Dockrell, Graham Hume, Matthew Humphreys, Andrew McBrine, Barry McCarthy, James McCollum, PJ Moor, Harry Tector, Lorcan Tucker, Ben White.
Ireland squad for Sri Lanka Test Match
Andrew Balbirnie (Capt), Curtis Campher, Murray Commins, George Dockrell, Matthew Foster, Graham Hume, Matthew Humphreys, Andrew McBrine, Barry McCarthy, James McCollum, PJ Moor, Harry Tector, Lorcan Tucker, Ben White.
Ireland squad for Sri Lanka ODI series
Paul Stirling (Capt), Curtis Campher, Murray Commins, Gareth Delany, George Dockrell, Stephen Doheny, Matthew Foster, Graham Hume, Matthew Humphreys, Andrew McBrine, Conor Olphert, Harry Tector, Lorcan Tucker, Craig Young.
TOUR SCHEDULE – BANGLADESH
• 15 March: warm-up match – opponent to be announced. Venue: Sylhet.
• 18 March: Bangladesh Men v Ireland Men – 1st ODI (SICS, Sylhet; start 2pm local time)
• 20 March: Bangladesh Men v Ireland Men – 2nd ODI (SICS, Sylhet; start 2pm local time)
• 23 March: Bangladesh Men v Ireland Men – 3rd ODI (SICS, Sylhet; start 2pm local time)
• 27 March: Bangladesh Men v Ireland Men – 1st T20I (ZACS, Chattogram; start 2pm local time)
• 29 March: Bangladesh Men v Ireland Men – 2nd T20I (ZACS, Chattogram; start 2pm local time)
• 31 March: Bangladesh Men v Ireland Men – 3rd T20I (ZACS, Chattogram; start 2pm local time)
• 4-8 April: Bangladesh Men v Ireland Men – Test Match (SBNCS, Dhaka; start 10am local time)
TOUR SCHEDULE – SRI LANKA
• 18-22 April: Sri Lanka Men v Ireland Men – Test Match (Galle)
• 26 April: Sri Lanka Men v Ireland Men – 1st ODI (Colombo)
• 23 April: Sri Lanka Men v Ireland Men – 2nd ODI (Colombo)
Heinrich Malan sat down for an interview for this release. The following quotes are excerpts from the interviews.
About the return to Test cricket, he said:
“The core piece for us around red ball cricket is that it is a bit of a blank canvas – we’ve obviously got a bit of work to do in that space, but it’s exciting. We’re not going to try and play like anyone else, we’ll play our own way and that is the key message within our environment at the moment. We want our guys to go out there and figure out how we best play red ball cricket – it’s not that we need to block or play essentially T20 cricket.
“Will there be some hiccups along the way, undoubtedly – but there will also be some good periods as well. We’ve shown that we have a really good group of young, talented cricketers coming through and Test cricket is a new frontier for us to discover, and we’re really looking forward to that challenge.”
About the style of Test cricket Ireland may adopt, he said:
“Look, I guess we have a group of players who like to play an aggressive style in white-ball cricket that people like to watch, but in red ball it’s finding that balance. It’s about playing what’s in front of you – the pitch, the opposition, the scoreboard. But these aren’t different conversations we’ve been having around the T20 or one-day realms – now we just have to identify that and do it for periods of time in the red ball space. That’s just all part of our squad development – we do have players who have played Test cricket before, albeit not lately, but that’s what is exciting about the opportunity. We just want people to have clarity about how they will approach the red ball game.”
“We talk about adaptability and playing what’s in front of you – but that’s what we talk about as staff, we need to expose these players to different conditions, we want the players to think on their feet, but also to put a plan together and commit to it. But this is no different to conversations we had around the World Cup, for instance.”
About the Test squad selections, he said:
“Ten of the 15 players that are part of those two Test squads have not played test cricket, so potentially we have 10 players that could debut. It doesn’t mean it’s the first time they play for Ireland, but it’s the first time they could play test cricket.
“Look, at one end it’s an exciting challenge, but at the other end it’s a pretty daunting challenge thinking we haven’t played a lot of red ball cricket. It’s a case of looking at the players that have been playing consistent cricket over periods of time and then trying to marry that up with the conditions that we’re trying to go to. We’ve got a couple of guys in there that haven’t necessarily played a lot of cricket, but we see the skill set that we’re looking for and we’ve got the opportunity to go and test it out and see what they can give us in the long run.”
About the specific players, he said:
“With Matthew Humphreys, first and foremost, he bowls left-handed, which I think it’s something that we cried out for from a skillset point of view. The other thing that we really took into account is when he played for Ireland’s under-19s at the World Cup. He was the go-to guy in that environment. He bowled every phase, showed that he’s a competitor, showed that he can take wickets. I guess when you look at it from that point of view, he’s got all the traits and the attributes that we’re looking for. Hence putting him in a wider squad environment where, you know, hopefully he gets some game time at some stages, but also, we are working back from some pinnacle events when you think about where the T20 World Cup’s going to be in in 2024, in the West Indies, and in America, that those sort of surfaces are going to assist that sort of skillset.”
“He’s [PJ Moor] played a bit of Test cricket in Bangladesh and gives us some experience in that middle order. He brings that to the party. It’s nice to have someone in the wings that could come in with a bit of experience, with relevant information on what it’s like to just bolster that experience side of things as well. He will be one of those 10 guys, which I mentioned earlier, that hasn’t played for Ireland yet. He has played international cricket and it’s nice to have someone with that calibre in and around our environment.”
“[Regarding Paul Stirling] it was a mutual discussion over more than one coffee, to be honest. It’s all about the wellbeing piece and making sure that we find a balance between him playing for Ireland and then obviously some of his commitments he has around the leagues. This year, with a big white ball focus in terms of a pinnacle event in the World Cup, we got to that sort of agreement that up until the World Cup he will only play white ball cricket for us. And in the same breath, get a little bit of a balance from a wellbeing point of view with him missing some of that Test cricket. Which again, it creates some opportunities for some of the lads that we want to see in there.”
About the non-selection of David Delany, he said:
“We’ve had some really good discussions at the end of summer about offering that point of difference, but I don’t think I’ve seen that point of difference in the last 12 months. And then there has been times where Cricket Ireland has offered him a contract which he didn’t accept – so, I think there is some work that still needs to be done with him both on-field and off-field, and hopefully we can continue to offer him some assistance in those areas. But from a cricketing perspective, it comes back to him offering that point of difference – which people have spoken about in the past – but I just haven’t seen in the last year.”