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Balbirnie to open with Stirling, Getkate and McClintock recalled to add middle-order power

Ireland have left Kevin O’Brien out of their T20 squad for upcoming tours to USA and West Indies.

O’Brien, 37, opened for Ireland during a disappointing T20 World Cup campaign in which they failed to qualify for the Super 12s. Having retired from ODI duty earlier this year, O’Brien scored 39 runs over three World Cup games as Ireland defeated Netherlands before being knocked out of Super 12s contention through defeats to Sri Lanka and Namibia.

Shane Getkate and William McClintock have been recalled to the 15-man T20I squad in a bid to beef up the middle-order, while Ben White, the 23-year-old legspinner who made his T20I debut against South Africa in July, earned a maiden call-up to the ODI squad.
Andrew Balbirnie will captain across both formats, starting with two T20Is and three ODIs – all to be played in Florida – from December 22 before travelling to the Caribbean on New Year’s Eve.
Left-arm seamer Josh Little will miss the T20 leg of the USA tour while playing in the Lanka Premier League. Gareth Delany, Getkate and McClintock will play the T20Is only and Andy McBrine, William Porterfield and Harry Tector will play just the ODIs.

Andrew White, Ireland’s chair of national men’s selectors, said the need to find improvements after the T20 World Cup and before the T20 World Cup Qualifier early next year had influenced selection, particularly in that format, with Balbirnie to open the batting alongside Paul Stirling and Getkate and McClintock expected to add firepower further down.

“We had hoped that we could have avoided the need to qualify for next year’s T20 World Cup through advancing to the Super 12 stage of the last tournament, but our early exit means that our transition and succession planning horizons have been shortened somewhat,” White said.

“The USA and West Indies tour has taken on a greater sense of importance – and indeed, a greater sense of urgency regarding some of the tactical changes we need to consider.

“One of the hardest selection calls has been to omit Kevin O’Brien from this tour. Kevin has been an instrumental part of our senior squads for many years, and played a key role at the top of the order in the T20 format in recent years. However, with the T20 World Cup Qualifier just around the corner, the selectors want to try a different dynamic at the top of the order, and enable greater power-hitting potential in the middle order.

“The statistics don’t lie – in T20Is we have had a problem for a while now with boundary and six-hitting – particularly outside the powerplay overs. We see the way that the best sides can accelerate their scoring rates and access the boundaries during the latter overs of an innings, and we have lacked that in recent times.”

Ireland T20I squad: Andrew Balbirnie (capt.), Mark Adair, Curtis Campher, Gareth Delany, George Dockrell, Shane Getkate, Josh Little, Barry McCarthy, William McClintock, Neil Rock, Simi Singh, Paul Stirling, Lorcan Tucker, Ben White, Craig Young

Ireland ODI squad: Andrew Balbirnie (capt.), Mark Adair, Curtis Campher, George Dockrell, Josh Little, Andy McBrine, Barry McCarthy, William Porterfield, Neil Rock, Simi Singh, Paul Stirling, Harry Tector, Lorcan Tucker, Ben White, Craig Young.



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