Ireland Men’s interim Head Coach David Ripley reflects on the USA leg of the tour and looks ahead to competitive action against the West Indies – in particular, the first ODI without Paul Stirling and who may replace the Irish talisman.
The Irish touring party departed Miami and arrived in Kingston yesterday, ahead of the multi-format white-ball series against the Caribbean side. However, the squad will have a few players join over the coming week after being required to self-isolate after either testing positive for COVID or being recognised as a close contact.
Andrew Balbirnie and Andy McBrine may arrive in Jamaica as early as tomorrow, if they produce negative PCR tests, while Paul Stirling and Shane Getkate are confirmed as not arriving until after the first ODI.
Speaking from the team hotel, David Ripley, Ireland Men’s interim Head Coach, said:
“It’s certainly been a challenging trip from the outset, having a few staff and players down at the outset didn’t help our preparation. We managed to have a good net on the centre square just after we arrived – but it was only one session, and our squad was short of seam bowlers to help facilitate the batters. So it wasn’t as ideal as it could have been.
“However, a great positive of the trip so far is the way the lads have rolled their sleeves up and mucked in – I’ve been impressed that during a bit of adversity the lads have just got stuck in. There’s obviously some frustration over the fixtures not being able to proceed, but hopefully, now the frustration can end as we move on to play some high-profile 50-over cricket against the West Indies.
“Likewise with the support staff we have had some challenges with COVID, but once more they haven’t clocked off – rather they’ve continued to work hard from their isolation in preparing the squad as best they can for the next leg in Jamaica. We have a replacement coming in, which will help greatly, but we have been well-supported by the staff here, even those working from isolation.
“With Paul [Stirling] out of the first ODI, we’ll have a bit of an internal debate now with Andrew [Balbirnie] about whether he moves up to open, or whether we pick someone maybe outside the box to go in at the top – we do have several options and I’m pretty confident we’ve got some decent Plan B’s now that Stirlo is out of game one.
“It hasn’t been a perfect trip to date, but what we’re focusing on now is looking ahead and getting some decent cricket under our belts.”
Meanwhile, the West Indies squads have been announced for the series – see here.
The ODIs and T20I will be broadcast on BT Sport in Ireland / UK.
- Ireland Men’s ODI squad: Andrew Balbirnie (c), 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.
- Ireland Men’s T20I squad: Andrew Balbirnie (c), 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.
Match schedule – all matches at Sabina Park
- January 5: Warm-up match – Ireland Men v Jamaica Scorpions – 9.30am (10.30am Eastern Caribbean / 2.30pm Ireland)
World Cup Super League series:
- January 8: 1st CG Insurance ODI – West Indies Men v Ireland Men (9.30am local / 2.30pm Ireland)
- January 11: 2nd CG Insurance ODI – West Indies Men v Ireland Men (9.30am local / 2.30pm Ireland)
- January 14: 3rd CG Insurance ODI – West Indies Men v Ireland Men (9.30am local / 2.30pm Ireland)
- January 16: West Indies Men v Ireland Men – T20I (4pm local / 9pm Ireland)