Ireland to keep the faith

William Porterfield, one of five in the squad set to take part in a third World Cup for Ireland, will lead the same group of players named last month for the training camp and tri-series in Dubai against fellow qualifiers Scotland and Afghanistan.

Andrew Balbirnie, Peter Chase, Andrew McBrine, Tim Murtagh, Stuart Thompson and Craig Young will make their World Cup debuts in the six-week tournament which gets underway on February 15.

Porterfield said: “It’s fantastic to be leading Ireland in another global tournament.

“We’ve produced some wonderful performances over the years in World Cups, and there’s no reason why we can’t claim further successes in Australia and New Zealand.

“While we may have lost the surprise factor over the years, we’ve certainly gained a lot of respect for our brand of cricket – which has been pretty pleasing.”

Also still central to Ireland’s plans is all-rounder Kevin O’Brien, who produced one of the most memorable World Cup performances of all time with a record-breaking century in the shock victory over England in Bangalore in 2011.

Porterfield added: “There’s a great mix as always in the squad, and the younger guys coming through are all hungry – which keeps the more experienced players on their toes. Competition for places has been fierce, and that’s got to be good for Irish cricket.”

Ireland have not named any potential replacements for the tournament, but plan nonetheless to have additional players in Australia should cover be needed in the event of injury.

The final squads for all 14 competing nations are expected to be confirmed on Wednesday, when last month’s provisional 30s are due to be halved – but along with Ireland’s, those of England, Bangladesh and Afghanistan are already published.

Ireland World Cup squad: W Porterfield (Captain), A Balbirnie, P Chase, A Cusack, G Dockrell, E Joyce, A McBrine, J Mooney, T Murtagh, K O’Brien, N O’Brien (wkt), P Stirling, S Thompson, G Wilson (wkt), C Young.

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