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AlexCusack back in Ireland squad for Twenty20 ties

Updated: Monday, 14 Oct 2013 15:00 | Comments

Alex Cusack is back in the Ireland side to face
Alex Cusack is back in the Ireland side to face

Alex Cusack returns to the Ireland squad for the ICC World Twenty20 qualifiers in the UAE next month after missing the ODI against England and the last month of the season with a back injury.

The Clontarf all-rounder is a pivotal performer for Ireland in the shortest format of the game and was named Player of the Tournament at the 2010 World T20 qualifiers.

Ireland are attempting to make the finals of this competition for a fourth successive time, and have been seeded No 1 in Group A of the 16-team event. Six qualifiers will go forward to Bangladesh next April.

It is a familiar looking squad with 12 of the 15 players veterans of the 2012 finals in Sri Lanka. Andrew McBrine, James Shannon and John Mooney are the three players who didn't make that trip.

One experienced face missing is Andrew White but the 33-year-old all-rounder will return for the InterContinental Cup final against Afghanistan in December.

Ireland coach Phil Simmons admitted the squad didn't contain many surprises.

"There's no secret that I like a lot of experience in my squads and this one's no different," he said.

"Most of the guys have played in World Cup finals and are used to pressure, which always comes with these qualifying tournaments.

"It's good to have Alex back in the frame. He's an intelligent cricketer and a very canny bowler to have especially in the power-plays. He mixes his pace up well and can be difficult to read for the batsmen.

"We also have John Mooney fit again after he missed the Scotland matches, so we've plenty of options in the bowling department. Eddie Richardson's probably a little unlucky to miss out, but we have a lot of all-rounders in our ranks.

"Andrew McBrine deserves an opportunity. He's done very well this season and his bowling will be a useful asset on the slower pitches in the UAE.

"It was difficult to leave Andrew White out of the T20 squad, but he hasn't played much for us in the format, and the selectors felt that it was a good chance to take a look at some of the other contenders. He's been one of our main performers in the longer form of the game, so he'll be back for the InterContinental Cup final against Afghanistan."

White is Ireland's leading scorer in InterContinental Cup history - his 1502 runs at 60.08 putting him above Andre Botha (1352), Niall O'Brien (1155) and skipper William Porterfield (1122).

Only White and Trent Johnston have winners' medals from all three of Ireland's triumphs in the competition. The final in December will be 39-year-old Johnston's swansong in Irish colours, and his team-mates will be keen to give their former captain a fitting send off.

Ireland squad for ICC World Twenty20 Qualifiers UAE 15-30 November:
William Porterfield (captain) (Warwickshire), Alex Cusack (Clontarf), George Dockrell (Somerset), Trent Johnston (YMCA), Ed Joyce (Sussex), Andrew McBrine (Donemana), John Mooney (North County), Tim Murtagh (Middlesex), Kevin O'Brien (Railway Union), Niall O'Brien (Leicestershire), James Shannon (Instonians), Max Sorensen (The Hills), Paul Stirling (Middlesex), Stuart Thompson (Eglinton), Gary Wilson (Surrey).

Ireland squad for ICC InterContinental Cup final v Afghanistan at Global Cricket Academy, Dubai, 10-14 December:
William Porterfield (captain) (Warwickshire), George Dockrell (Somerset), Trent Johnston (YMCA), Ed Joyce (Sussex), John Mooney (North County), Tim Murtagh (Middlesex), Kevin O'Brien (Railway Union), Niall O'Brien (Leicestershire), Max Sorensen (The Hills), Paul Stirling (Middlesex), Stuart Thompson (Eglinton), Andrew White (Instonians), Gary Wilson (Surrey).

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