Ireland trio back for Desert T20 tournament in UAE

All-rounder Stuart Thompson took a break from cricket in 2016
All-rounder Stuart Thompson took a break from cricket in 2016

Experienced internationals Boyd Rankin, Stuart Thompson and Andrew Balbirnie are back in the Ireland squad for the Desert T20 tournament in the UAE.

The Irish have named a 14-man panel for the round-robin competition in which eight associate countries are playing.

Afghanistan, Scotland, Hong Kong, Ireland, Oman, Namibia and the UAE are the other teams taking part.

Rankin (broken leg), Balbirnie (hip) and Thompson (performance anxiety) missed most of Ireland's 2016 campaign.

Niall O'Brien has been left out of the squad with the Ireland selectors opting to take Gary Wilson as the only wicket-keeper while Middlesex seamer Tim Murtagh is also omitted.

"It is fantastic to have the three guys back in the squad," said head coach John Bracewell.

"Boyd's height and pace give an extra dimension to our attack and it will be great for him to pass on his experience to Barry McCarthy, Craig Young and young Josh Little in particular, who just turned 17 last month.

"We felt that one keeper would be enough with just four games scheduled so the selectors have gone with Gary for the event," added the Ireland coach.

Jacob Mulder and Little retain their places in the T20 squad following their debuts in the format against Hong Kong, and Greg Thompson's impressive return in that game after an eight-year absence also sees him make the tour.

Ireland squad: W Porterfield (capt), A Balbirnie, G Dockrell, J Little, J Mulder, A McBrine, B McCarthy, K O'Brien, B Rankin, P Stirling, G Thompson, S Thompson, G Wilson, C Young.

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