Ireland to face Afghanistan in Desert T20 opener in Abu Dhabi on 14 January

All-rounder Stuart Thompson took a break from cricket in 2016
All-rounder Stuart Thompson has been recalled to the Ireland squad for next month's tournament

Ireland will open their Desert T20 tournament campaign against Afghanistan in Abu Dhabi on 14 January.

The new week-long round-robin competition aims to give more T20 tournament experience to the eight associate countries involved.

Ireland's second game will be against Namibia in Abu Dhabi on 17 January before they face hosts the United Arab Emirates a day later in Dubai.

The tournament's semi-finals and final will take place in Dubai on 20 January.

Experienced internationals Boyd Rankin, Stuart Thompson and Andrew Balbirnie return to the Ireland squad for the tournament.

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.

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.

Top Stories