Niall O'Brien will miss Irish tour because of Bangladesh League

Niall O'Brien
Wicketkeeper-batsman Niall O'Brien is an influential player for the Ireland team

Niall O'Brien has been left out of Ireland's squad to tour Kenya next month because of his involvement in the inaugural Bangladesh Premier League.

O'Brien is scheduled to play for the Khulna Royal Bengals in the tournament in Bangladesh from 9-20 February.

However, Ireland have tour games in Kenya at the same time - including two World Cup qualifiers.

O'Brien offered to play in some games but the selectors decided all players must be available for the entire tour.

"There were difficult matters for the selectors to discuss regarding Niall O'Brien's availability," said Ireland coach Phil Simmons.

"They took on board Niall's offer to play in only the one-day internationals in Kenya, join the squad for part of the South Africa camp, and then the ICC World T20 Qualifier.

"However the selectors remained consistent to their principle, regarding that all players must be available for all parts of the tour.

"Niall was not able to make himself available for the whole tour and therefore the selectors have decided not to select him for any part of the tour including the ICC World T20 Qualifier.

"We are only selecting for this tour and the next selection will be for the one-day game with Australia in June. At that point they will consider all available players.

"Niall has communicated that he still wishes to play for Ireland and the selectors will take that into consideration when they next meet."

Simmons had indicated on Tuesday that other Irish players had been approached to take part in the Bangladesh Premier League.

"We have five or six players that could have gone to that," said Simmons on Tuesday. "But the other four or five decided that Ireland has a tour.

"If it was any other time, there would be no problems about guys going.

"I have spoken to Niall about it quite a few times.

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Phil Simmons:"Niall knows my stance"

"He knew my stance from a long, long time before as all the players do. It's up to him and his decision."

Ireland face Kenya in a four-day Intercontinental Cup game from 12-15 February, before the World Cup qualifiers on 18 and 20 February.

O'Brien's Royal Bengal team-mates are scheduled to include West Indian Shivnarine Chanderpaul and Sri Lankan Sanath Jayasuriya.

Other stars playing in the competition include Shahid Afridi and Chris Gayle who attracted approximate respective bids of £450,000 and £350,000.

Royal Bengal paid just over £50,000 in the pre-tournament auction to secure O'Brien's services.

Cricket Ireland's selectors have announced the squad for the tour to Kenya which will include the third round of the ICC Intercontinental Cup four-day match, two World Cup qualifying one-day internationals as part of the ICC 50-over League, and three T20I's, which will serve as preparation for the upcoming ICC World T20 Qualifiers.

The selectors have also announced a provisional squad of 17 for the ICC World T20 Qualifier in United Arab Emirates and a final squad of 14 will be selected from this by 12 February.

This squad will also participate in a warm-up preparation camp in Port Elizabeth, South Africa.

Ireland squad to tour Kenya: William Porterfield (Warwickshire) (captain), Alex Cusack (Clontarf), George Dockrell (Somerset), Trent Johnston (Railway Union), Nigel Jones (CSN)*, Ed Joyce (Sussex), John Mooney (North County), Rory McCann (Instonians), Kevin O'Brien (Railway Union), Boyd Rankin (Warwickshire), Max Sorensen (The Hills), Paul Stirling (Middlesex), Albert van der Merwe* (YMCA), Andrew White (Instonians), Gary Wilson (Surrey).

*Albert van der Merwe will only play in the Intercontinental Cup match and Nigel Jones will join the squad from 15 February to take part in the ODI's and T20's.

Ireland squad for training camp in South Africa and ICC World T20 Qualifier in the UAE:

William Porterfield (Warwickshire) (captain), Alex Cusack (Clontarf), George Dockrell (Somerset), Trent Johnston (Railway Union), Nigel Jones (CSN), Ed Joyce (Sussex), John Mooney (North County), Rory McCann (Instonians), Kevin O'Brien (Railway Union), Andrew Poynter (Clontarf), Boyd Rankin (Warwickshire), James Shannon (Instonians), Max Sorensen (The Hills), Paul Stirling (Middlesex), Albert van der Merwe (YMCA), Andrew White (Instonians), Gary Wilson (Surrey).

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