Ireland have announced their squad for the upcoming T20 World Cup. (Photo: Cricket Ireland/Twitter)

Cricket Ireland on Thursday announced an 18-member squad for the upcoming ICC T20I World Cup 2021 in October.

Dublin-born Andrew Balbirnie has been named as the team’s captain which also includes experienced players like Paul Stirling and Kevin O’Brien for the mega event. Bowling all-rounder Gareth Delany, who was left out for the Zimbabwe series, and off-spinner Andy McBrine have been included in the side.

Ireland vs Zimbabwe
Ireland vs Zimbabwe. Image Credits: Twitter

Graham Kennedy included in Ireland’s T20 World Cup squad

The surprise selection was of uncapped left-arm spin-bowling allrounder Graham Kennedy, who amassed seven wickets from five innings at an economy rate of 7.66 in the Inter-provincial T20 trophy.

Kennedy was also picked for the ODI series against Zimbabwe but he is yet to make his international debut for Irealand.

Andy McBrine comes as a backup player in Ireland’s squad: Graham Ford

McBrine could manage to pick only one wicket from the two games he played against Zimbabwe in the limited-overs leg and Ireland head coach Graham Ford said the off-spinner will be used as a backup option in cases of any players catches the COVID-19 virus.

“He [McBrine] comes as a back-up. The way it’s been is that Simi has nailed down a spot. You are going in this World Cup campaign and you have to have cover for Covid or injuries. It’s a no-brainer, he is an automatic pick into the 18,” Ford was quoted as saying by ESPNcricinfo.

Andy McBrine
Andy McBrine. Credits: Twitter

Lorcan Tucker and Neil Rock will be in contention for the first-choice wicket-keeper’s place in the playing XI of Ireland, and Ford is not sure about that aspect and he will observe the second leg of IPL before drawing his conclusion.

“We are not going to tell you who is the first-choice wicketkeeper. There’s a competition between the players. There’s a lot of work that goes in prior to games: match-ups, left hand vs right hand. What might be a pick for one game might be different to the next game,” Ford said

“We need to do quite a bit of studying of opposition squads and once we get an understanding of who is in those squads, the match-ups we look at and it’s not always on stats and things, we will have to factor in conditions – we will watch the IPL very closely, particularly towards the end of the IPL to see how the wickets are playing – that will all go into selection. It’s an 18-man squad with cover and options,” he added

Ireland will have to first play the qualifiers in Oman and they are paired with Nambia, Netherlands and Sri Lanka in Group A of the ICC T20 World Cup Qualifiers stage.

Ireland will play their first game against the Netherlands at Shiekh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi on October 18.

Ireland’s Squad for ICC T20 World Cup 2021: Andrew Balbirnie (c), Paul Stirling, Barry McCarthy, Kevin O’Brien, Curtis Campher, Mark Adair, George Dockrell, Gareth Delany, Shane Getkate, Graham Kennedy, Andrew McBrine, Neil Rock, Josh Little, Simi Singh, Harry Tector, Lorcan Tucker, Craig Young, Ben White.

Also Read: ICC T20 World Cup 2021: Hardik Pandya Is Fit And Will Bowl Full Quota Of His Overs, States Chetan Sharma