Cricket Ireland announced on Wednesday that top-order batter Stephen Doheny and pace bowler Conor Olphert were handed maiden call-ups for the two-match T20I series against India.
Both players were recently handed retainer contracts by Cricket Ireland and now find themselves in the 14-man squad set to face India on June 26 and 28 at Malahide. There’s no place for Indian-origin off-spin all-rounder Simi Singh with left-handed batter Andrew McBrine providing for some off-spin and Gareth Delany as leg-spin all-rounder.
Doheny, 23, plays his club cricket with Merrion and is the current leading run-scorer in the Inter-Provincial T20 Trophy competition with 158 runs at an average of 52.67, with a highest score of 74 not out. He has scored valuable runs at the top of the order in the 50-over inter-provincial competition, with 146 runs at 36.50 with a highest score of 97.
Olphert, 25, plays for Bready at club level, and while he made his List A debut in 2020, the current season has been his most eye-catching. The pace bowler, renowned for his pace and bounce, was taken as a net bowler on Ireland Men’s tour to the UAE on early 2021. He has claimed 6 wickets at 19.17 in the Inter-Provincial T20 Trophy so far and has also bagged 6 wickets in the 50-over competition.
“The T20I squad features a familiar core to the squad, but it’s pleasing to see a number of new faces earn their call-ups in Stephen Doheny and Conor Olphert. Both Warriors’ players have impressed at inter-provincial level this season with consistent performances, while Doheny has also come off the back of a good tour of Namibia with the Ireland Wolves.”
“Olphert has bowled quickly, particularly on good wickets at Comber last month, and his selection gives as an opportunity to look at him as a tactical option given what lies ahead for the rest of the year,” said Andrew White, Chair of National Men’s Selectors in a statement.
This will be Ireland’s first T20I series under the coaching of Heinrich Malan, who has enjoyed success as a coach in the New Zealand domestic circuit for over 11 years. “There aren’t many better challenges for a new national coach to have than to start your tenure against the world’s number one-ranked T20I side, India.”
“Heinrich (Malan) has been working hard since his arrival in Ireland, criss-crossing the island, getting to know the players and familiarising himself with the growing depth of talent we have here – and it’s this growing depth of talent that has made a challenging selection process for the first fixtures of the men’s home season.”
Tickets for the first match have been sold out, while the second match has only a limited number of tickets available. “As always, there are numerous players who could probably consider themselves unlucky not to make these squads but runs and wickets are the currency we look for and the selectors believe we have picked squads that recognise and reward consistent form and performance on the field,” concluded White.