Campbell called in as cover for missing Dockrell

Ireland XI face tough test against strong Australia ‘A’ side

Kevin O’Brien (right) will captain an Ireland XI against Australia ‘A’ at Stormont in Belfast. Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

Kevin O’Brien (right) will captain an Ireland XI against Australia ‘A’ at Stormont in Belfast. Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho


Coleraine left-arm spinner Scott Campbell is in line to win his first senior Irish cap after he was named in a 14-man squad for the four-day game against Australia ‘A’, which gets underway at Stormont in Belfast on Friday.

With most of the frontline county players missing due to playing commitments, 19-year-old Campbell takes the place of fellow left-arm spinner George Dockrell.

“Scott is the next spinner in line behind George,” said Ireland coach Phil Simmons of the selection. “He’s impressed me when I’ve watched him bowl for Ireland ‘A’ and the under-19 side. These type of games against real top quality opposition will be vital for him in his cricketing development and will help him improve.”

Stuart Poynter will keep wicket for the game after a fine run of form for the MCC Young Cricketers which included an innings of 172 against the Durham second XI, the second highest individual score for the side.

“Stuart has been in tremendous form recently, both with the gloves and the bat,” added Simmons. “He’s always done well when called upon and his innings last week was exceptional.”

Pace bowlers Trent Johnston (Achilles), Max Sorensen (finger) and Peter Connell (hamstring) have all passed fitness tests, while left-arm seamer Phil Eaglestone has been rewarded for good form in the RSA Inter-Provincial Series.

Kevin O’Brien will captain the side in the absence of regular skipper William Porterfield.

“It’s always an honour to lead your country and I’m extremely proud to have been given the opportunity. There’s no doubt that it will be tough against a team with 10 Test players and no fewer than seven of their Ashes squad,” said O’Brien.

“It’s a great opportunity for our players and I’m sure they will take it. You always want to test yourself against the best and their bowling attack will certainly be amongst the toughest we’ve faced in international cricket. It should be a great spectacle of cricket and a challenge I’m certainly looking forward to.”

The Australians arrive in Belfast following a comprehensive 360-run victory over Scotland inside three days.

Skipper Brad Haddin and Peter Siddle both scored centuries, while there were seven wickets in the match for fast bowler James Pattinson.

There will also be plenty of interest in Pakistan-born leg-spinner Fawad Ahmed, who has been brought into the ‘A’ side after legislation that will help fast-track his Australian citizenship was passed by the country’s house of representatives last week.

IRELAND (Squad to play Australia ‘A’ in four-day game, Stormont, June 14th-17th (11.0am): Kevin O’Brien (Railway Union, capt), John Anderson (Merrion), Scott Campbell (Coleraine), Peter Connell (Strabane), Alex Cusack (Clontarf), Phil Eaglestone (Waringstown), Trent Johnston (YMCA), John Mooney (North County), Stuart Poynter (Clontarf/MCC YC), James Shannon (Instonians), Max Sorensen (The Hills), Paul Stirling (Middlesex), Stuart Thompson (Eglinton), Andrew White (Instonians).

AUSTRALIA ‘A’ (Squad): Brad Haddin (capt), Steve Smith, Ashton Agar, Fawad Ahmed, Jackson Bird, Alex Doolan, Ryan Harris, Moises Henriques, Usman Khawaja, Nathan Lyon, Nic Maddinson, James Pattinson, Chadd Sayers, Peter Siddle, Jordan Silk, Patrick Cummins.