Ireland head for Lord’s with concerns over Andrew Balbirnie

Batsman suffered a back spasm on Sunday and is recovering ahead of next week’s Test

Andrew Balbirnie is recovering from a back spasm ahead of next week’s Test at Lord’s. Photograph: Oliver McVeigh/Sportsfile

Andrew Balbirnie is recovering from a back spasm ahead of next week’s Test at Lord’s. Photograph: Oliver McVeigh/Sportsfile

 

Ireland fly to England on Wednesday for a week of practice and preparation ahead of their first Test match against England at Lord’s, commencing next Wednesday.

They leave with injury concerns over batsman Andrew Balbirnie less serious than first appeared likely at the weekend.

The Pembroke man suffered a back spasm just before the T20 against Zimbabwe at Bready on Sunday. He sat out that game, and his club’s Irish Senior Cup quarter-final win over CSNI on Monday.

A Cricket Ireland spokesman said: “[Balbirnie] felt a back spasm during the warm-up and we had to make a last-minute decision to pull him out. He will now be rehabbing and training with the upcoming Test is mind.”

Ireland play Middlesex 2nd XI this week in a two-day game to address concerns over the lack of red ball cricket most of the side have played this summer. Just 219 overs, barely two days cricket, were bowled in the two three-day games scheduled in May and June.

The game, on Thursday and Friday, will be played at Merchant Taylor’s School in Northwood, London.

Meanwhile, former Ireland captain Trent Johnston was yesterday appointed as Head Coach of Hong Kong. He will take up the post next month and his first task is to prepare a squad for the ICC T20 World Cup Qualifiers in UAE in October.

There he could come up against Ireland, who lost their two most recent games to Hong Kong, at Bready in 2016 and Malahide the year before.

Johnston, who won 199 caps for Ireland and led the side at the 2007 World Cup in the Caribbean, said: “Cricket Hong Kong has great potential and a highly talented elite player group.

“I look forward to working closely with the players and management team to prepare for the T20 World Cup qualifiers in the short-term and to helping develop future generations of Hong Kong cricketers to continue the team’s rise in the global standings.”

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