Cricket Ireland has announced that Stephen Doheny, the right-handed batter, has been left out of the 15-player squad led by Andrew Balbirnie for the upcoming ICC Men's Cricket World Cup Qualifier in Zimbabwe. The Qualifier event, scheduled to take place in Zimbabwe from June 18 to July 9, will feature ten teams competing for two remaining spots in the ten-team 2023 ICC Men's Cricket World Cup in India.
In a statement, Andrew White, Ireland National Men's Selector, explained the decision, stating, "Unfortunately, hard decisions had to be made, and Stephen Doheny misses out on this trip. Stephen is a player we admire and want to continue to invest in, but we think the time is right for him, just now, to take a step back and work on a few technical aspects of his game at the domestic level."
The Qualifier event is known for its tough and cut-throat competition, requiring a balance of talent, form, and experience. White expressed confidence in the squad selected and called for the support of Irish fans as the team aims to secure World Cup qualification.
Ireland has been placed in Group B alongside Sri Lanka, Scotland, Oman, and the United Arab Emirates. Group A consists of hosts Zimbabwe, West Indies (winners of the 1975 and 1979 World Cups), Netherlands, Nepal, and the United States. Each team will play the others in their group once, with the top three from each group progressing to the Super Six stage, where they will face the teams they did not meet in the group stage.
White further explained the squad composition, considering the tactical requirements and conditions likely to be encountered during the tournament. He emphasized the importance of a strong start and highlighted the value of players like Ben White, who can excel on used pitches. The seam attack comprising Adair, Little, Young, McCarthy, Hume, and Campher was praised as the team's best attack, while PJ Moor's experience in Zimbabwean conditions and his versatility in batting positions adds depth to the squad.
In this tournament, DRS (Decision Review System) will be utilized for all matches from the Super Six stage onwards. Points earned in the group stage will be carried over to the Super Six stage, except for those gained against teams that fail to progress. The top two teams from the Super Six stage will compete in the final and secure qualification for the main ODI World Cup event in India.
Ireland will have warm-up matches against the United States and the Netherlands on June 13 and 15, respectively, before their group-stage matches from June 19 to 27. The Super Six matches will begin on June 29, marking a crucial phase in Ireland's quest for World Cup qualification.