Batting form behind Dockrell’s return; Graeme McCarter also in 15-man squad
Porterfield last played an international in January 2020 and Dockrell’s most recent ODI cap was in May 2019. Both have won recalls to the 15-man squad after being left out altogether for the 3-0 defeat to Afghanistan and the 1-1 draw with the UAE at the start of this year.
Dockrell, who first attracted widespread attention as an 18-year-old left-arm spinner at the 2011 World Cup, has earned his recall after a remarkable run with the bat in domestic cricket, which captain Andy Balbirnie has likened to Steven Smith’s transformation from a legspinning allrounder into one of the world’s top batters.
Generally carded at No. 10 or 11 in his early years as an international cricketer, Dockrell has made 642 runs in 16 one-day innings for Leinster since Ireland’s inter-provincial set-up gained List A status in 2017, averaging 107.00 with a strike rate of 97.86. This season, he has batted at No. 5 for Leinster and in the same position for Ireland’s A team, the Wolves, against Netherlands A this month.
Andrew White, the national selector, said: “It has been very pleasing for the selectors to see George being, without doubt, the leading batter in domestic cricket in 2021. During the off season he was challenged to bat more consistently at inter-pro and Wolves level. His natural ability has always been there to see, but the way he has risen to the challenge so far is a great credit to him.”
Porterfield – who was recently appointed as a consultant fielding coach for the national team – won a recall despite making 14 runs in three innings in the Wolves series, while Graeme McCarter, whose only ODI cap came in 2014, was the leading wicket-taker in the series with nine at 10.88.
“The squad selected not only rewards form, but provides a group of players that offer Graham Ford and Andrew Balbirnie options on any given matchday,” White said. “We have sought to provide continuity with the young players who continue to gain exposure at international level, while still incorporating a number of experienced players whose value around such a squad goes far beyond just their performances on the field.
“Graeme has proven time and time again that he bowls with excellent control, and continually hits that line and length that makes batters uncomfortable. His ability to move the ball has led to many of his wickets this season. Given the conditions we will face in Holland may be very similar to those at home, Graeme’s bowling will be a great asset and is reward for the hard work he has put in over a number of years.”
Campher, meanwhile, has been ruled out of the series through an ankle injury that requires surgery. David Delany is still rehabbing after suffering a knee injury in Abu Dhabi, while James McCollum, Neil Rock and Shane Getkate were left out and Boyd Rankin and Gary Wilson have recently retired. Peter Chase, Stephen Doheny, Graham Kennedy and David O’Halloran are all reserves and will travel with the squad.
The series, which forms part of the World Cup Super League, will be played in Utrecht, with fixtures on June 2, 4 and 7.
Ireland squad to play Netherlands: Andy Balbirnie (capt), Mark Adair, Gareth Delany, George Dockrell, Josh Little, Andrew McBrine, Graeme McCarter, Barry McCarthy, Kevin O’Brien, William Porterfield, Simi Singh, Paul Stirling, Harry Tector, Lorcan Tucker, Craig Young
Travelling reserves: Peter Chase, Stephen Doheny, Graham Kennedy, David O’Halloran
Matt Roller is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. @mroller98