Ireland drop O`Brien as he opts for Bangladesh T20 League
Nairobi: Ireland cricket selectors have left wicket-keeper Niall O`Brien out of the side going to Kenya as he was not available for the entire duration of the tour, owing to his commitments in the Bangladesh Premier T20 League.
The Irish squad arrived here Thursday for a four-day Intercontinental Cup and World Twenty20 qualifier in Mombasa starting Sunday.
Besides being handy with the gloves, O`Brien is one of Ireland`s top batsmen playing in the Bangladesh League.
His absence, however, does not water down the level of competition that the team will have with Kenya.
Kenya hosts Ireland for the four-day Intercontinental Cup match, two World Cup qualifying ODIs as part of the ICC`s 50-over league, and three Twenty20s, Xinhua reports.
"There were difficult matters for the selectors to discuss regarding Niall O`Brien`s availability," Phil Simmons, the Ireland coach, said in a statement received Friday.
They took on board Niall`s offer to play in only the ODIs in Kenya, join the squad for part of the South Africa camp, and then the ICC World T20 qualifier.
However, the selectors remained consistent to their principle, insisting that all players must be available for the whole tour.
"Niall was not able to make himself available for the whole tour and therefore the selectors have decided not to select him for any part of the tour, including the ICC World T20 Qualifier. William Porterfield leads Ireland squad," Simmons said.
Kenya, who have been training in Nairobi, travelled to Mombasa Friday for the week-long tournament.
Kenya is taking the match seriously, especially after a tour of India, where they played against the country`s provincial side Andra Pradesh.
The Ireland match is crucial as it is part of the qualifiers for the 2015 World Cup.
Kenya will be hoping that captain Collins Obuya will regain his form and steer the team to victory.
Only the top two teams will qualify for the Twenty20 World Cup finals in Sri Lanka in September.
Kenya qualified for the first Twenty20 World Cup held in South Africa in 2007. In the 2009 tournament, there were three qualifiers - Ireland, the Netherlands and Scotland.