Joyce returns to Ireland squad after England exile

Dublin: Sussex batsman Ed Joyce was on Wednesday named in the Ireland World Cup squad, despite having played for England at the 2007 edition.

The 32-year-old Joyce played 50 times for Ireland between 1997 and 2005 before qualifying for England on residency grounds.

He made 17 appearances for England, the last of which came in the World Cup in the Caribbean against Sri Lanka in 2007, but failed to break into the Test side.

Ireland`s squad includes nine players who featured four years ago when the team sensationally dumped former champions Pakistan out of the event on their way to the second round.

Captain William Porterfield, Trent Johnston, the O`Brien brothers Niall and Kevin as well as John Mooney, Andrew White and Joyce will form the experienced backbone of the team.

Making their World Cup debuts are teenager spinner George Dockrell along with Middlesex`s Paul Sterling who will probably be in contention with Joyce to open the batting with Porterfield.

"I like the balance of the squad," said Ireland coach Phil Simmons, the former West Indies international.

"As with most Irish teams of the past few years, there are quite a few all-rounders, and that gives us plenty of options in all departments. This squad contains a lot of experience with nine having played in the 2007 competition -- I am sure that is more than most teams.”

"What is different this time from 2007 is that 13 of the 15 earn their living from cricket - that`s practically a full-time squad."

Simmons said the win over Pakistan in Jamaica in 2007 has meant that the Irish are no longer an unknown quantity.

"We may have lost the surprise factor, but we have earned the respect of the cricketing world through our efforts. We`ve reached the Super Eight phase of both the World Cup and the World Twenty20 - there`s no reason why we can`t make the latter stages yet again," he said.

Ireland will travel to Dubai on January 28 for a pre-World Cup training camp, and have scheduled warm-up games against New Zealand and Zimbabwe in Nagpur.

Their first game in the competition proper is against Bangladesh in Dhaka on February 25.

Ireland have been drawn in Group B at the World Cup, which runs from February 19 until April 2, alongside Bangladesh, India, England, the Netherlands, South Africa and West Indies.

Squad: William Porterfield (capt), Andre Botha, Alex Cusack, Niall O`Brien (wkt), Kevin O`Brien, George Dockrell, Trent Johnston, Nigel Jones, John Mooney, Boyd Rankin, Paul Stirling, Albert van der Merwe, Gary Wilson (wkt), Andrew White, Ed Joyce. Coach: Phil Simmons (WIS).

Bureau Report