'Preparations have been good' - Andrew Balbirnie positive of making a mark in one-off Test against Afghanistan

The one-off Test between Ireland and Afghanistan is all set for February 28.

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Andrew Balbirnie
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Andrew Balbirnie. (Photo Source: Cricket Ireland)

ABU DHABI, UAE – Ireland Men’s Test captain Andrew Balbirnie believes his side is ready for the Test Match against Afghanistan on Wednesday, despite the late switch of venue to Tolerance Oval.

The Test was originally scheduled to be played at the Sheikh Zayed Cricket Stadium in Abu Dhabi, however, the two sides were recently informed the ground was no longer available to host a five-day match and the venue has switched to the secondary ground in the same complex, Tolerance Oval. This will be the first Test to be played at the venue, making it the 122nd cricket ground in the world to host men’s Test cricket.

Balbirnie was speaking after today’s training session at the Abu Dhabi Sports Hub:

“Preparations have been good - we were very fortunate to spend a week in Sevens Stadium and are very grateful to make use of world-class facilities.

Everyone is fit and available which is great going into the first game of a busy year.”

Has the switch in venue changed anything for the squad?

“It [Tolerance Oval] certainly is an unknown, and it’s unique that we are playing a Test Match on the edge of a big Test venue, but getting the chance to play on new grounds is always both challenging and exciting at the same time. 

“In terms of the team, I know my XI so hopefully we can go out and express ourselves for the week ahead.”

THE SERIES

  • 28 February – 3 March: Afghanistan Men v Ireland Men (Test Match; Abu Dhabi; 10 am start time)
  • 7 March: Afghanistan Men v Ireland Men (ODI; Sharjah; 3.30 pm start time)
  • 9 March: Afghanistan Men v Ireland Men (ODI; Sharjah; 3.30 pm start time)
  • 12 March: Afghanistan Men v Ireland Men (ODI; Sharjah; 3.30 pm start time)
  • 15 March: Afghanistan Men v Ireland Men (T20I; Sharjah; 8 pm start time)
  • 17 March: Afghanistan Men v Ireland Men (T20I; Sharjah; 8 pm start time)
  • 18 March: Afghanistan Men v Ireland Men (T20I; Sharjah; 8 pm start time)

 * All times quotes are local to the venue (+4 hours ahead of Ireland) 

 THE SQUADS

Test squad

Mark Adair, Andrew Balbirnie (capt), Curtis Campher, George Dockrell, Matthew Foster, Graham Hume, Andy McBrine, Barry McCarthy, James McCollum, PJ Moor, Paul Stirling, Harry Tector, Lorcan Tucker, Theo van Woerkom, Craig Young

ODI squad

Mark Adair, Andrew Balbirnie, Curtis Campher, Gareth Delany, George Dockrell, Matthew Foster, Graham Hume, Andy McBrine, Barry McCarthy, Neil Rock, Paul Stirling (capt), Harry Tector, Lorcan Tucker, Theo van Woerkom, Craig Young

T20I squad

Mark Adair, Ross Adair, Andrew Balbirnie, Curtis Campher, Gareth Delany, George Dockrell, Graham Hume, Josh Little, Barry McCarthy, Neil Rock, Paul Stirling (capt), Harry Tector, Lorcan Tucker, Ben White, Craig Young

The coaching and support staff are:

  • Head Coach: Heinrich Malan
  • Batting/Wicketkeeping Coach: Gary Wilson
  • Pace Bowling Coach: Ryan Eagleson
  • Spin Bowling Coach: Chris Brown
  • Physiotherapist: Mark Rausa
  • Strength & Conditioning Coach: Brendan Connor
  • Performance Analyst: Scott Irvine
  • Team Operations Manager: Chris Siddell

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