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Familiar faces make comebacks to Ireland side for Pakistan series

Niall O'Brien
Niall O’Brien of Ireland. (Photo by Matthew Lewis-IDI/IDI via Getty Images)

Wicketkeeper-batsman Niall O’Brien, lanky pacer Boyd Rankin, and Craig Young have been recalled in the Ireland side for the upcoming ODI series against Pakistan. These players missed the recently concluded series against Afghanistan which ended in a 2-2 draw. However, the Ireland board has decided to go in with a much stronger side that will face up to the might of Pakistan when the Asian giants make their way after the end of the Test series in England to Malahide to play the series.

Niall missed the Afghanistan series following a reported problem with his calf while Craig Young was ruled out courtesy of an unfortunate elbow injury. Boyd Rankin is set to make his comeback to Irish cricket after a brief spell with the England national team, a stint that saw him feature in one Ashes Test for Australia in Sydney in 2014. O’Brien will be raring to go against Pakistan, especially after his magnificent 72 against Pakistan in the 2007 World Cup in the West Indies.

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“It’s great to have an almost full-strength squad to choose from,” said Ireland coach John Bracewell on Thursday.

“The bowling unit performed superbly against Afghanistan with the younger seamers, in particular, putting their hands up,” the former New Zealand off-spinner added.

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“The return of Boyd and Craig adds to that department and gives us plenty of options which is exactly what a coach wants.

“The return of Niall adds experience to the top order. We tried a few different permutations with the batting order last week — some of which worked and some which didn’t.

“Ed Joyce was obviously the stand-out performer in his new role as opener, and it was great to see Gary Wilson return to form.

“It should be a fantastic series — there’s a great recent history between the two countries with some great matches over the past decade, and I’m certain it’ll be two tough games when we meet in Dublin next month.”

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