Ireland have defended the absence of key closer Josh Little for next week’s Lord’s Test against England, with priority for the World Cup qualifying tournament in June and July.
Little, who recently played in the IPL for Gujarat Titans before taking part in a white ball series against Bangladesh, has requested a break following his busy limited schedule.
Ireland will face teams including the West Indies, Sri Lanka and Scotland in the 10-team World Cup Qualifier in Zimbabwe later this summer with the top two nations coming to the competition proper in India in October and November. .
Cricket Ireland’s high performance director Richard Holdsworth said: “What we have to understand is that while we are incredibly proud to be going to play England at Lord’s… it’s a special occasion, but it’s not a pinnacle event.
Thursday June 1 10:00 a.m.
“Going to a World Cup Qualifier where only 10 teams can qualify for the World Cup, that’s still the biggest priority in the game as far as we’re concerned. We’ve made it very clear at the start of our latest strategy that our main events they would be cue ball cricket.
“Josh has been on tour for the better part of five months, that in itself is very physically and mentally draining. He initially asked us if he could have a rest period before World Cup qualifiers.
“Our management team and selectors discussed the matter in detail and amicably agreed that it was in the best interest of Josh and the team.
“A member with the funds we have simply cannot commit to three formats of the game, it’s financially impossible.”
Holdsworth added that Ireland did not feel Little would be ready for the rigors of Test bowling, having mainly played T20 cricket in recent months.
He added: “Bowling four overs is not good enough to prepare any cricketer to play Test cricket, where he might play more than 20 overs a day in two innings.
“We didn’t physically feel like he was really going to be ready for it without having any preparation.”
On the abundance of national tournaments now available to players like Little, Holdsworth said: “This is a whole new world for us and the players, it’s absolutely going to challenge everyone.
“All of our players who have played franchise cricket have learned a lot about how to balance that and be the best they can be for Ireland, but it’s a challenge.”
Watch Ireland’s four-day test against England, at Lord’s, live on Sky Sports Cricket from 10am on Thursday June 1.