Joyce returns to Ireland squad after England exile

Dublin, Jan 19 (AFP) Sussex batsman Ed Joyce was todaynamed in the Ireland World Cup squad, despite having playedfor England at the 2007 edition.

The 32-year-old Joyce played 50 times for Ireland between1997 and 2005 before qualifying for England on residencygrounds.

He made 17 appearances for England, the last of whichcame in the World Cup in the Caribbean against Sri Lanka in2007, but failed to break into the Test side.

Ireland''s squad includes nine players who featured fouryears ago when the team sensationally dumped former championsPakistan out of the event on their way to the second round.

Captain William Porterfield, Trent Johnston, the O''Brienbrothers Niall and Kevin as well as John Mooney, Andrew Whiteand Joyce will form the experienced backbone of the team.

Making their World Cup debuts are teenager spinner GeorgeDockrell along with Middlesex''s Paul Sterling who willprobably be in contention with Joyce to open the batting withPorterfield.

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

"As with most Irish teams of the past few years, thereare quite a few all-rounders, and that gives us plenty ofoptions in all departments. This squad contains a lot ofexperience 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 the15 earn their living from cricket - that''s practically afull-time squad."

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

"We may have lost the surprise factor, but we have earnedthe respect of the cricketing world through our efforts. We''vereached the Super Eight phase of both the World Cup and theWorld Twenty20 - there''s no reason why we can''t make thelatter stages yet again," he said.

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

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

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

Squad: William Porterfield (capt), Andre Botha, AlexCusack, Niall O''Brien (wkt), Kevin O''Brien, George Dockrell,Trent Johnston, Nigel Jones, John Mooney, Boyd Rankin, PaulStirling, Albert van der Merwe, Gary Wilson (wkt), AndrewWhite, Ed Joyce. Coach: Phil Simmons (WIS). (AFP) CM

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