document.write(''); Ireland retain rest bowler Josh Little for England Test. "A special occasion, not a climax" | cricket news - Simo Baha

Ireland retain rest bowler Josh Little for England Test. “A special occasion, not a climax” | cricket news

Ireland have defended the absence of key seamer Josh Little for next week’s Lord’s Test against England, with World Cup qualifiers in June and July a priority.

Little, who recently played in the IPL for Gujarat Titans before turning up for the White Balls against Bangladesh, asked for a break from his busy limited overs schedule.

Ireland will face sides including the West Indies, Sri Lanka and Scotland in a 10-team World Cup qualifier in Zimbabwe later this summer, with the top two nations competing in the respective competitions in India in October and November.

Cricket Ireland’s High Performance Director Richard Holdsworth said: “What we have to understand is that while we’re incredibly proud to go and play England at Lord’s… it’s a special occasion, but it’s not a pinnacle event.

Thursday, June 1 at 10:00 a.m

“Going into the World Cup qualifiers, where only 10 teams can qualify for the World Cup, is still the game’s biggest priority as far as we’re concerned. We made it very clear at the beginning of our latest strategy that: our highlight events will be white ball cricket.

“Josh has been on the road for the best part of five months, which in itself is very tiring physically and mentally. He initially asked us if he could rest before the World Cup qualifiers.

“Our management team and the selectors discussed the matter in detail and amicably agreed that it was in the best interests of Josh and the team.

“With the funding we’ve got, a member just can’t commit to three formats of the game, it’s financially impossible.”

Gujarat Titans & # 39;  Josh Little marks Rajasthan Royals' dismissal & # 39;  Sanju Samson during the Indian Premier League (IPL) cricket match between Rajasthan Royals and Gujarat Titans in Jaipur, India, Friday, May 5, 2023.  (AP Photo/Surjeet Yadav)
Little enjoyed his first game in the Indian Premier League after representing Gujarat Titans

Holdsworth added that Ireland did not feel Little would be ready for the rigors of Test bowling, having played mostly T20 cricket in recent months.

He added: “Bowling four overs is not good enough to prepare any cricketer to play Test cricket where he can bowl 20-plus overs in two innings a day.

“We didn’t feel physically that he was actually going to be ready for it, not having the preparation.”

About the abundance of domestic tournaments like Little, Holdsworth said: “It’s a whole new world for us and the players, it’s going to absolutely challenge everyone.

“All our players who have played franchise cricket have learned a lot about how we balance that and being the best 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 1 June.

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