Richard Holdsworth Zimbabwe Ireland India cricket bowling Richard Holdsworth Zimbabwe Ireland India

Cricket Ireland defends decision to rest Josh Little for England Test

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Cricket Ireland has defended the absence of star bowler Josh Little from next week’s Lord’s Test against England, declaring the match is not “a pinnacle event”.The 23-year-old left-armer is one of Irish cricket’s hottest properties and landed a deal worth more than £400,000 with Gujarat Titans in this year’s Indian Premier League.But he will be conspicuous by his absence when his country play just their second Test against England, having requested a break following his busy white-ball schedule.Champions of Test cricket will see that as a worrying signal at a time when the most prestigious form of the game is being squeezed from all sides by franchise tournaments, but for Ireland the matter is more clearcut.The World Cup qualifying tournament in Zimbabwe in June and July is a clear priority and takes precedence over a standalone showpiece at the home of cricket.CI’s high performance director Richard Holdsworth explained: “What we have to understand is that while we are incredibly proud to go and play against England at Lord’s…it’s a special occasion, but it’s not a pinnacle event.“Going to a World Cup qualifier where only 10 teams can qualify for the World Cup, that is still the biggest priority in the game as far as we’re concerned.

Josh has been on the road for the best part of five months, that in itself is very tiring physically and mentally.“Josh asked us initially if he could have a period of rest ahead of the World Cup qualifier.

Our management team and selectors discussed the issue in detail and were amicably in agreement that it was in the best interests of Josh and the team.“We’ve made it very clear at the beginning of our last strategy that our pinnacle events would be white-ball cricket.

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