Niall O’Brien hand injury is a blow for Ireland

Northamptonshire wicketkeeper Niall O’Brien has been forced to withdraw from Ireland’s squad for their one-day internationals against Pakistan in Belfast on May 28 and 30.

O’Brien sustained a hand injury in his county’s Clydesdale Bank 40 win over Hampshire at the Rose Bowl on May 20.

He missed Northants’ CB40 win over Scotland at Wantage Road two days later and was sent for an X-ray which has revealed a hairline fracture in his left hand.

“His hand swelled around the ring finger but the X-ray revealed a hairline fracture to his hand rather than his finger,” said Northamptonshire coach David Capel.

“We don’t know yet how long Niall will be out of action for but it’s obviously a blow for him because he’s playing well at the moment and he’s enjoying his cricket.

“It means that he has had had to withdraw from the  Ireland squad for their matches against Pakistan so the injury has stopped him from representing his country.”

David Murphy, who deputised for O’Brien against Scotland, will keep in the County Championship match against Leicestershire which starts at Wantage Road on Tuesday May 24.

Under new release agreements for ICC associate countries, O’Brien would have been permitted to start the match and then be substituted by Murphy half way through had he been fit and had the ECB given Northamptonshire permission to do so.

Former England one-day international batsman Mal Loye will miss the Leicestershire match with a groin strain which will give an opportunity to Ben Howgego .

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