He will be announced as a new signing by Reliance-owned franchise MI Emirates at the inaugural ILT20 in the UAE in the coming days. Like Little and Stirling, Tucker will not play T20Is from January 12-15 but will play ODIs from January 18-23.
Tucker’s inclusion in the ILT20 is the latest test of Cricket Ireland’s selection policy, which includes the option for players to skip certain bilateral series to make the most of the “development opportunities” offered by franchise leagues. It has started.
Historically, Ireland has tended to issue No-Objection Certificates (NOCs) to centrally contracted players only when leagues do not conflict with their international schedules. But the increase in their fixture list, the increased number of opportunities available in franchise cricket, and the new prominence of their top players suggests that their stance will be softened to ensure they reject the central contract. And don’t be tempted to go freelance.
The diminutive, left-arm pacer who is skipping the Zimbabwe T20Is to play for the Pretoria Capitals in the SA20 is the player most in demand. Last week, he was signed by Multan Sultans on a lucrative ‘platinum’ contract in the PSL draft, and is available for a base price of INR 5 million (around £50,000) in Friday’s IPL auction. .
ESPNcricinfo understands that if signed he would be made available for the duration of the IPL – although a decision would depend on Ireland’s progress in the ODI Super League. If results elsewhere mean they are still mathematically in contention for automatic qualification for the 2023 World Cup, they will be expected to be in Ireland’s final Super League against Bangladesh in May. Will return home for the series.
“Cricket Ireland’s view on the involvement of our contracted players in franchise cricket is that it is Ireland by default,” said Richard Holdsworth, Ireland’s long-serving performance director. “However, on a case-by-case basis, where the opportunity to take advantage of what the franchise league offers could benefit the Irish set-up or player development, we will consider flexibility in selection.
“It goes without saying that proximity to major tournaments or where head coaches would prefer to have players available for international matches would be a priority.
“The recent success of our senior squad at the global level has attracted the attention of several franchise tournaments. We see this as a positive sign of our momentum as a cricketing nation and a long overdue recognition of talent on the island. Take as
“Eight of our senior squads have joined franchise leagues this month alone, and we expect the demand for Irish talent to grow over the coming years.”
Ireland national selector Andrew White added: “The selectors have recognized the development opportunities for Lorcan Tucker in the run-up to the franchise T20 tournament next month, given the position and quality of the players involved.
“While he was previously included in the Irish squad for the tour of Zimbabwe, we felt that the opportunity for Lorcan to play in the UAE franchise league would provide him with experience that would greatly benefit his game. Maybe, while we’ll have an opportunity to expand. Our international talent pool.”
Matt Roller is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. @mroller98