Sport

Ireland wicketkeeper Stuart Poynter back in Canberra after stint with Wests in first-grade competition

 Ireland batsman Stuart Poynter is back among familar surroundings, returning to Canberra for the first time since a successful two-year stint with Wests in the Cricket ACT first-grade competition.

The 23-year-old wicketkeeper-batsman is part of Ireland's 15-man squad for its pre-World Cup tour, with the Australian leg finishing on Thursday with the one-day match against the ACT Comets at Manuka Oval.

Ireland is looking to make it a clean sweep of its games in Canberra after recording an easy 124-run win on Tuesday night.

Poynter was overlooked for that game, but remains firmly in the mix to build on his three one-day internationals at next year's World Cup.

He scored 63 from 79 balls in a tour game last year against an Australia A bowling attack featuring Peter Siddle, James Pattinson and Nathan Lyon.

A couple of years earlier, Poynter was doing damage for Wests as part of an exchange program with Cricket Ireland.

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While he struggled in his first season in 2010-11, the runs began to flow the following summer when Poynter returned off his own accord to continue his development.

"It definitely improved me as a cricketer just playing all the time and listening to more experienced players," Poynter said.

"It helped me as a person as well, growing up a little bit and having to look after myself over here.

"I enjoyed every minute of it and I hope to come back one day."

Having grown up in London to Irish parents, Poynter moved to Durham last season, joining a County side captained by former England international Paul Collingwood and also including Sri Lankan star Kumar Sangakkara.

Poynter progressed through the ranks with Ireland, playing in two under-19s World Cups before making his ODI debut against Scotland in Dublin last month.

He is joined in the Ireland squad by older brother Andrew, the pair enjoying a close relationship.

"It's good, he makes sure I behave myself," Poynter said.

"We push each other, always have since we were young.

"If he sees me doing something a little bit wrong he'll tell me, and vice versa."

Ireland's preparations for the World Cup continue with a trip to New Zealand, a training camp in Dubai and a tour of the West Indies in January.

Poynter knows there is plenty of competition, with several players set to come back into contention after a busy domestic season.

"We've got a squad of 20 pushing for 15 spots," he said.

"It makes training a lot better as you have to put 100 per cent in all the time.

"It's going to be a hard team to get into, but hopefully if I do the right things and get a few scores in the next three weeks, then I'll be on the plane."

THURSDAY: Ireland v ACT Comets at Manuka Oval, 10am. Entry is free.

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