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.

Irish Cricketer Stuart Poynter back in Canberra playing in Ireland's squad for the tour of Australia.
Irish Cricketer Stuart Poynter back in Canberra playing in Ireland's squad for the tour of Australia. Photo: Jay Cronan

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.