Shannon delighted with perfect present
February 17th 2013 | International
Ireland named their squad of 14 to represent their country in the crucial ICC World Cricket League Championship matches & ICC Inter-continental Cup match against the United Arab Emirates. The one new name in the touring party was James Shannon, who was delighted to be named in a senior men’s touring squad for the first time.
James Shannon went to Paris with his girlfriend this week but the romantic break was almost ruined because he couldn’t stop checking his phone, he told cricketireland.ie about his eventful week, “My girlfriend was going nuts because I was checking my phone every two minutes to see if there was any news about the squad to travel to the UAE.”
When the news finally came through, he was overjoyed, “I was just delighted that all of the hard work had paid off. I’ve put the head down for the winter and worked hard and it just feels great to be going on the trip because it’s what I’ve been working towards.”
But Shannon knows that getting picked to travel doesn’t mean he will get a chance to play. “I don’t really have any expectations to be honest. I know I’m probably going as cover but I’m just so happy to get the chance to be a part of it.
“Even being around guys like Porty (William Porterfield) and Kev (Kevin O’Brien) and Ed (Joyce), I’ll learn so much from seeing how they go about things. Of course, if I do get a chance I will take it with both hands.”
The top-order batsman doesn’t think he has a specific role in the squad yet, but he says that’s a good thing. “I would see myself as quite versatile. Obviously the top six in the team are pretty settled and very strong, but if I do get in for one of the ODIs or something then maybe I’ll get a chance in the lower order. I think I would be able to play with a certain amount of freedom and I would definitely try to express myself.”
Although the Instonians man says he wasn’t expecting the call-up, it wouldn’t have been a huge surprise after the year he has had. “When we played against South Africa A I saw they had players like Wayne Parnell and Rory Kleinveldt and realised it was a strong team - I didn’t know if I could cut it. But I was lucky enough to score a 50 on debut and that did make it easier. But more than that, I think being around experienced players like Kev and Trent really made you back yourself, gave you a bit of belief, because you knew they were behind you.”
Travelling to the UAE, Ireland can expect turning pitches, and that suits Shannon just fine. “I would say that I am more comfortable against spin,” he admits. “I like to take it on and use my feet and that’s an aspect, I suppose, that I can show Phil (Simmons, Ireland coach).
Playing in Instonians with Ireland veteran Andrew White has only been a good thing for Shannon. “It’s definitely helped playing in the club with Whitey. He would tell me what I need to do to get to the next level and aspects to work on and what to expect. Another thing that has really helped me in the last year was the ICC trip to Pune in India. Two of the coaches, Gordon Lord and Philip Hudson, made me look at things in a different way and would challenge you and get you thinking about your game.”
Shannon studies law in UUJ but is down in Dublin more days in the week than he’s not. “With the Cricket Ireland contract it’s given me the opportunity to be down training four or five times a week now. Everything is so professional with the gym programmes and the plans for the future, it’s an exciting time to be involved in Irish cricket.”
James Shannon went to Paris to celebrate his birthday and Valentines day with his girlfriend, but the best birthday present was the news of being selected for Ireland to go to UAE.