Gary Wilson looks to this weekend’s T20 Festival as the launchpad towards World Cup Qualification
BELFAST – Ireland’s T20 International captain Gary Wilson believes this weekend’s Test Triangle Inter-Provincial T20 Festival at Pembroke Cricket Club is a golden opportunity to launch the national sides T20 World Cup.
Wilson has recently relocated back to Belfast after spending 12 years playing county cricket for Surrey and Derbyshire, and is now a key senior member and captain of the Northern Knights. He was appointed captain of the Ireland T20 squad in 2018, however missed the tour in early 2019 to Oman and India as a result of an eye condition. Keen to make up for lost time, Wilson believes that the three-day T20 Festival starting tomorrow is the ideal place for the most talented players in the country to showcase their skills before the selectors.
Speaking after a training session in Belfast, Wilson said:
“T20 cricket is all about playing with freedom, so my role as captain is to embrace that and encourage the lads to go out there and showcase their skills. Most of the guys who will be taking the field against Zimbabwe in July will be playing in this Festival, so I think it is great preparation for the internationals coming up - to be playing the best guys in the country over three days, you don’t get much better than that. And the Festival itself promises to be a great occasion - I know last year the boys loved playing in it and I don’t imagine it will be any different this year.”
“Internationally, we haven’t really been where we want to be in T20 cricket over the last few years - it’s nice to have gone from 18th to 15th this year, but for me it’s less about ranking points and more about qualifying for the T20 World Cup. And this Festival will be an important part of the international squad’s preparation.”
“As for my approach to this weekend as captain, I don’t like to come into an occasion like this with too many plans - I like my teams to be reactive and to assess conditions on the day. That’s what we’ve said to the boys - there is no point planning for one thing and you rock up there and see a completely different wicket. Sure, we’ll have set plans for some of the guys we’re playing against - we know them pretty well - but in terms of overall tactics, we’ll see the conditions and react accordingly.”
Image: Northern Knights celebrate a wicket in La Manga in April
A second three-day T20 Festival will be played in Bready in August. More information on the Test Triangle Inter-Provincial Series can be found here.
George Dockrell (c), Rory Anders, Andrew Balbirnie, Peter Chase, Gareth Delany, Matt Ford, Fionn Hand, Tyrone Kane, Josh Little, Barry McCarthy, Kevin O’Brien, Simi Singh, Lorcan Tucker.
Jeremy Benton, Cormac Hassett, Yacob Ali, Ruadhan Jones, Senan Jones, Max Sorensen, Jared Barnes, Jack Tector, Stephen Doheny, Nic Pretorius, Eddie Richardson, JJ Garth, Nathan McGuire.
North West Warriors:
Andy McBrine (c), Craig Young, Ross Allen, William Porterfield, Max Burton, Stuart Thompson, David Rankin, Kyle Magee, Boyd Rankin, Adam McDaid, Graham Hume, Aaron Gillespie, Graham Kennedy, Tommy Orr, Varun Chopra.
Gary Wilson (c), Harry Tector, Neil Rock, Allen Coulter, James McCollum, Shane Getkate, Mark Adair, James Cameron-Dow, Graeme McCarter, Jacob Mulder, Rob McKinley, Murray Commins, Greg Thompson.