Interview: Barry McCarthy “not dwelling in the past, but focussed on the challenge ahead”
January 7th 2021 by Craig Easdown | International
ABU DHABI – Ireland’s Barry McCarthy believes that 2021 offers a great opportunity for Ireland’s new-look bowling unit, and has put the injury against England behind him as he is focussed on delivering over these next seven games.
Dublin-born McCarthy, 28, has 42 caps for Ireland since his debut in 2016 claiming 68 wickets. Coming off an eye-catching series against the West Indies in January 2020, he broke down after five balls of the England ODI series and missed the Test Triangle Inter-Provincial Series as he built his fitness and strength back up to his usual high standards.
Since completing his quarantine period after arriving in Abu Dhabi, he has enjoyed getting out in the sun and getting the ball back in his hands. Speaking from the team hotel, he said:
“It’s a great feeling to be back in action. We know we are quite privileged to be out here playing cricket and doing what we love to do while things aren’t ideal at home. So we’re going to enjoy every minute of it and do the best we can over these seven games.”
“We’ve been lucky enough as elite athletes to be able to still train over recent months - keeping our gym work up and getting our cricket skills sessions in. But It’s also nice to have something to train for, and this series gave us a purpose for the training.”
“While it’s not ideal to be restricted in a bubble here in Abu Dhabi, we’re here enjoying the sunshine and playing cricket - we won’t take that for granted.”
While a bleak moment, the unfortunate injury five balls into the England series appears to be well behind him:
“It certainly wasn’t ideal having to hobble off the field five balls into the series, but that’s behind me now. Hopefully, I have a big year ahead in 2021 - this is a great start to the year, seven matches to really hit the ground running and hopefully cement a place that will be a very busy year. But to be honest, I’m not going to look too far beyond these seven games - 2021 is a long year, I am just hoping to play well in this series and take it from there.”
And does he see the absence of the likes of Tim Murtagh and Boyd Rankin in recent times as an opportunity?
“It goes without saying that Tim Murtagh and Boyd Rankin’s absence leaves a big hole in this bowling unit with their immense experience and what they’ve achieved throughout their cricketing careers. But it now creates an opportunity for the younger guys to step up. However, those opportunities will have to be earned - which will make it competitive between the lads, as we all want to play every single game.”
“Personally, my focus is on doing what I need to do in developing my strengths and improve on my weaknesses with the goal of being the best I can be. If that’s good enough to get me in the eleven, then I’m delighted - but I don’t want to just settle for being a bowler in this team, I want to work hard and be a recognised figure on the international scene.”
And will the recent recruitment of Assistant Coach and National Bowling Lead, Stuart Barnes, help in achieving his goals?
“There’s a lot of potential in this bowling group, so it’s great to have Stuart come in to try and make us as good as we can be. It’s great to have that certain person you can go to, to seek advice or bounce ideas off. Personally, I only met Stuart for the first time in Southampton, but it was evident to everyone that he had had a very quick impact on the bowlers, and hopefully, we can continue to work together well so that we can have a great year and grow as a unit.”
Last time he played in this part of the world McCarthy claimed 16 wickets in 6 matches at 17 runs apiece. Does he feel these conditions suit his bowling and what does he expect from the pitches and opposition during the upcoming series?
“Stats like that aren’t going to be easy to come by out here, it will be a difficult ask, but we’ll all work as hard as we can to hopefully leave with seven wins from seven games - to not dwell on the past but focus on what’s ahead of us now.”
“We know the Afghans well – we seem to have a series against them every year now, but I haven’t seen the UAE side much. It won’t be easy in their home conditions, but we want to win every game we go out to play and know what we need to do.”
“We need to hit the top of off with the new ball, and be really specific with our death bowling. We’ve done a lot of analysis on the strengths and weaknesses of the opposition batters, and have a plan for specific batters.”
“But in the end it comes down a simple plan - do the basics right and make sure your skills are topped up. If we can do that, we are in a good place to succeed.”
The international fixtures, which will be played at the Zayed Cricket Stadium in Abu Dhabi, are:
• UAE v Ireland – 1st ODI – 8 Jan 2021 (start: 9.30am local time / 5.30am Irish time)
• UAE v Ireland – 2nd ODI – 10 Jan 2021 (start: 9.30am local time / 5.30am Irish time)
• UAE v Ireland – 3rd ODI – 12 Jan 2021 (start: 9.30am local time / 5.30am Irish time)
• UAE v Ireland – 4th ODI – 14 Jan 2021 (start: 9.30am local time / 5.30am Irish time)
• Afghanistan v Ireland – 1st ODI – 21 Jan 2021 (start: 9.30am local time / 5.30am Irish time)
• Afghanistan v Ireland – 2nd ODI – 24 Jan 2021 (start: 9.30am local time / 5.30am Irish time)
• Afghanistan v Ireland – 3rd ODI – 26 Jan 2021 (start: 9.30am local time / 5.30am Irish time)
The matches against Afghanistan will be part of the World Cup Super League (see below for details).
LIVESTREAM / BROADCAST
Matches will be livestreamed via Youtube in Ireland / UK, with further details made available closer to the match days. For the rest of the world, the series with either be shown on satellite television or livestreamed, so please check local guides.
The Ireland Men’s squad is:
Andrew Balbirnie (C), Mark Adair, Curtis Campher, Gareth Delany, Josh Little, Andrew McBrine, Barry McCarthy, James McCollum, Kevin O’Brien, Neil Rock, Simi Singh, Paul Stirling, Harry Tector, Lorcan Tucker, Craig Young.
WORLD CUP SUPER LEAGUE
Matches played as part of the inaugural ICC Cricket World Cup Super League (2020-2023) are essentially World Cup Qualifier matches, as the League will serve as part of the 2023 Cricket World Cup Qualification process.
• See the current WCSL table as it stands
The WCSL features thirteen teams, the twelve Full members of the International Cricket Council (ICC), and the Netherlands (who won the 2015–17 ICC World Cricket League Championship to qualify for this competition). Each team will play an ODI series against eight of the twelve opponents, four series at home and four away. Each series will consist of three ODIs. For the World Cup, the hosts (India in 2023), and the top seven-ranked sides thereafter, will qualify automatically. The remaining five teams will play in a qualifying event along with five Associate sides, from which two sides will go through to the final tournament.