Interview: Dockrell - “The game’s developed, there’s a need to work hard on all aspects of the game”
DEHRADUN – A day after scoring his second half-century in One-Day Internationals and playing an important role in Ireland’s successful run chase against Afghanistan, George Dockrell was back at the team hotel in the Indian city of Dehradun reflecting on the series, his recent batting performances and the need to continually work on all aspects of his game.
The 26-year old left-arm orthodox spinner has almost a decade of international experience under his belt – but feels learning and improvement is an ongoing process. Having taken more than 260 wickets for Ireland since his debut in 2010, it is, in fact, his batting performances of late that have attracted particular praise.
About his batting, he said:
“I obviously came into the team as a bowler, but these days it is important to keep improving all aspects of your game. I was a batter at under-age level, and I’ve been encouraged to keep working on my batting over the years, but the way I see it now is that all three aspects - my batting, my bowling, my fielding – they all have to be as good as they can possibly be at all times. It’s nice to have all those different areas to work on and put your energy into.”
“The game definitely has developed in the last number of years - you look at teams around the world and you see there are guys coming in lower down the order winning matches. That’s what you have to have - a batting line-up that bats deep. There are not too many bowlers around the world these days who can’t play a little cameo with the bat, so it is more and more important these days that bowlers coming into the team are looking to add value with the bat as well as the ball.”
Asked about the conditions on tour so far, he said:
“Conditions are obviously different wherever you go around the world. In Ireland, we tend to have the greener wickets that tend to swing and seam around a little bit more, although they still do offer a little bit of spin as well. Oman had very good wickets there at the Academy, they were pretty flat decks and relatively small grounds, but there’s a different challenge here in India where we have a slightly bigger pitch, and the pitch has spun a little bit.”
“The wickets here in Dehradun are changing as the series is going on. Because the series is being played at the one stadium, we are reusing wickets which have meant that they have tended to become a bit slower and a little bit lower. The pitches have also seemed to offer a little more spin in the last couple of games, so it’s been about trying to deceive batsmen more with lateral movement than with depth.”
Image: George Dockrell bowling against Afghanistan (5 March 2019)
About the series so far, he said:
“In the T20s the Afghans showed some pretty incredible power hitting that we weren’t able to keep up with, it was a huge challenge trying to minimise their batsmen and their ability to strike the ball. We went into those games with our plans - and back-up plans - to counteract their attack, but the biggest learning we had was the need to be able to adapt quickly.”
“The ODIs are definitely a format that suits us – there’s always good games when we play the Afghans in ODIs, and there have indeed been some good games so far in this series.”
Dockrell had just played a key supporting role, scoring 54 runs, in a memorable run chase that saw Ireland hit 260-6 chasing 257 for victory. He and Player of the Match Andy Balbirnie (who scored 145*) combined for a fifth-wicket partnership of 143 runs.
While pleased with his on-field contribution, Dockrell was also pleased with a recent role he played off the field. Before the start of the second ODI, Dockrell was asked to present his fellow left-arm spinner James Cameron-Dow his debut cap:
“I was absolutely delighted to be asked to give JCD his cap. Obviously, it’s such a special moment, it’s a huge achievement to represent your country and get your first cap. It was well deserved and he had such a great start to the year out in Sri Lanka with the Wolves.”
“We’ve got quite a strong spin group with us out on this tour, and can all learn off each other. Everyone brings something different to the table, and you can always pick up bits and pieces here and there when you pick another guy’s brains.”
The Ireland Men’s team is in action on Friday in the fourth One-Day International against Afghanistan, with the series level at 1-1.
A livestream will be available, with details posted on Cricket Ireland social media channels.
Afghanistan series – ODI Squad
William Porterfield (Captain), Andrew Balbirnie, James Cameron-Dow, Peter Chase, George Dockrell, Andrew McBrine, Barry McCarthy, James McCollum, Tim Murtagh, Kevin O’Brien, Stuart Poynter, Boyd Rankin, Simi Singh, Paul Stirling, Stuart Thompson, Lorcan Tucker
Afghanistan series – Test Squad
William Porterfield (Captain), Andrew Balbirnie, James Cameron-Dow, George Dockrell, Andrew McBrine, Barry McCarthy, James McCollum, Tim Murtagh, Kevin O’Brien, Stuart Poynter, Boyd Rankin, Simi Singh, Paul Stirling, Stuart Thompson, Lorcan Tucker
Tour Schedule (upcoming matches)
• 8 March: Afghanistan v Ireland - 4th ODI – start time of 1pm (local time) or 7.30am (GMT)
• 10 March: Afghanistan v Ireland - 5th ODI – start time of 1pm (local time) or 7.30am (GMT)
• 15–19 March: Afghanistan v Ireland - Test Match – start time of 10am (local time) or 4.30am (GMT)