Ahead of arguably Ireland’s biggest match since attaining ICC Full Membership, wicket-keeper batsman Gary Wilson urged his team to not get overawed by the occasion, when they step on to the field at Lord’s to take on England.
Ireland have had a remarkable journey to the upper echelons of cricket that culminated with them being granted Test status in June 2017. They have since played two Tests, against Pakistan in Dublin, and against Afghanistan, in their maiden away Test in Dehradun, but a Test match at the 'home of cricket' will be extra special.
“In my generation, I don’t think any of us expected to be playing a Test match at Lord’s, so to have the opportunity is great,” Wilson said.
“But we mustn’t lose sight of the fact that we have to come here and perform as well. That’s what it is about: it’s not just turning up and having all the fanfare around Lord’s, we have to try and put in a good performance against a very good England side. But we’ve got some good players as well, and we’re confident we can do that.”
🎥 ONE MINUTE WITH: We grab a minute with Ireland’s Head of Physiotherapy and Medical Services @glammyphysio about his role with the men’s squad and how he plans to keep the players cool during the predicted heatwave this week.#BackingGreen ☘️🏏 pic.twitter.com/mbL2m3s6Lv— Cricket Ireland (@Irelandcricket) 21 July 2019
Ireland hit the ground running for the historic Test with their first training session on Sunday, 21 July. A huge part of their acclimatisation would involve getting used to the famous slope on the Lord’s pitch that runs from the north end of the ground and drops towards the south end.
“Training today was good, it was the first time we’ve been here in a while,” Wilson said. “We had two good days at Merchant Taylor’s [School Ground, in a warm-up match], which was a good run out.
“A few guys had time in the middle, and for the bowlers it was about getting some overs in the legs. But it’s nice to finally get here to Lord’s and get to know the conditions and facilities, and for those guys who haven’t played here before, they’ll find the slope fairly interesting.”
In my generation, I don’t think any of us expected to be playing a Test match at Lord’s
Following their three-match T20I series against Zimbabwe in Bready, which Ireland drew 1-1, the team now has to go through not only a short turnaround time, but also a complete change in format. But Wilson accepted it as part of the demands of modern-day cricket, and trusted his muscle memory to take over and ease out the transition.
“I’ve had a lot of time in county cricket going from format to format, and you just learn it is something you have to do,” he said.
“I guess there’s enough miles in my legs now to know if you haven’t hit a red ball for a while, you don’t suddenly forget how to hit one. We’ve got a good opportunity now with three days' practice, so it’s just about fine-tuning.”