Gary Wilson, Ireland’s T20 International captain, believes he will be leading one of the most exciting T20 sides he has been part of, going into the T20I tri-series and the ICC Men's T20 World Cup Qualifier.
Wilson, 33, took over captaincy in the shortest format in 2018. He is now preparing a dynamic squad to carry positive intent into the tri-series, which also features Scotland and the Netherlands, in Dublin from Sunday, 15 September, as well as the T20 World Cup Qualifier, beginning 18 October in UAE.
He is confident of his team, despite the lack of experience. The 15-man squad for the tri-series includes two uncapped players in 19-year-old Harry Tector and David Delany.
“My philosophy, if you call it that, to T20 cricket is that you do what you need to do to win the game of cricket," Wilson said. "We all want to see exciting players and three-dimensional cricketers playing for the national side, and I think that has really been reflected in the squad that has been picked.
I do believe it’s one of the most exciting T20 squads I've ever been part of.
"We probably don't have the experience that we've had in previous qualifying campaigns, but I do believe it's one of the most exciting T20 squads I've ever been part of."
The wicket-keeper batsman said the selections also reflected the importance given to fielding in the shortest format. Off-spinning all-rounder Tector, for example, was as one of the best fielders, he said.
"It's important to have a strong fielding side in this format, because the small margins in T20 cricket can make the difference between a win and a loss – sometimes it comes down to a run saved here, a diving stop there or an excellent catch. Harry Tector is a great example of this – he's undoubtedly one of the best fielders in the country and it'll be exciting to see what he can bring to the squad."
Full fixture list for next week's GS Holding T20I Tri-Series.— Cricket Ireland (@Irelandcricket) September 11, 2019
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Given that the Qualifier will take place on the slow surfaces of UAE, Ireland are focusing on their spin attack. Apart from Tector, they have the experienced left-arm spinner George Dockrell, wrist-spinner Jacob Mulder and all-rounder Gareth Delany.
"Looking forward to the Qualifier in the UAE, I think spin will play a key part, so we've picked three spinners in the squad. The later it gets into the tournament in those conditions, you could even see all three spinners playing in the same side. It [the Qualifier] should be a case of just trying to play good cricket on good wickets, but I do see spin playing a big part."
The work we are putting in as a squad ahead of the T20 World Cup Qualifier is crucial as we seek to give ourselves the best opportunity to progress to the main tournament in Australia next year.
Graham Ford, who signed a contract extension to be Ireland head coach till April 2022, realises the importance of the upcoming season, which would determine the team's qualification for the ICC Men's T20 World Cup in Australia next year.
"It's an incredibly important year for Irish cricket, and the work hasn't finished yet," Ford said. "The work we are putting in as a squad ahead of the T20 World Cup Qualifier is crucial as we seek to give ourselves the best opportunity to progress to the main tournament in Australia next year."