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Curtis Campher

Who is Curtis Campher?

Ireland News

The 21-year old Ireland all-rounder has made quite an impression in the series against England with bat and ball. But who is he?

A South African by birth, Curtis Campher played under-19 cricket for the Proteas before moving to Ireland earlier this year. Campher had an Irish passport - his grandmother was Irish - but what brought him into the Ireland national team was a chat with Niall O'Brien.

In 2018, Ireland were playing a warm-up game in South Africa against a provincial XI featuring Campher. Already an under-19 South African player at the time, Campher played a good hand in the game and O'Brien, who came to know of his Irish connection, had a chat with him after the game.

"Campher played under-19s for South Africa in England and got Tom Banton out. I played against him in Pretoria in 2018," Niall O'Brien recounted on Cricket Inside Out before the series. "I was at the non-striker's end and he just whispered in my ear - I got an Irish passport. So I thought, right, well, have a bit of this and he played well, bowled well, batted well. And after the game, some conversation started happening and he was very interested in playing for Ireland.

"He is a clean hitter, bowls skiddy medium pace and apparently he has got that die-hard South African attitude, which I love."

Two games into his debut series and Campher has 127 runs and three wickets, averaging 127 with the bat and 25.33 with the ball. More than the numbers, his composure under pressure has been exemplary.

Curtis Campher has taken three wickets in the series so far
Curtis Campher has taken three wickets in the series so far

Coming in to bat at 28/5 and 78/5 in the first two matches, the 21-year old made half-centuries each time to resurrect Ireland's faltering innings. With the ball, he has created vital breakthroughs and shown immense potential with his skiddy pace.

Campher's back-to-back half-centuries makes him the first Irish player to record fifty-plus scores in his first two ODI innings. Eoin Morgan had made 99 and 41 in his first two innings for Ireland.

Campher is yet to play a professional game in Ireland but his teammates are sold on him as an international cricketer. Andrew Balbirnie, the Ireland skipper, was lavish in his praise for Campher after an impressive debut.

"Coming in at 28-5 on your first appearance, there can be a lot of pressure, but he [Campher] had great application and showed what it took to get a score on that wicket," Balbirnie said. "He's been such an impact player for us with bat and ball. He's only got out once in these two games. He's got that dogged fight about him. People want to play with him, they want to bat around him and bowl in partnerships with him."

Campher, on his part, has settled down in the setup. He thoroughly enjoyed his ODI debut and capped it off with another brilliant showing in the second ODI.

"One of the guys in the huddle said 'this is your day, you don't get many more like this'," Campher said after his debut. "I was lying in bed thinking it can only go downhill - but hopefully it doesn't. It has been a dream come true to make my ODI debut. I didn't expect it to happen so soon and it has been amazing so far.

"The biggest thing the guys said to me is to take it all in and really enjoy the day and I think I did that quite well. You only have an ODI debut once and I really loved it. To play against world champions and play nicely is just the cherry on top."

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