Gareth Delany looking ahead to a big 2022 with top opposition touring and a World Cup ahead
As Ireland Men’s cricket team prepares for a big year ahead – which includes hosting four touring sides and a heading to a T20 World Cup in Australia – all-rounder Gareth Delany hopes his performances on the recent Ireland Wolves tour to Namibia will be a springboard for a sustained run in the senior side.
Despite the fact that he’s played almost 50 matches for Ireland Men, all-rounder Gareth Delany believes that competition for places in the national team is high, but has gained plenty of confidence from the Wolves tour. Delany played in four of the 50-over matches against the African side, scoring 282 runs at an average 70.50 – striking his first List A century (104) and finishing with three of the top five individual scores of the series.
To complement this, the leg spinner also finished equal highest wicket-taker of the series with 10 dismissals at an average of 15.70, claiming the only five-wicket haul amongst either side (5-39).
Looking back on the series, Delany said:
“My main aim ahead of the series was to make a case to be included in the upcoming ODI squads by putting in some good performances with both the bat and the ball, so I was pretty happy to perform on this trip.
“In terms of the one-day games, I think a drawn series was a fair outcome. We played some really good cricket at times, but we also lacked the clinical edge to close out the run chase in the first game, despite Curtis [Campher] and Pebbles [Neil Rock] doing their best to get us into winning positions. Unfortunately, we didn't perform well enough with the bat in the third game to post a competitive total and give our bowlers a target to defend.
“In the two games that we did win, we were very good with the ball in hand, restricting them both times and putting some good partnerships together with the bat, so that was very pleasing. Personally, I was happy to be able to put a string of performances together with both bat and ball and to make minor improvements throughout the series.
“Not seeing the side home in either of the first two games was disappointing, though, as I'd like to get into positions of seeing the team home in a run chase more often - especially when I've gotten in with the bat.”
Delany believes that consistency is a key to improving his game at the top level:
“In terms of the batting, I think it was trusting my game plan and trying to play to my strengths, so allowing myself time early on in my innings to assess conditions and mainly focus on rotating the strike and backing myself to catch-up later on in the innings. With the ball I was just trying to be consistent in attacking the stumps and build pressure by not going for boundaries and force the batter to take more risk where possible.
“I don't really think it was a case of me looking to do anything differently, more so just occupying the crease for long periods and helping to put the team into a good position with the bat, and then look to be consistent and accurate with the ball.
“I'd like to think I can break into the team, but the ODI side has been performing very well for a long period of time, - plus there’s a lot of competition for places with guys having put in some very good performances. So the only thing that I can focus on will be to try and put in some good performances consistently over the summer to keep pushing myself into contention.”
Ireland will face a massive summer of cricket - with India, New Zealand and Afghanistan coming to these shores while the two T20’s against South Africa will be played in Bristol – making it a very exciting prospect for all the Irish players:
“It's a really exciting summer of cricket. There was a definite buzz among the group when the India games were announced, after the massive crowds and atmosphere when they were here back in 2018. As a group we want to play as much cricket against the top teams as possible and that is certainly the case this summer.”
Looking ahead to the start of the inter-provincial season with Munster Reds next month, Delany knows that he must perform from the start of the season to build momentum:
“Naturally you want to keep your form going when you've got into a rhythm, but it will be a different story back home where conditions might be more favourable for bowlers early on in the season. You’ll be playing against guys who know in more depth your strengths and weaknesses, so hopefully I can adjust to both quickly.
“It would be great to compete for both the Inter-Provincial trophies this year. We know we're well capable of beating the other sides, but we need to back up our performances this year and then we'll hopefully be there or thereabouts.”
With a T20 World Cup coming up later in the year in Australia, Delany is acutely aware that some strong performances for the Reds in the inter-provincial series could earn him a ticket on the plane:
“With T20Is, it's probably harder to put a consistent run of good performances together given the nature of the format, but if I can put in some match-winning performances with the bat and ball for Munster at Inter-Pro level, and perform at international level during the home internationals, it puts me in a good place to be part of that World Cup squad come October.”
Tickets are now on sale for all home internationals in 2022, and the 26th June match against India Men has already sold out. Tickets are available from: https://www.cricketireland.ie/tickets
IRELAND MEN’S FIXTURE SCHEDULE
Ireland Men v India Men T20I series
- Sunday 26 June: Ireland v India, 1st T20I (Malahide) *
- Tuesday 28 June: Ireland v India, 2nd T20I (Malahide) *
* Subject to licence
Ireland Men v New Zealand Men series
- Sunday 10 July: Ireland v New Zealand, 1st ODI (Malahide)
- Tuesday 12 July: Ireland v New Zealand, 2nd ODI (Malahide)
- Friday 15 July: Ireland v New Zealand, 3rd ODI (Malahide)
- Monday 18 July: Ireland v New Zealand, 1st T20I (Stormont)
- Wednesday 20 July: Ireland v New Zealand, 2nd T20I (Stormont)
- Friday 22 July: Ireland v New Zealand, 3rd T20I (Stormont)
Ireland Men v South Africa Men T20I series
- Wednesday 3 August: Ireland v South Africa, 1st T20I (Bristol)
- Friday 5 August: Ireland v South Africa, 2nd T20I (Bristol)
Ireland Men v Afghanistan T20I series
- Tuesday 9 August: Ireland v Afghanistan, 1st T20I (Stormont)
- Thursday 11 August: Ireland v Afghanistan, 2nd T20I (Stormont)
- Friday 12 August: Ireland v Afghanistan, 3rd T20I (Stormont)
- Monday 15 August: Ireland v Afghanistan, 4th T20I (Stormont)
- Wednesday 17 August: Ireland v Afghanistan, 5th T20I (Stormont)