Gareth Delany relishing taking on the best team in the world
Ireland’s Men are set to take on India in the two-match LevelUp11 India Tour of Ireland T20 Series 2022 at Malahide, starting on Sunday afternoon. With crowds in Ireland starved of attending top-class cricket due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the fans have snapped up the tickets well in advance as the games have sold-out.
Facing India at home is quite a daunting prospect at the best of times. For many of the Irish players involved it will be a career highlight, none more so than for Gareth Delany. The 25 year-old is looking forward to the games but knows how difficult the task will be against the world’s best T20I side:
“It’s an incredibly exciting opportunity to go against the world’s best as we start off our international summer of fixtures. It’ll be a very stiff challenge against some of the best players in this format but it’s very exciting all the same. Hopefully, we’ll be able to put in two strong performances.”
Given its population size, top-class cricket talent is always plentiful in India, and they arrive with a hugely talented squad, all looking to make a name for themselves during these two matches. Delany picks out a few who he’s especially hoping to face over the next few days:
“It’d be really cool to bowl to Suryakumar Yadav. He’s an incredibly talented batter who can play 360 degrees and mix it up between power and finesse. Bhuvneshwar Kumar is also one of the world’s best new ball bowlers in T20 and has a very low economy rate for T20 cricket, so it would be a good challenge to go against someone of his calibre.”
Ireland has looked to reset its T20 game after the departure from the 2021 T20 World Cup in the United Arab Emirates, something Delany says was difficult to take at the time:
“Not qualifying for the Super 12 stage was an incredibly disappointing experience for us as a squad. We’ve a lot of young guys in our squad at the moment so that experience will stand to us and the fixtures that we have this summer will hopefully benefit us going forward.”
Despite that setback he’s confident that the team will bounce back with improved performances:
“If we can play to our best, then I’d be pretty confident that we’ll show progress, but it’ll be a very difficult and pressurising few games. We’ve identified areas that we can improve on from that last T20 World Cup to hopefully go one step further later this year in Australia.”
As Ireland build up to the ICC T20 World Cup in Australia later in the year, with further T20 fixtures against New Zealand, South Africa and Afghanistan to come in the next couple of months, Delany and his team-mates will be hoping to put their best feet forward and show head coach Heinrich Malan what they’re capable of:
“We’ve a packed summer schedule against some of the best T20 sides in the world so it’ll be a good chance to find out where we are as a team and identify areas we need to work on to be as best prepared for that first game in Australia as possible.”
The squads are:
- Ireland squad: Andrew Balbirnie (Captain), Mark Adair, Curtis Campher, Gareth Delany, George Dockrell, Stephen Doheny, Josh Little, Andrew McBrine, Barry McCarthy, Conor Olphert, Paul Stirling, Harry Tector, Lorcan Tucker, Craig Young.
- India squad: Hardik Pandya (Captain), Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Ishan Kishan, Ruturaj Gaikwad, Sanju Samson, Suryakumar Yadav, Venkatesh Iyer, Deepak Hooda, Rahul Tripathi, Dinesh Karthik, Yuzvendra Chahal, Axar Patel, Ravi Bishnoi, Harshal Patel, Avesh Khan, Arshdeep Singh, Umran Malik.
The fixtures are:
- Sunday 26 June: Ireland v India, 1st T20I (Malahide, start 4.30pm).
- Tuesday 28 June: Ireland v India, 2nd T20I (Malahide, start 4.30pm).
About coverage of the series:
- Television: the full broadcaster list will be announced mid-week.
- Radio/digital: talkSPORT will be providing commentary of both India games. As one of the world’s biggest sports radio stations, talkSPORT has a commentary team that includes Tim Murtagh, Steve Harmison, broadcasters Neil Manthorp, Jarrod Kimber, Andrew McKenna and talkSPORT’s Cricket Editor Jon Norman. To follow the action, download the talkSPORT app, re-tune your DAB radio in the UK, listen at talkSPORT.com or tell your smart speaker to ‘play talkSPORT 2’. Along with talkSPORT’s online coverage in the Republic of Ireland, talkSPORT is also linking up with its sister stations, FM104 and Q102 in Dublin, 96FM and C103 in Cork, Live 95 in Limerick, LMFM in Drogheda and U105 in Belfast, so listeners can hear extended coverage, with live guests, highlights and player reaction.