George Dockrell speaks to the media after Ireland beat Scotland by 6 wickets
Match Transcript - Ireland - 180/4, Scotland - 176/5
Congrats. First of all, just who are you going over there to the crowd, your dad?
GEORGE DOCKRELL: Yeah, I have a lot of family here at the moment. My mom and dad were over, as well as my sister lives in Melbourne. So made the short trip across with her husband and kids. Lovely having them plus my girlfriend watch the game.
Pretty tight knit group, the Irish cricket community. So a lot of people are here. Pretty special to be able to win a game and have them all there.
You sat here yesterday and were talking about how there's been a few times in recent months where you've walked out to bat, you've lost four in the power play and the game feels almost gone. A little bit later you're walking up to bat in the 11th, I think it was, but similar situation, you need 116, I think it was, less than ten overs. In your head, I know you're thinking about process, et cetera, but given the performance and you needed a win to keep the hopes alive, did you honestly walk out to bat thinking, yeah, we're going to do this?
GEORGE DOCKRELL: Yeah, I think we were backing ourselves. We knew we had to come here today to win. It's a lot of pressure, but I suppose that's why you play the games it's these kinds of moments.
Me and Curtis had a good idea what we needed to do, who we need to score off to be able to chase the game. I thought we played it quite well in the end and definitely benefited from the two of us having a bit of a period back together in the first game as well.
So I thought we put together plans quite nicely and Curtis played incredible innings and managed to keep that rate going all the way to the end.
Talk us through some of those times. We were upstairs thinking those four overs they got out of Leask and Greaves, that they've kind of got a go. I think Harry got out because he was tired in one of those. Was that something you talked about?
GEORGE DOCKRELL: The two Scottish spinners bowled so well in the first game, we knew we had to be better, I suppose, and find ways to score well off of them.
Myself and Curt are quite different in our game plan, but I thought he played brilliantly, more cross back than myself and play to our strengths to try to make sure, as I said, we didn't let that rate go too high at any point. I thought we did that relatively well and went a bit harder against the seam when it came up.
It looked like you guys complement each other quite well actually. You hit a lot straight, as you tend to do, plus one or two extra. Curtis had his reverses and mid wicket kind of hitting different areas of the ground. Richie Berrington said, "look, it was hard. There's two areas we have to kind of focus on here." Considering you've got two different strengths, it looked like it really helped you out there.
GEORGE DOCKRELL: Definitely. Me and Curt spoke about that. He slopes well, has some brilliant reverses and wraps, something that I don't do as much. I look to hit straight. So we talked about which bowler he'd go a little bit harder at, albeit we're still trying to score no matter what off each ball, I think.
It worked out nicely today we were able to do that off different bowlers. We spoke yesterday about this ground and those dimensions, so long and straight, but most of the time those fielders are a little wider and does give you gaps for twos and fours.
I wish I hadn't run so many twos. I wish I was playing for four every time. But we obviously took what we could get. A lot of twos and threes within that and got us over the line.
You guys said on Monday or thereafter it was about par. Did you think again that was par what they got out there?
GEORGE DOCKRELL: Yeah, the pitch was really good. I think it benefited us really well. It seemed to be coming on pretty well, maybe gripping a tiny bit off the slower balls. We did think 170 was obviously chasable. We needed to get off to a decent start, which we did, a bit of a platform and kick on.
It felt like the pitch just kept getting... it was pretty well throughout the whole game. By the end there, Muncie got in obviously, it felt like it was pretty true.
You only got one over with the ball. Did your heart sink a little bit when you saw Muncie go off because that matchup went out the door for you?
GEORGE DOCKRELL: Yeah, I still thought right-handers was probably when I was going to get the nod. One over is probably not my best. I hope if I get another chance, that I can do a bit better. But it's always nice to chip in. I'm happy to be bowling again.
Do you think you played better because your backs were against the wall? Do you think that's a scenario that brings out the best in this Irish side?
GEORGE DOCKRELL: I think we're trying to play a certain way now across the summer. Since Heinrich's come on board, we're trying to take a little bit of that away from how we play, trying to play a similar way so despite the situation, whether there is pressure or outside these competitions you're able to still do the same things.
Again, it's fantastic we've been able to do what we did today under the pump. Some of the bowlers were fantastic, Mark in his last over to close out the innings in you know what can be quite a tough spot.
Curtis' knock today under that pressure where you know what's going to happen if you lose the game is fantastic and really pleasing for the group to have a chase like that after a summer where our batting definitely went from strength to strength.
When you kind of went out there 61/4, how hard is it to think kind of where you are in your campaign and maybe the consequences if you hadn't done so well?
GEORGE DOCKRELL: I'm probably lucky, I think, I've played a lot of cricket now. I've been in and out of the Irish team. When I think of these kinds of games, obviously one point, it's a lot of pressure, but that's why I do it.
It's incredibly thrilling to be out in those games, be in the middle, and that's literally what you play for.
I think you always have to think about it in that sense, and that's an opportunity to win a World Cup game. That's what we have there, and that's something we're able to do. Just try to keep reframing it like that and enjoying it whether you win or lose.
For you personally, your first game in World Cup you were batting at No. 11, and now you've gone all the way to winning a game. It must be very satisfying given your journey.
GEORGE DOCKRELL: I've said a few times my last six months to a year my career is probably the most rewarding of everything I've ever done.
The left arm spinner, I kind of came in and did quite well with it straight away, but I had to work quite harder to get this batting well. It's an exciting team to be a part of and what we're trying to do within our cricket. I've just loved it this past year.
I'm trying to learn all the time. I'm delighted in situation like that, myself and Curtis can bring a game home like that and learn so much from that and take it into the next game and further games on from this competition.
Looking out to Friday, what are the main things as a team you need to do for the best chance of facing West Indies?
GEORGE DOCKRELL: I think just keep getting better and better game to game. With the ball we know there's bits we know we can improve on. Throughout that match Scotland batted brilliantly in certain periods and put us under pressure.
Keep taking chances, try to reduce that total if we can, and doing a little bit better with the bat and make sure we're setting the platform up and being able to bring it home. We'll take a huge amount of confidence from that game and how we went about our work into Friday's match.
You spoke about the last six months, 12 months with your batting, and you developed quite a reputation of being a finisher. What about finishing do you like a lot? Is it the thrill? Just doing what you did today? What is it, the whole package?
GEORGE DOCKRELL: I think every game is a little bit different. The scenario is a little bit different, and I'm learning so much as I go. I'm by no means any kind of finished product. I'm trying to get better every single game.
I quite enjoyed working out how you can do it different ways, different conditions, different bowlers, how to pace out innings to make sure you give yourself the best chance of doing it.
Started somewhere with a couple of knocks in ODIs and T20s where I wasn't able to bring us home, and those kind of hurt a little bit. Again, if you learn from them, I feel like I'm in a better place for having a couple of games where I didn't do that.
It's quite an exciting part of the game. It's something I really enjoy, those field sets and you know how many runs an over you need as opposed to more just playing the ball and playing on its merit. It's probably a little bit more on the game theory side of things. So I think that's what excites me about it.
Do you work on it even, say, during practise, during training, not just with your skills but also mentally preparing yourself for these situations?
GEORGE DOCKRELL: Yeah, a lot of what I do, I suppose now, is more so trying to think of scenarios and work out what those options are. I'll probably be the first to say I'm not great at in the nets, if it's just bat the ball, but if someone gives me a scenario, I kind of enjoy that little battle of trying to manipulate the field or win that little moment in the game and trying to work out whether you can anticipate what's coming and react if it's not that.
As I said, it's something I'm trying to get better at. It's one of those things the more often you get yourself in those situations, you learn so much and feed off of it. Thankfully the last year we've found ourselves in a lot more big games whereby we're actually in a position to win, and you just keep picking up a lot as you go.
It's quite a young batting lineup above you. You've spoken briefly with us about your transition about becoming a batsman from the bowling. What's it like to become that veteran batsman now in that middle order of the team where you're anchoring, as you say, you come in early with a few innings, but at the same time, you've got to support the guys that are above you, the younger guys like Curtis, but also Harry Tector, who was out there today. What's that role been like for you, do you think?
GEORGE DOCKRELL: I love it. I suppose I'm quite experienced in age, in caps and all that, but again a lot of my batting has been quite recent.
I think we all feed off each other pretty well. It's such an exciting team to have the likes of Harry and Curtis who have come in and hit the ground running in national cricket and have been outstanding.
I learn as much from them as they might do from me. It's quite a nice group in that sense. We're always able to pick up from one another.
Again, I think I've benefited a lot from playing a lot of cricket, albeit as a bowler. Probably me being the one to get hit for sixes and fours a lot, but you do pick up quite a bit when it's your turn to bat.
As a group, we do bounce off one another. We've all been learning a lot the last year or so, especially since Heinrich's come on board. I think we've changed a little bit of our approach. We're all trying to buy into that at the moment.
I think the way we've communicated as a group has been great. We've seen a little bit of success, I suppose, but there's a lot more work to be done.
Just sort of on that batting out there with Curtis, a guy who looked like for all intents and purposes was in full state the way he bats. What's that like as an athlete just sitting on the other end? Obviously you played a good role with your cameo as well, but when you see a guy who takes over the game, what's it like to look at on the other end?
GEORGE DOCKRELL: It's incredible. I suppose that's what you play for, to be playing at a World Cup and watching a guy do what he did, that kind of knock to take the game away from a team, that's kind of what you strive for.
I guess we had that little period at the start where we needed to work through and take a couple of risks but then get the reward towards the end. By the end, Curtis hit almost every ball for four to finish off the game there. It's fantastic to watch. Delighted to have been on the other end, probably the best seat for it.
When you win a game that on paper you were behind for about three-quarters of it, is that the case of just being happy to win even when you might not have had the best bowling performance, or is it a case of where you think for the final game that's a crucial game you have to take stock and there are a few issues to iron out? I just wondered what sort of mentality you take into it when you maybe won a game that people didn't expect for the most part you would?
GEORGE DOCKRELL: I think you just have to keep getting better game by game. It's not a series we're playing here. You can't learn slowly. It has to be quite quick. You have to pick up as much as you can each match. And each team you bump up against has a different style. You can't take everything from game to game.
Look, we have a lot of things we want to work on from today's game, take it into Friday. Again, none of it's training, but there will be a lot of great conversations. Something similar happened after the first match where we quite quickly put to bed the result but learn from it what we want to do different.
I probably played slightly different innings today having learned from the match a couple days ago. So again, everybody will be having those conversations with all the different sports staff, amongst ourselves as well, and trying to learn how we can be a little bit better come Friday because we know we need to keep improving if we want to get that win.
George, you mentioned changing your approach under Heinrich Malan. Can you talk a little bit more about that, kind of what he's brought into the team and how you're trying to play?
GEORGE DOCKRELL: Yeah, Heinrich's been incredibly clear what he wants from us as a group. His communication is excellent. The roles he's defined for everyone are very clear to us.
And Gary Wilson, the batting coach as well, have most certainly been wanting us to take our options a little bit earlier. Again, it probably takes the pressure away from it that you know what your shots are and you go to them as soon as possible and make sure we keep throwing punches.
Some days that means you're all out from your hundred, but it means that you're always testing yourselves, and when you're chasing the game, you're always giving yourself a chance. We saw that when we played India in the summer and almost chased 220 total back home in Ireland.
I think the clarity, the communication, and how well they define everyone's roles has really helped us, and I think we've learned a huge amount from them.
Just after last year's T20 World Cup and given the performances, you've played in quite a few of these tournaments now, is there some sort of added pressure that Ireland as a full member feel they need to step up and perform better? How is the mindset coming into this tournament?
GEORGE DOCKRELL: Look, we've probably spoken ourselves about it the last while about how we wanted to play better in T20 World Cups. ODI cricket, we've had some success over the last while, but T20s we probably have underperformed. So we're aware of that as a group.
As I said, Heinrich coming on board, in the process we've played a lot better in T20 cricket. It's still a process that's ongoing, and we're still learning from it all at the moment.
Yeah, it's something we're all aware of as a group, and it's great to get the win today and hopefully we'll build on that again in a couple days time.
Hi George, congratulations. I suppose the good thing is we didn't need Mark Adair, Gareth Delany or even Barry McCarthy. That must give you a lot of confidence going into Friday.
GEORGE DOCKRELL: Definitely. The way we've tried to play our T20 cricket across the summer, we've had contributions from a number of different batters across the summer. Myself and Curtis will definitely take confidence from that.
We know who's coming in. As you said, Mark Adair has had some great success this summer as well with the bat, as has Barry McCarthy. So it's fantastic to have that depth. Definitely gives you a bit of confidence when you're batting that you can take your options early, as we spoke about, and have a bit of depth all the way down.
And you were talking about what Heinrich has brought to the team. What has Nathan brought to the spinners? How has he helped you and Simi and Gareth?
GEORGE DOCKRELL: Nathan's been absolutely brilliant since coming on board. Having a specialist spin coach is fantastic for us spinners. Not just technically, but I think tactically he's got some great ideas.
I think us as a group have had quite a bit of -- some great chats and a bit of success across the summer especially, with trying out some of the slightly different tactics we probably haven't done before.
He's been great so far, brings a lot of information to us and challenges us in lots of ways.
Again, I've probably not evolved a huge amount since he's come on board, but I look forward to keep working with him and seeing if I can get the most out of my bowl.
Thanks very much for joining us.