Ireland Wolves arrive in Sri Lanka, Head Coach and Captain give their views of the tour ahead

Wolves arrive in Colombo
Wolves arrive in Colombo
©Cricket Ireland
 
Jack Tector, Pete Johnston and Harry Tector (at Dublin Airport prior to departure)
Jack Tector, Pete Johnston and Harry Tector (at Dublin Airport prior to departure)
©Cricket Ireland
 

The Ireland Wolves squad has arrived in Sri Lanka ahead of a five-week tour that will see them play a seven-match series against Sri Lanka A – Head Coach Pete Johnston and Wolves Captain Harry Tector spoke about the challenge ahead.

Pete Johnston, Head Coach of the Ireland Wolves, addressed the tour expectations and impact of some of the more experienced players:

“It would be great to see the guys build on some good performances from last summer. We had an encouraging win over Scotland A, which was a strong side, and we drew Bangladesh A in the one-day series. So now it's another challenge in subcontinental conditions to see how the guys adapt. We haven’t set ourselves too high a goal until we get out here. We want to see what sort of opposition we're up against, and assess the conditions on the ground first.”

“My main expectation for the squad is simply to get better every day that we're out here, as a team to learn as fast we can, review as we go and hopefully finish the tour a lot stronger than when we started. If we can do that then we've a good chance of getting some wins and being competitive in the series. It's a great experience for the guys to experience subcontinent conditions and take as much away from it as they can.”

“While it’s a young squad, it is a huge benefit to have the likes of Barry McCarthy, James Shannon and Craig Young involved - players that have experienced all sorts of pressure situations against world-class opposition. I think their experience will certainly help in a number of areas, including being a support to Harry - a young skipper, but a very competent one.”

Asked about preparations for the tour, Johnston confirmed that it has been a busy schedule since the end of the home season in September:

“We haven’t had much of a break - it's been a busy winter programme. Some of the guys have been working with the Academy through the first half of the winter, some with under-age squads, and some of the batters spent time in Bangalore. A number of the bowlers also recently spent some time in La Manga at a camp. In addition, we've had guys like James McCollum and Harry Tector playing overseas, both coming back from a successful time in Australia.”

“Fitness has been a priority - the guys have been pushing themselves, and the fitness of the team is good, but will be tested in these conditions. A number of the senior coaching team have been involved with the fitness and skills sessions - the likes of Graham Ford, Ben Smith, Rob Cassell and Ryan Eagleson - these guys have really played a big part, and the squad is looking fit and strong.”

Johnston also revealed his advice to his squad ahead of the tour starting:

“My advice to the squad is just to not look too far ahead - to try and stay in the moment as much as possible. It is a long tour, and we've got a quick turnaround from the moment we arrive - we've one practice session and then we're straight into a two-day game, which we'll very much use for practice.”

“From day-to-day though they should just concentrate on doing the little things right, and that all started on the plane. You need to give yourself the best chance with your travel plan and make sure you arrive not too fatigued and to try and avoid injury. From then it's about things like pool sessions, recovery, nutrition - all those little things are going to help you get through the course of the tour and most importantly, to enjoy it.”

“Sri Lanka is a brilliant country and it's a long tour, so we will definitely break the time up with the odd excursion, just for the guys to get out to experience the culture. I think it is really important to enjoy the tour, and I have no doubt these guys will have an enjoyable time on and off the field.”

Harry Tector, 19, captain of the Ireland Wolves, said:

“I think we should go into the red ball series with confidence - we have some very good red ball players in the squad. We have a quick turnaround before our first game and we’ll have to be ready - but I feel we can do that. During the two red ball games, we'll look to put pressure on them and look to win those key moments in each game. As for the rest of the tour, we'll take that when it comes, but right now our focus is fully on the four-day games."

Tector is keen to ensure his role is more than just on-field leadership:

"The captain's role off the field while on tour is really about making sure everyone's getting on OK. Being away on tour, it can at times be quite a lonely time, especially if you're going through a low patch with the bat or ball. My role is to make sure that everyone's in good spirits, getting rest between games or taking some time out for an excursion or just to relax by the pool."

"We have quite a young squad on the whole, but it'll be very exciting to see some of the younger guys get on like Jonathan (JJ) Garth, Stephen Doheny and Neil Rock - they have the talent, so hopefully they can hit the ground running when they get out there. It should be a great five weeks experience for all."

Tector’s last three months have been an exciting time personally, playing club cricket in Sydney, attending a batting camp in India and being offered a central player contract for the first time. He said:

"I loved Sydney and playing with Randwick-Petersham. I certainly learned a lot about my game, scored some runs and probably matured a bit personally as well. Then Bangalore was brilliant spending ten days where you could just focus on your own game and learning from some of the older guys like William Porterfield. To be able to just pick someone's brain like that was highly enjoyable. I learnt loads about my game against spin, which will hopefully come in handy here in Sri Lanka, and definitely in the future as well."

"The central contract offer was brilliant, and a bit of a surprise when I was told. Has it put more pressure on me? Not really, no more than the pressure I put on myself already. I'm still pretty young and still learning a lot about my game so I see it as a bit of a confidence boost in the sense that hopefully I'm doing things right, going in the right direction."

The Wolves squad have a practice session today, and then head into a two-day warm up match against local opposition before moving into a four-day match against Sri Lanka A at the Sinhalese Sports Club Ground, Colombo on Saturday – a ground which recently hosted a Sri Lanka v England Test match.

 About the Ireland Wolves

The Ireland Wolves team was created in 2017 to bridge the gap between domestic first class and international cricket. The squad recently completed an eight-match series against Bangladesh A in Ireland, which followed on from a tour to Bangladesh made by the Wolves in 2017.

Ireland Wolves tour schedule

1 January 2019 - Two-day warm-up match (MCG Katunayake)
5 January 2019 - 1st Four-day match v Sri Lanka A (SSC Colombo)
13 January 2019 - 2nd Four-day match v Sri Lanka A (MRICS - Hambantota)
19 January 2019 - 1st One-Day match v Sri Lanka A (MRICS - Hambantota)
21 January 2019 - 2nd One-Day match v Sri Lanka A (MRICS - Hambantota)
24 January 2019 - 3rd One-Day match v Sri Lanka A (SSC Colombo)
26 January 2019 - 4th One-Day match v Sri Lanka A (SSC Colombo)
29 January 2019 - 5th One-Day match v Sri Lanka A (RPICS - Colombo)
30 January 2019 - Ireland Wolves depart

Ireland Wolves squads

Red ball matches

• Mark Adair
• James Cameron-Dow
• Stephen Doheny
• Jonathan (JJ) Garth
• Aaron Gillespie
• Josh Little
• Barry McCarthy
• James McCollum
• Neil Rock
• James Shannon
• Harry Tector (captain)
• Jack Tector
• Lorcan Tucker
• Craig Young

White ball matches

• Mark Adair
• James Cameron-Dow
• Gareth Delany
• Jonathan (JJ) Garth
• Shane Getkate
• Josh Little
• Barry McCarthy
• James McCollum
• Neil Rock
• James Shannon
• Harry Tector (captain)
• Jack Tector
• Stuart Thompson
• Lorcan Tucker
• Craig Young