WINDHOEK, Namibia – Several enforced squad changes have been made within the touring Ireland Wolves squad as head coach Pete Johnston assesses the T20 series last week, and looks ahead to the upcoming 50-over matches in Namibia.
The squad changes are:
- Peter Chase has picked up an Achilles injury and has had to fly home for treatment;
- Curtis Campher, who was flying out to join the senior squad batting camp in Spain, will now stay for the 50-over series;
- Mike Frost will join the squad as cover and has flown out today;
- Fionn Hand has now recovered from a COVID infection and has flown out to join the squad; and
- Ruhan Pretorius will no longer be available to travel and will miss the tour.
Despite these changes, and the 2-1 series loss in the T20s last week, Wolves’ Head Coach Pete Johnston was pleased with the performances by his players:
“Yeah, there were plenty of good individual performances during the T20 series – the two fifties by Shane Getkate and Steven Doheny were both quality knocks, and it was great to see that from both players.
It was exactly how we want to go about our T20 cricket. I thought Curtis Campher in the second game was outstanding – he got two wickets in an over, which probably changed the game for us, and then also a great cameo at the back end. The batters were well supported by Murray Cummins at the top, and Neil Rock finishing things off as well.
“I thought Peter Chase has been excellent. He’s been out for a long time, and has come back and bowled with great aggression – again, which is something we obviously need to see moving forward. It was also good to see Josh Manley have a good performance with the ball in the last game as well.
“Despite this, the players were very disappointed to lose the series. It’s been a very competitive and has come down to that fine margin of game one with the two-run DLS defeat – just when it looked like we were probably getting on top with the ball in that game.
In Thursday’s game, the partnership between JJ Smit and Nicol Loftie-Eaton put a lot of pressure on us, and they obviously got home fairly comfortably in the end and deserved to win the game and the series. However, all the coaches and players can be pleased with their performances. We’ve had quite a bit of rain around and having just one grass practice before the first game, so there’s huge positives to take and it was clear that we made progress as the series went on with both the bat and ball.”
How has the tour gone so far in terms of achieving your objectives?
“What we’ve been looking for in terms of the T20 series was for the players to push the boundaries on their skills, to try and get their execution right, to have a good understanding and awareness of their own games, and others, and to be able to assess the conditions and the situation in the game and play accordingly. Throughout the series with bat and ball I’m very pleased with how they’ve gone about doing that.
“There’s been lots of positives, and it’s very important that we keep pushing our T20 skills upwards and keep challenging ourselves, being the best at what we do, but also knowing that we have to add to our games in certain areas. It was very pleasing to see some of the performances as the series went on.
“It’s certainly been a challenging tour. We’ve had a bit of illness going through the camp, a bit of a tummy bug, it’s probably taken down about seven or eight players at this stage and some of the coaching staff as well. So that’s been a challenge for us. On the injury side, unfortunately Graham Kennedy in the first game dived and hurt his shoulder so he sustained a pretty bad injury.
We’re hopeful of getting him back maybe towards the back end of the trip. Peter Chase was very unfortunate in yesterday’s game, has done a bit of a damage there on his landing front foot. Unfortunately, he’ll have to return home and have a further assessment on it.
“We hope for the best for Pete. I’ve no doubt that he’ll rehab and come back strong and play hopefully a big part for a lot of our summer to come. I suppose on the other hand then we have Gareth Delany and Fionn Hand who have just arrived, then Mike Frost will arrive on Monday, which will give us a little bit more depth in the squad and allow us to rotate bowlers a little bit better. So that’s all good news for us moving into the 50-over series.
“Overall, though, I think the players have learned a huge amount so far on the tour. We’ve had the new national men’s head coach Henrich Malan come in, and it’s been brilliant for them to get an understanding of where Henrich wants the Irish team to go with their cricket in all formats. And for him to also get an understanding of the sort of players we have and the coaching staff.
I think the big learnings from the players, and Heinrich’s been big on pushing the communication piece and the sharing of information from the guys and developing that understanding of their own games, but also of each other’s games. I think that was probably one of the most pleasing things throughout the T20 series, that I felt that communication was a lot better amongst the group as we went on.
“And obviously that helps in terms of assessing and reacting under pressure in the moment. No day is the same in cricket, so that’s a key piece. It’s been brilliant to have him come in and freshen things up with a few new ideas around training, and also around our conversation piece around the group.”
And looking ahead to the five-match 50-over series?
“Moving into the 50-over series we’ve had a few days practice there, but it will be a tough schedule with five games in eight days. We’ll look to carry forward the positives from the T20 series and then adapt our game and tactics for 50-over cricket. I think we’ve just got to stay consistent in our approach and look to finish the tour strong. We just need to stay on that upward curve and play some good competitive cricket, and hopefully, at the end of it, we can come out the right side of it with a series win.”
IRELAND WOLVES TOUR
The Ireland Wolves squad
- Neil Rock (captain) (Rush), Curtis Campher (YMCA), Murray Commins (The Hills), Gareth Delany (Leinster), Stephen Doheny (Merrion), Matt Ford (Malahide), Mike Frost (Malahide), Shane Getkate (Instonians), Fionn Hand (Clontarf), Graham Hume (Waringstown), Graham Kennedy (CIYMS), Jeremy Lawlor (Carrickfergus), Josh Manley (Lisburn), James McCollum (Waringstown), Ben White (CSNI).
Upcoming fixture schedule
- 29 March: Ireland Wolves v Namibia A – 1st ODM (Windhoek; start 9.30am local time)
- 30 March: Ireland Wolves v Namibia A – 2nd ODM (Windhoek; start 9.30am local time)
- 1 April: Ireland Wolves v Namibia A – 3rd ODM (Windhoek; start 9.30am local time)
- 3 April: Ireland Wolves v Namibia A – 4th ODM (Windhoek; start 9.30am local time)
- 5 April: Ireland Wolves v Namibia A – 5th ODM (Windhoek; start 9.30am local time)