George Dockrell heading to Somerset
George Dockrell's meteoric rise has reached a new height as he was offered a two-year contract by Somerset. Dockrell, the Ireland left-arm spinner who turns 18 this week, impressed at the World Twenty20 with flight, control and a nerveless temperament when he took 3 for 16 against West Indies and followed it up with another bright showing against England.
His talents were noticed by Somerset, who invited him to train with the team and he is now looking forward to joining the club, though the details of the contract are not yet final.
"Everyone has been very friendly and it looks like a great place to play cricket," Dockrell told the Somerset website. "I'm looking forward to playing my first game for a Somerset XI at Bath tomorrow and hopefully the contract will be sorted out very soon."
He could yet follow in the footsteps of Ed Joyce and Eoin Morgan and switch allegiances to England with a view to playing Test cricket but at the moment his sights are firmly set on Somerset.
"My ambitions are to keep making progress with Ireland, but also to get into a county first team by developing all aspects of my game. I've been aware of Somerset's interest since I was 15, but this is the first game I have watched at Taunton. I'm really impressed by the support and the players have been great to me."
Having become such a crucial part of Ireland's team, Dockrell's availability for Somerset this season is restricted with Ireland playing an Intercontinental Cup fixture and two ODIs against Netherlands in August before facing Canada at the beginning of September. Dockrell, however, is still keen to get a game in for Somerset before the season ends.
"There are a lot of Ireland games coming up, but hopefully I will be able to get in at least one second XI match for Somerset before the end of the season.
While spinners have a reputation for maturing late as cricketers, Dockrell's exploits at the World Twenty20 showed how strong his game already is and he feels the tournament gave him plenty of belief.
"Taking three wickets against West Indies gave me a huge boost in confidence," he said. "I was very nervous before that game, but by the time we came to play England I was a lot calmer. I was really happy with how the tournament went for me overall. I was one of the youngest players there, but I tried not to think about that too much."
In the past Dockrell has spoken about his admiration for Australia's Michael Clarke but a closer comparison is New Zealand captain Daniel Vettori, who had barely played a first-class game before making his Test debut against England aged 18. Vettori has become one of the most skilful bowlers in the world and Dockrell sees him as the standard to follow.
"We played against him in West Indies and he was incredibly skilful with his control of the ball so I look towards him as an example."