Ireland news December 18, 2011

Dockrell relishing England contest

26

George Dockrell, the Ireland and Somerset left-arm spinner, wants to put behind him a frustrating 2011 and begin the new year in style when he faces England in Dubai next month.

Dockrell, 19, has been named in the ICC Associates and Affiliates team that will play England in their first warm-up match before the Test series against Pakistan. He is already a highly regarded bowler and has just completed his first year on the Somerset books, but a dislocated shoulder at the World Cup meant he wasn't able to quite make the strides he wanted in the county set up. He made just one County Championship appearance although did play in the Friends Life t20 semi-final against Hampshire and at the Champions League in India.

"It was a tough year after the World Cup," he told ESPNcricinfo. "I was hoping to take my form into the English season but the injury set me back a bit which was annoying. These things happen and I'm now just looking forward to next year and playing a lot of cricket. If I have a good winter with Ireland then that will set me up well for the next English summer."

The three-day match against England will also allow Dockrell an extended bowl against a Test-match batting order rather than the four-over and 10-over stints he has been restricted to in his previous Twenty20 and ODI outings.

"I've played them before in the World T20, the World Cup and again in Ireland but this will be something different in the longer form and it will be more of a test bowling more overs," he said. "The longer form of the game is the one side I want to develop most at the moment so it will be great to bowl against the No. 1 Test team and hopefully I'll get plenty of overs under my belt."

Dockrell will line up alongside Ireland team-mates Will Porterfield, who will captain the ICC team, and Boyd Rankin with the latter also part of the England Lions set up. Dockrell has already been tipped as another Ireland cricketer who could press for Test honours with England in the future but is adamant none of those thoughts are crossing his mind yet.

"I've only been playing for two seasons and I'm still trying to break into the county scene so that is where my mind is focused at the moment," he said. "I need to make huge developments in my game before I look too far into the future."

Although the match in January is a nice bonus for Dockrell it is not the most important cricket he has coming up in the early part of next year. In March, Dubai will also host the World Twenty20 qualifiers involving 16 teams of which only two will qualify for the full tournament in Sri Lanka next September. Having elevated themselves to the leading Associate nation, Dockrell is aware that it is crucial that Ireland continue to reach these global events.

"Only two teams qualify and it's a huge thing for Ireland," he said. "It's quite a long tournament and our focus is getting to that World Cup because it's massive for the team to ensure we stay on the world stage."

Andrew McGlashan is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Dravid_Pujara_Gravitas on December 21, 2011, 4:05 GMT

    @AllanHarrison, can't agree more. Much respects to you. I'm really upset with this poaching of players. I'm shocked, really shocked, to see fans supporting such spiritless/characterless acts by quoting 'within the rules' defence which I thought is even more spiritless/characterless. Not at all good for expanding the game globally.

  • on December 21, 2011, 0:50 GMT

    George is a talent and deserves test status - to Randy I would say he did well enough in the world cup that major teams (including England - wait how did that finish?, and India) were avoiding going after him and he was only 19 then ... he may not be a Warne or a Swann now but he might be yet. If he goes, he does so with my blessing - my ire is kept for the ICC - how many more do we have to lose to England election before you recognise that we know how to develop world class players and deserve a path to test status. Not test status today - but a clear 5/10 year path. Shame on you.

  • AlanHarrison on December 20, 2011, 13:08 GMT

    @ Meety: I actually agree in not liking the fact that Irish players may or do end up getting sucked into the English system in this way, weakening Irish cricket. Even apart from what one's perspective as a fan of a particular team might be, I think it is bad for the game, which needs to expand globally. It's inconsistent for England fans (or whoever) to bask in the glory of being number 1 in the world in a system which is loaded against Associate nations, and dismiss their potential or challenge. What is so impressive about being no.1 in the world in a form of the game if only 4 or 5 countries in the world are allowed or able effectually to compete! (I'm reminded of Obama's reported comments to Cameron when England got to no.1 in the world, on the lines of "so what, hardly anyone else plays".) On another point, it's only 12 years ago England were ranked bottom of the pile in test cricket: should they then be prevented from playing tests as some suggest Bangladesh should be now?

  • jmcilhinney on December 20, 2011, 10:52 GMT

    @RandyOz, while those players are smart, you apparently are not. You don't think that maybe the fact that Ireland is about an hour on a boat from England and 24 hours on a plane from Australia was a factor in their decision? Given Australia's spinner-go-round lately, I think any spinner would fancy their chances of getting into the Australia side rather more than displacing Swann in the England team. Your bold declarations don't change his world ranking.

  • Meety on December 20, 2011, 3:19 GMT

    @AlanHarrison - re: Chance to play Tests. I'd never knock a bloke from wanting to do that, but what gets up my nose is that Ireland's chances of gaining Test status will come on the back of ODI success & strong performance in the Intercontinental cup, but they have to do this with a 2nd string line up. If Dockrell goes & plays Tests for England, it will be to his countrymen's expense. Maybe playing a Test shouldn't discount a bloke (Dockrell), from being able to play ODIs for his country, or for that matter compete in the Intercontinental Cup? Or, (for associates) a player can instantly return to play for his nation of birth & not have to serve a residency period? Does not apply to poaching CURRENT Test nations talent!!!!!

  • bumsonseats on December 19, 2011, 16:04 GMT

    ammar you must remember england played the aussies our winter and the seamers took all the wickets so swann did not have to do much wicket taking. as it was much the same v india when they cannot score more than 300 on english wickets once during a series the poor guy could not get much chance against them either. some guy wrote on here classing o'keefe and lyon as spinners i thought when u had spinner after your name u spun the bowl. i thought that was a joke. it was a joke was it not ? dpk

  • Cricketfan333 on December 19, 2011, 14:59 GMT

    ICC eligibility rules should be modified such that a player who represented a country or at least associate nations can't play for another country to prevent poaching of Irish and Scottish players by England even if they are willing to play for England for development of cricket.

  • AlanHarrison on December 19, 2011, 13:34 GMT

    @ Munkeymomo and Darren Cook : the counties pick Irish players like Stirling, Dockrell, etc, because they think they are good enough, better than any English alternatives, not out of altruism for Irish cricket, so I don't see what your point is

  • AlanHarrison on December 19, 2011, 12:59 GMT

    @ thebigone: well it's true the likes of Dockrell, Joyce and Morgan want or wanted to play for England, but that's only because within the existing dispensation that is the only chance they have of playing test cricket. If Ireland were a test-playing nation (putting aside for the moment the debate about whether or not that should be the case), then I strongly suspect Dockrell would not have ambitions about playing for England. One could cite many other cases where other players from other countries have ended up wanting to play for England for much the same reason (e.g., Gavin Hamilton, Allan Lamb, Graeme Hick, Basil D'Oliveira ...).

  • RandyOZ on December 19, 2011, 12:39 GMT

    Players like George are smart though, they go to the country with the weak system because they know it's easier to get into the side. With world class bowlers like O'Keefe and Lyon he knows he'd have no chance in Oz.

  • Dravid_Pujara_Gravitas on December 21, 2011, 4:05 GMT

    @AllanHarrison, can't agree more. Much respects to you. I'm really upset with this poaching of players. I'm shocked, really shocked, to see fans supporting such spiritless/characterless acts by quoting 'within the rules' defence which I thought is even more spiritless/characterless. Not at all good for expanding the game globally.

  • on December 21, 2011, 0:50 GMT

    George is a talent and deserves test status - to Randy I would say he did well enough in the world cup that major teams (including England - wait how did that finish?, and India) were avoiding going after him and he was only 19 then ... he may not be a Warne or a Swann now but he might be yet. If he goes, he does so with my blessing - my ire is kept for the ICC - how many more do we have to lose to England election before you recognise that we know how to develop world class players and deserve a path to test status. Not test status today - but a clear 5/10 year path. Shame on you.

  • AlanHarrison on December 20, 2011, 13:08 GMT

    @ Meety: I actually agree in not liking the fact that Irish players may or do end up getting sucked into the English system in this way, weakening Irish cricket. Even apart from what one's perspective as a fan of a particular team might be, I think it is bad for the game, which needs to expand globally. It's inconsistent for England fans (or whoever) to bask in the glory of being number 1 in the world in a system which is loaded against Associate nations, and dismiss their potential or challenge. What is so impressive about being no.1 in the world in a form of the game if only 4 or 5 countries in the world are allowed or able effectually to compete! (I'm reminded of Obama's reported comments to Cameron when England got to no.1 in the world, on the lines of "so what, hardly anyone else plays".) On another point, it's only 12 years ago England were ranked bottom of the pile in test cricket: should they then be prevented from playing tests as some suggest Bangladesh should be now?

  • jmcilhinney on December 20, 2011, 10:52 GMT

    @RandyOz, while those players are smart, you apparently are not. You don't think that maybe the fact that Ireland is about an hour on a boat from England and 24 hours on a plane from Australia was a factor in their decision? Given Australia's spinner-go-round lately, I think any spinner would fancy their chances of getting into the Australia side rather more than displacing Swann in the England team. Your bold declarations don't change his world ranking.

  • Meety on December 20, 2011, 3:19 GMT

    @AlanHarrison - re: Chance to play Tests. I'd never knock a bloke from wanting to do that, but what gets up my nose is that Ireland's chances of gaining Test status will come on the back of ODI success & strong performance in the Intercontinental cup, but they have to do this with a 2nd string line up. If Dockrell goes & plays Tests for England, it will be to his countrymen's expense. Maybe playing a Test shouldn't discount a bloke (Dockrell), from being able to play ODIs for his country, or for that matter compete in the Intercontinental Cup? Or, (for associates) a player can instantly return to play for his nation of birth & not have to serve a residency period? Does not apply to poaching CURRENT Test nations talent!!!!!

  • bumsonseats on December 19, 2011, 16:04 GMT

    ammar you must remember england played the aussies our winter and the seamers took all the wickets so swann did not have to do much wicket taking. as it was much the same v india when they cannot score more than 300 on english wickets once during a series the poor guy could not get much chance against them either. some guy wrote on here classing o'keefe and lyon as spinners i thought when u had spinner after your name u spun the bowl. i thought that was a joke. it was a joke was it not ? dpk

  • Cricketfan333 on December 19, 2011, 14:59 GMT

    ICC eligibility rules should be modified such that a player who represented a country or at least associate nations can't play for another country to prevent poaching of Irish and Scottish players by England even if they are willing to play for England for development of cricket.

  • AlanHarrison on December 19, 2011, 13:34 GMT

    @ Munkeymomo and Darren Cook : the counties pick Irish players like Stirling, Dockrell, etc, because they think they are good enough, better than any English alternatives, not out of altruism for Irish cricket, so I don't see what your point is

  • AlanHarrison on December 19, 2011, 12:59 GMT

    @ thebigone: well it's true the likes of Dockrell, Joyce and Morgan want or wanted to play for England, but that's only because within the existing dispensation that is the only chance they have of playing test cricket. If Ireland were a test-playing nation (putting aside for the moment the debate about whether or not that should be the case), then I strongly suspect Dockrell would not have ambitions about playing for England. One could cite many other cases where other players from other countries have ended up wanting to play for England for much the same reason (e.g., Gavin Hamilton, Allan Lamb, Graeme Hick, Basil D'Oliveira ...).

  • RandyOZ on December 19, 2011, 12:39 GMT

    Players like George are smart though, they go to the country with the weak system because they know it's easier to get into the side. With world class bowlers like O'Keefe and Lyon he knows he'd have no chance in Oz.

  • RandyOZ on December 19, 2011, 12:29 GMT

    Hahah another English target, boy the talent is thin in England at the moment! The poor Irish!

  • bumsonseats on December 19, 2011, 10:50 GMT

    england dont poach these guys you would think by some that dockrell has no say in the matter if he wants to still play for ireland he can and play cc as ireland are in the eec he has that choice. on seeing him only on tv as some say hes behind in the pecking order. dpk

  • cheeseburgers on December 19, 2011, 10:16 GMT

    Dockrell has his name already in the history books - when he has taken the wicket of Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar in the World Cup!!This means this George is Not from the Jungle!!!

  • on December 19, 2011, 6:01 GMT

    OhhhhMattyMatty Whats your problem with Rehman, he is a world class spinner, much better than Panesar! He's got more wickets than Swann this year at a better average! As far as I am concerned, Pakistan's bowling is much better than England in the UAE, and if there batting stays consistent, then it will be a mouth-watering series!

  • OhhhhMattyMatty on December 18, 2011, 23:28 GMT

    1. Briggs, 2. Kerrigan, 3. Rafiq, 4. Borthwick, 5. Rashid, 6. Dockrell, 7. Riley. These are the best young spinners around in England at the moment. Briggs and Kerrigan will be world beaters. They are better than the likes of Ojha, Rehmann and Hearth! While Rafiq has a doosra and a FC ton already! Amazing talent.

  • OhhhhMattyMatty on December 18, 2011, 23:25 GMT

    He'll have to get ahead of Briggs and Kerrigan first who are much better spin bowlers. Then there's the likes of Rafiq and Borthwick too! Lots of players to get ahead of before Dockrell is considered for England!

  • Nutcutlet on December 18, 2011, 22:42 GMT

    @ legster: Of course - a basic error. Thank you. My comments re: young English ( or, in this case, Irish) spinners in general are still valid, I think. Swann is quite a good example of coming good later on.

  • FatBoysCanBat on December 18, 2011, 21:31 GMT

    Munkeymomo: Dockrell was already an excellent spinner without Somerset's coaching. In the 2010 World T20 when he was 17 he dominated in the match against West Indies and was economical against England. In the qualifiers before that he took 9 wickets in 5 matches with an eco rate of 5.88. Somerset then snapped him up after the tournament. Don't try to justify England taking him away from the Irish by saying "there is no doubt wouldn't be as good without the coaching at somerset" because clearly he already was on the way to being this good. Perhaps the only thing England helped him with was the fact Somerset had Murali Kartik so he could learn from him.

  • on December 18, 2011, 21:26 GMT

    An excellent young bowler and let's hope that he continues to play for Ireland for many years and isn't picked for England and therefore stopping one of the many talented young ENGLISH spinners from playing in the future!a bit like he is doing with Waller at Somerset!

  • Legster on December 18, 2011, 21:19 GMT

    @ Nutcutlet, Dockerell is a slow-left-arm orthodox bowler, mate, not a leggie.

  • JG2704 on December 18, 2011, 21:00 GMT

    @Colm Mooney on (December 18 2011, 18:24 PM GMT) - As far as I'm aware Dave Brown has nothing to do with recruitment decs for the English side. Unfortunately for you guys it doesn't seem to be a long qualifying process from Ireland to England. Morgan was playing for Ireland in a WC and a year later he's playing for England. Joyce is an even more ridiculous situation as he seems to have gone back and forth in a relatively short time

  • Munkeymomo on December 18, 2011, 20:55 GMT

    He has actually been at somerset for a long time, just not on a full contract, they've worked with him incredibly well and it's great to see him, there is no doubt that he wouldn't be as good without the coaching at somerset, se Irish fans be proud that you have produced such a talent, but don't forget that it was an English club that coached him through the important years. Still, he looks great in every game and is a decent batsman. Wanna see Waller get more game time too though.

  • Nutcutlet on December 18, 2011, 19:57 GMT

    @Dave Brown: A young leggie is always an exciting prospect and from what we've seen of Dokrell, there is indeed cause for cautious optimism. He may prove to be the real deal - but, he is only 19 - so it would do well for everyone to accept that it will take him (and the other youngsters that you mention) a good few years to reach maturity. English cricket is littered with spinners that never got there, despite starting off with a fanfare of trumpets (like Chris Schofield!). We, as a country, expect them to deliver when they are far from fully fledged. I think that England flirted with destroying Borthwick's confidence when they took him to India and exposed him to batsmen who can play rookie leggies in their sleep. It was not, IMO, a wise move. Thus, Dockerell et al need another 8 years or so and we must be patient. Eng. spinners usually come into their own well into their thirties and often flatter initially to disappoint later. Theirs is a long apprenticeship; there's no hurrying it!

  • on December 18, 2011, 18:24 GMT

    @Dave Brown, I hope your not sniffing around an Irish International mate :), he is contracted to Ireland for now, so keep away from him :P...

  • JG2704 on December 18, 2011, 16:28 GMT

    @Dave Brown on (December 18 2011, 13:46 PM GMT) - Dave , I also liked Waller and feel that he was unfortunate not to stay out there in the CLT20 esp after they lost faith with Suppiah after the YP over. He often seems to do a decent job with the ball in the shorter forms of the game. I'd like to see him get more games/experience.

  • on December 18, 2011, 13:46 GMT

    A class young bowler. Really looking frward to him having a full season with Somerset next year. With Kartick gone there is a place in the starting 11 up for grabs. May even see him and Waller in tandem, though admittedly more likely in the shorter formats than the CC. There seems to be a 'spin bowling' revolution in Engand at the momet. Dockrell, Waller, Briggs, Kerigan, Borthwick and Rashid all had good seasons last year. When was the last time there was this amount of spin bowling talent in England? Admittedly some will fall by the wayside (aka Chris Schofield) but one or two will (already are in the case of Dockrell) go on and perform at the highest level. Who knows England might even play two spinners at home!

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  • on December 18, 2011, 13:46 GMT

    A class young bowler. Really looking frward to him having a full season with Somerset next year. With Kartick gone there is a place in the starting 11 up for grabs. May even see him and Waller in tandem, though admittedly more likely in the shorter formats than the CC. There seems to be a 'spin bowling' revolution in Engand at the momet. Dockrell, Waller, Briggs, Kerigan, Borthwick and Rashid all had good seasons last year. When was the last time there was this amount of spin bowling talent in England? Admittedly some will fall by the wayside (aka Chris Schofield) but one or two will (already are in the case of Dockrell) go on and perform at the highest level. Who knows England might even play two spinners at home!

  • JG2704 on December 18, 2011, 16:28 GMT

    @Dave Brown on (December 18 2011, 13:46 PM GMT) - Dave , I also liked Waller and feel that he was unfortunate not to stay out there in the CLT20 esp after they lost faith with Suppiah after the YP over. He often seems to do a decent job with the ball in the shorter forms of the game. I'd like to see him get more games/experience.

  • on December 18, 2011, 18:24 GMT

    @Dave Brown, I hope your not sniffing around an Irish International mate :), he is contracted to Ireland for now, so keep away from him :P...

  • Nutcutlet on December 18, 2011, 19:57 GMT

    @Dave Brown: A young leggie is always an exciting prospect and from what we've seen of Dokrell, there is indeed cause for cautious optimism. He may prove to be the real deal - but, he is only 19 - so it would do well for everyone to accept that it will take him (and the other youngsters that you mention) a good few years to reach maturity. English cricket is littered with spinners that never got there, despite starting off with a fanfare of trumpets (like Chris Schofield!). We, as a country, expect them to deliver when they are far from fully fledged. I think that England flirted with destroying Borthwick's confidence when they took him to India and exposed him to batsmen who can play rookie leggies in their sleep. It was not, IMO, a wise move. Thus, Dockerell et al need another 8 years or so and we must be patient. Eng. spinners usually come into their own well into their thirties and often flatter initially to disappoint later. Theirs is a long apprenticeship; there's no hurrying it!

  • Munkeymomo on December 18, 2011, 20:55 GMT

    He has actually been at somerset for a long time, just not on a full contract, they've worked with him incredibly well and it's great to see him, there is no doubt that he wouldn't be as good without the coaching at somerset, se Irish fans be proud that you have produced such a talent, but don't forget that it was an English club that coached him through the important years. Still, he looks great in every game and is a decent batsman. Wanna see Waller get more game time too though.

  • JG2704 on December 18, 2011, 21:00 GMT

    @Colm Mooney on (December 18 2011, 18:24 PM GMT) - As far as I'm aware Dave Brown has nothing to do with recruitment decs for the English side. Unfortunately for you guys it doesn't seem to be a long qualifying process from Ireland to England. Morgan was playing for Ireland in a WC and a year later he's playing for England. Joyce is an even more ridiculous situation as he seems to have gone back and forth in a relatively short time

  • Legster on December 18, 2011, 21:19 GMT

    @ Nutcutlet, Dockerell is a slow-left-arm orthodox bowler, mate, not a leggie.

  • on December 18, 2011, 21:26 GMT

    An excellent young bowler and let's hope that he continues to play for Ireland for many years and isn't picked for England and therefore stopping one of the many talented young ENGLISH spinners from playing in the future!a bit like he is doing with Waller at Somerset!

  • FatBoysCanBat on December 18, 2011, 21:31 GMT

    Munkeymomo: Dockrell was already an excellent spinner without Somerset's coaching. In the 2010 World T20 when he was 17 he dominated in the match against West Indies and was economical against England. In the qualifiers before that he took 9 wickets in 5 matches with an eco rate of 5.88. Somerset then snapped him up after the tournament. Don't try to justify England taking him away from the Irish by saying "there is no doubt wouldn't be as good without the coaching at somerset" because clearly he already was on the way to being this good. Perhaps the only thing England helped him with was the fact Somerset had Murali Kartik so he could learn from him.

  • Nutcutlet on December 18, 2011, 22:42 GMT

    @ legster: Of course - a basic error. Thank you. My comments re: young English ( or, in this case, Irish) spinners in general are still valid, I think. Swann is quite a good example of coming good later on.