World T20 news March 10, 2014

Ireland seek big hand from Dockrell

ESPNcricinfo staff

William Porterfield, the Ireland captain, has highlighted his left-arm spinner George Dockrell as being key in their attempts to secure a spot in the main draw of the World T20.

Dockrell, who plays for Somerset in county cricket, made his Ireland debut at the age of 17 and quickly became their lead slow bowler. His role gains importance in an attack missing the experience of the retired Trent Johnston and John Mooney, who left the recent West Indies tour with a stress-related illness.

With conditions in Bangladesh set to favour spin Dockrell, who has an economy under six from 23 matches, will need to shoulder plenty of responsibility.

"He has done really well for us over the last few years and we'll be looking for him to put his hand up during this tournament," Porterfield said. "In previous tournaments he has done well so hopefully he can carry that form on here. Paul Stirling can bowl his offies as well and when you can get overs from your top order it gives you a great balance, which I think we have."

Ireland are grouped with Zimbabwe, UAE and Netherlands for the qualifying tournament and, given their standing as the top Associate, their fortunes could rest heavily on their opening match, against Zimbabwe, a team they have never met at T20 level.

"It doesn't bother me who the favourites are," Porterfield said. "We've been in tournaments where we've started as favourites and others where we haven't. If we are underdogs that doesn't bother me. Anyone can beat anyone. Favourites tags don't mean much."

Porterfield is also able to see a positive in having to go through the qualifying event, knowing that if the team can progress from the group they will head into the main tournament having played plenty of competitive cricket. "Who goes through can potentially hold an advantage, you'll probably have to win three games to go through so you'll have some momentum and know you are playing good cricket."

Ireland's confidence heading into the tournament is helped by their recent tour of the Caribbean, where they secured a T20 victory against West Indies. Although that was their only win, it allowed them to spend an extended period together as a squad in warm weather rather than training back in Ireland during late winter.

"We have often played our better cricket when we have been together a while," Porterfield said. "We've been to West Indies, Dubai and now here and it's all been about building up to March 17."