George Dockrell’s 2015 Cricket World Cup diary

Ireland players  celebrate the wicket of Pakistan batsman Ahmed Shehzad during the 2015 Cricket World Cup Pool B match between Pakistan and Ireland at the Adelaide Oval. Photograph: Peter Parks/AFP

Ireland players celebrate the wicket of Pakistan batsman Ahmed Shehzad during the 2015 Cricket World Cup Pool B match between Pakistan and Ireland at the Adelaide Oval. Photograph: Peter Parks/AFP

 

We had some time to prepare for what was the most important game for Irish cricket to date. Having played three games in eight days, combined with six flights and numerous hours spent on various buses, the rest day was welcomed after travelling to Adelaide.

For some of the guys, the day was spent on the golf course, while others spent it at the beach. I went for a relaxed wander around Adelaide city centre to see what was is like: it has quite a different feeling to Brisbane, Canberra or Hobart, where we have played before.

The first evening, we were invited to a function hosted by O’Neills and Anderson solicitors, their advisors here in Australia. O’Neills has been our kit sponsor for a number of years and has been a fantastic partner in providing us with kit that looks and feels good. This may not seem that important, but when you are playing in 30 degrees, it is.

The next few days were about familiarising ourselves with the Adelaide Oval. It had undergone a half a billion dollar redevelopment, completed last year and it’s now a remarkable stadium with superb facilities. The nets are up there with the best in the world. Practice facilities as good as this really do help to train well and test yourself.

Calm confidence

To have won three World Cup games is a fantastic achievement in itself. The passion with which we have played has given us the edge in those games.

The day couldn’t have been better for the game, with clear blue skies and great support from both Irish and Pakistan fans alike.

We won the toss and chose to bat, and led by our skipper William Porterfield, we built a nice platform. It was great to see William get a century and one we really needed as wickets fell around him.

However it was again the back end of the innings where we struggled, collapsing to 237 all out. It was always going to be a tough task defending such a low total, especially as winning scores have been mostly 300-plus this tournament.

We did start well, however yet again we allowed the pressure we built up to be released at key times. We were never in the race, but we didn’t give in and fought for every last run. We may not have played as well as we could, but it wasn’t for lack of effort or heart.

It’s a horrible feeling knowing you are heading home from a World Cup, but at least we can hold our heads high and be proud we gave it everything over the past month. We won three out of six games and were extremely unlucky to have been knocked out due to Pakistan’s loss to West Indies. We beat West Indies, Zimbabwe, UAE and Bangladesh (warm-up match) which was an impressive feat.

It’ll be tough to head home on the long flight with the feeling that we deserved to make the next stage, but that is how it goes in sport.

I have to mention the support we have received during the World Cup. The Irish presence in Australia and New Zealand has been second to none, combined with the support back home. At every game we had superb vocal support from the Irish.

I hope this World Cup can continue to build the profile of Irish cricket. My biggest hope is that something comes from this in terms of fixtures over the next four years, and inclusion in the 2019 World Cup. We have worked so hard and done so well with limited fixtures, it would be great to see how we’d do with regular fixtures against the top 10.

The current crop contains lots of players hoping to play in their fourth World Cup. It would be a shame if they didn’t get that chance again.

It has been a fantastic month alongside a great bunch of guys, creating some brilliant memories. I hope there are many more to come for myself and Irish cricket.

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