‘James Shannon can be our X-factor player’ – Gary Wilson
Ireland may have lost by a mammoth 76 runs in the first T20I against India in Malahide, but Gary Wilson, their captain, said there were plenty of positives they could take heart from.
James Shannon’s 35-ball 60 was right up his list, as was Peter Chase’s terrific 4/35, the paceman’s victims including Virat Kohli and Mahendra Singh Dhoni. But the “primary emotion” was one of disappointment.
“India are obviously a very good side. We lost by 70-odd runs, and we’re pretty disappointed,” he said. “But there were some positives. The way Shannon played, it’s always nice when a young player comes in and does well. And the way Peter Chase bowled towards the end of our innings, Boyd Rankin executed the wide yorkers … there were some positives in there.”
Wilson has high hopes for Shannon. The 28-year-old didn’t really come good in the T20I tri-series in the Netherlands, managing a high score of 31 in four games. However, the management backed him, and Wilson believed he could be the X Factor for Ireland.
Handshakes all around as #TeamIndia win by 76 runs.#IREvIND pic.twitter.com/uh37qETaFn
— BCCI (@BCCI) June 27, 2018
“We felt today we wanted to go with him,” said Wilson. “We backed him in Holland, and we think he can be that X Factor player at the top of the order. And he showed today what he’s about. To break into any team, you need to be given the opportunity. Whenever he had his opportunity, it was down in the order and not in his best position. It’ll be fair to say he’s a top-order player.”
Heading into the clash, everyone, including the players, expected conditions favouring the pacemen. So it came as a surprise that it was Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal – the duo picked a combined seven wickets to restrict the home side to 132/9.
However, Wilson wasn’t blaming the conditions. “This wicket wasn’t stoppy, but I certainly didn’t expect it to spin like it did in the second innings,” he said. “Having said that, their spinners are very good, and probably would have spun it like that in the first innings as well. Don’t think we can blame the conditions or preparations – it’s been as good as any we’ve had.”
Looking ahead to the second T20I on Friday, Wilson hoped to “negate their spin – Kuldeep and Chahal – and that will stand us in good stead”, but that is easier said than done.
Yadav and Chahal have blossomed into an extremely dangerous duo, both capable of extracting turn on any surface. On this occasion, they were aided by the fact that India posted a daunting 208/5, but Yadav said he’d have bowled attacking lengths irrespective of the total they were defending.
“I always want to take a wicket and break through for the team,” he said. “That’s my style, that’s the sort of attacking bowler I am. If I try and stop runs, then it’s possible that I don’t get wickets and I concede runs.”
That said, “It’s the first game of the season. Conditions are different from India, it’s a little bit cold. The wicket was on the slower side, so it was easy to adjust,” he added.