Originally published on DV Mace’s Smorgasbord of Sport, 03-Nov-2014.
George Dockrell, a crafty left-arm spinner, has been making waves in Irish cricket for a long time. He’s been representing his nation since Under-13s level, and in 2010, at the age of 17, was plucked from school to play for his nation.
He hit the ground running, taking 3/16 against the West Indies, and strangling the English with four overs for less than 20 in that year’s World T20.
Since then, his crafty spin – beautiful control of flight, pace and bounce are his assets, rather than rip-roaring turn – have been a regular part of the Irish side. To the eye, he pleasantly reminds one of a young Daniel Vettori. His performances in international Twenty20 have been particularly captivating – a bowling average of 16, and an RPO of 6.21. An ODI economy rate of 4.20 is equally impressive.
I was fortunate enough to be able to track Dockrell down for a Six Ball Over.
1. You made your debut for Ireland at 17, became Associate Player of the Year in 2012, and have 65 Limited Overs International caps already, at the age of 22. You must be pretty proud of how much you’ve achieved at such a young age?
George Dockrell: Yeah definitely. I wouldn’t have expected to have played this much cricket for Ireland. I wouldn’t have expected to receive my 100th cap last winter, at 21. So yeah, I’m obviously extremely privileged to have played this much cricket, and to have got so many games under my belt at such a young age. I’m really happy to have got that experience behind me, but I’m still young, and still have a huge amount to learn, so hopefully there’s plenty more to come.
2. You’re possibly the best spinner in the UK at the moment, with the dearth of English spinners, would you ever consider doing a Boyd Rankin or an Eoin Morgan and playing Tests for England, or are you committed to Ireland
GD: At the moment I’m really focused on my Irish commitments. For this winter, there’s a huge focus coming up to the World Cup on getting my white ball game where it needs to be. And then looking ahead for future commitments with Ireland and Somerset, and trying to work on the four-day stuff as well, over there. So for me, I suppose, it’s not really crossed my mind yet, and I’m just trying to focus on the here and now, and doing well for Ireland and Somerset.
3. Did the Irish success at the 2007 World Cup inspire you to further your cricket?
GD: Yeah, it was great. I was 15 at the time, and all my friends and I were still at school, and a lot of people after that game, and after that success, started playing cricket and getting more interested in it. So it was great to be able to see from that side of things, the effect it could have. And then to be a part of a similar kind of feeling, and a similar kind of movement, in 2011 at that World Cup was great, knowing the effect it was going to have back home, with increasing numbers and getting more people involved in the game.
4. You famously missed an ODI against Australia because of school exams. The burning question – did you pass?
GD: I did, yeah, thankfully! I was even contemplating missing that 2010 T20 World Cup to get my head down and study, and get my exams finished. But thankfully I made the right choice, and went out and played in it, and managed to get home and somehow passed my exams and got my college course in the end. So I was pretty happy, and it was worth missing that one game.
5. You’re obviously a very key member of the Somerset side now, did you ever expect to be a regular on the County circuit?
GD: I took everything step by step when it came for me. The aspiration, over in England, is to be a mainstay of Somerset, not just in one day cricket, but in Twenty20 and four-day stuff as well. That’s always my goal, is to try and stay in the team, but do well and try and bring silverware to the club. But I suppose I’ve just taken things as they’ve come in my career so far.
6. Finally, THAT ball to Tendulkar. Is it still your most cherished memory in the game?
GD: Yeah, I think it has to be. You look at the career he had, and he was an absolute master of the game, an absolute legend of the game, and always will be. So for me to have got him out, and I think even more special was the fact it was in India as well, in front of a huge crowd at Bangalore. I don’t think it could have been an any better moment, especially as I think he was off the back of a hundred against England too. To get that scalp was huge for me, and it’ll definitely, probably, remain as my greatest wicket.