George Dockrell has a new look for his new role in the Ireland team — the finisher has dyed his hair blonde.
Twelve years after his Ireland debut as a 17-year-old, Dockrell has been transformed — or rather transformed himself — from slow left-arm bowler to lower order, hard-hitting batsman. And he is enjoying his second coming.
First though, that hair change?
“No real reason, I had it in Dubai in 2010 (at his first T20 qualifying tournament) so I thought I’d give it another crack,” he said.
But Dockrell admits he has really enjoyed the transition — and this time he means his batting.
“I’ve worked really hard on my batting over the last couple of years, alongside the coaches. I suppose it’s because my bowling has been used less, but it’s a great challenge to take on the extra responsibility,” he said.
“I have batted at death over the years but to be able to hit boundaries from the first few balls is something I enjoy but I still feel I’ve a lot more to offer. I want to put real scores together to win games and be the finisher.”
His best effort so far has been 28 off 22 balls — he hit a boundary off his fourth delivery — as he helped Ireland to what proved a winning total against Nepal in the final game of the quadrangular tournament here in Oman.
The real stuff begins today (10am GMT) with a game against UAE, the first of their latest T20 World Cup qualifying tournament, and Dockrell insists he is still available to bowl, if asked.
“I’m bowling as much as ever in the nets and it feels really good,” he said. “I didn’t get a bowl in the warm-ups but you can get thrown the ball at any time and I will be ready.”
Today’s game is about trying to build momentum. It would be the biggest embarrassment in Ireland’s history if they lost to either Bahrain tomorrow or Germany on Monday, and with UAE ranked higher than Ireland in T20 cricket, their only other group opponents, the winners are assured of topping their group and facing the second-place side in the other group (Oman, Nepal, Canada and Philippines) in Tuesday’s semi-final.
Meanwhile, Neil Rock, a travelling reserve with the T20 squad, has been named captain of the Ireland Wolves squad which will play three T20s and five 50-over games against Namibia from March 21-April 5.
Full squad: N Rock (capt), R Adair, P Chase, M Commins, G Delany, S Doheny , M Ford, S Getkate, F Hand, G Hume, G Kennedy, J Lawlor, J Manley, W McClintock, J McCollum, B White.