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My game has come on leaps and bounds: Adair

Winding up: Mark Adair can see how he has progressed
Winding up: Mark Adair can see how he has progressed

By Ian Callender

Ireland won the toss and chose to bat first last night in the opening one-day international against the West Indies, so it was a waiting game for Mark Adair, the new kid who has made such an impact in the first six months of his international career.

The CIYMS all-rounder only made his Ireland debut in May but, with the proliferation of international matches, has already played 27 games, including his Test match debut at Lord's when he dismissed England captain Joe Root twice in a six-wicket haul.

Yesterday was his 10th one-day international - he has taken 15 wickets in his first nine, with West Indian Jason Holder his first victim, albeit when the visitors piled up 381-3, their second highest ODI total.

"Those two games against West Indies in the Tri-Series were tough," admitted Adair. "But I feel that as a cricketer I have changed a lot since then.

"I definitely feel I have more control of my bowling as I know what I want to do - and who I am as a bowler. I'm no longer just about running in and trying to hit the top of off stump, there is much more to it.

"It has been a bumpy start to this trip - I had a bad night (last Wednesday) and was sick and missed the first warm-up game, but I'm through that and looking forward to the series beginning.

"As a team, we've come out here with the intent to win and I hope we can deliver on that. International cricket certainly is harder than what you think it will be, but when you perform it gives you the confidence that you know you can compete with guys at this level."

Ireland will be looking for Adair to replace Tim Murtagh as Ireland's new ball bowler, but he will not be neglecting his batting.

"I showed glimpses last year but I don't just want to be seen as the guy who comes in and slogs at the end, but instead become a serious batter," added Adair. "That's something I've worked on over the winter and will hopefully continue to progress on this trip."

Ireland left out James McCollum, Craig Young and Gary Wilson, with Lorcan Tucker keeping the gloves and Gareth Delany given his ODI debut as opener.

While 23-year-old Adair has a long career ahead of him, his former Northern Knights captain James Shannon - just six years his senior - has retired.

The Instonians batsman, who played 18 Ireland games from 2012-18 - the highlight his 60 from 35 balls in what proved to be his penultimate match, a T20 international against India at Malahide - has been dealing with personal problems for the last couple of years and has now taken the difficult decision to quit from all levels.

"The opportunity to represent my country is something I will cherish forever," said Shannon. "Wearing the jersey was my dream and was something I never took for granted. I wish the team all the success for the future and will be a supporter."

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