GARY WILSON’S EXCLUSIVE CRICKET COLUMN

Ireland's Gary Wilson
Ireland's Gary Wilson

We haven’t played our best cricket

Or in fact anywhere near our best but we have qualified foran other world tournament. Our seventh in a row.

I’m not going to lie, there were nerves, both in the way we have played so far and waiting for results to go our way.

The day before the final group game against Jersey, five results had to go our way in order for us to gain a semi final spot and automatic qualification and that was including our own!

Sitting watching the two games, one on the television and one on our phones was actually like playing ourselves and it perhaps gave us a taste of what we put our fans through!

The feeling when everything had gone our way was brilliant. Into the corridor of the second floor of the Castleknock hotel hugging and high fiving.

We had got out of jail and we knew it but it didn’t matter. We have had our fair share of things go against us over the years, three times going out of World Cups on net run rate so we weren’t about to feel sorry for anyone, save maybe the USA who had done us a big favour but now they would be on an early flight home.

We have been chatting as batters and indeed bowlers about the best way of moving forward and playing some good cricket and it has been pretty productive.

It may sound a bit silly but in the games we lost and even the ones before that we have struggled to adapt to our own conditions! Other teams have done it better than us.

It’s a pretty simple formula, run up bowl at the top of the stumps and it has been very hard to hit.

Our top six batsmen in the first four games play their cricket in England where the ball comes on to the bat a bit better.

Here it has been slower and lower and we didn’t react quick enough. I’m not for one minute blaming the wicket for us losing two games, I’m saying we should have been more savvy and able to adjust.

We must also give credit to PNG and Hong Kong, they both thoroughly deserved their wins and PNG, in particular will feel aggrieved at missing out on the qualifying stage. They now have a one off game against the losers of those qualifiers to decide if they will be in India next March. A position we didn’t want to be in at all.

I’ve seen over the last couple of days people questioning if we have been complacent... Did we need a wake up call?

I can categorically say that there has been no complacency in our ranks. It’s one thing we pride ourselves on.

We respect every team we play against because we know only too well that if you don’t then you will come unstuck.

It’s what we hope teams in the top eight do when we play them so it would be foolish on our part to fall into that trap.

What we have been guilty of is a combination of not taking responsibility as batsmen as well has being perhaps too tentative, it’s a difficult balance because if you get caught going for a big shot someone can say you haven’t taken responsibility, yet if you don’t play the big shot you can be accused of being tentative. That’s the beauty of t20 cricket.

As long as our batsmen are taking options that are good for them then nobody in our environment will question their resolve.

We have all played a huge amount of cricket now, so much so that no matter what scenario we are in, it’s more than likely going to be one that we have seen before and that should give us a huge amount of confidence.

We are two games away from winning this competition, whether some people think we deserve to or not. That’s all we are thinking about.