Graham Kennedy determined to part his part in CIYMS cup defence

Fresh off his involvement with the Ireland squad for their recent ODI series against South Africa, Graham Kennedy is looking to help CIYMS take another step towards defending their Gallagher Challenge Cup crown.

Sunday, 1st August 2021, 10:00 am
Graham Kennedy. Picture by CricketEurope

Kennedy also travelled to the Netherlands with the senior Irish squad for a three-match series in early-June and although he is yet to make his debut, the 21-year-old has been able to pick up important lessons from just being around the group.

The former Ireland U19 international has taken up off-spin in the past year having previously been a seamer and has already been impressing with his performances.

“It has been brilliant,” he said of his Irish experience.

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“You get to train with the best players in Ireland and it’s definitely going to help me going forward.

“I’ve just started to bowl spin so you have the likes of Simi (Singh), Scra (Andy McBrine) and George (Dockrell) there and they are all quick to give you a hand if you need it.

“You have them guys and then you are also bowling at the likes of Stirlo (Paul Stirling). You aren’t going to get that every week so if you’re bowling well they will let you know and if you bowl badly they can help you out and let you know what happened.”

Between his involvement in those camps and regularly representing the North West Warriors, Kennedy has only been able to play six times this season for CI following a winter move from Ballyspallen.

He has picked up eight wickets in those matches and was named Man of the Match in the Challenge Cup first round for his 72 in a 122-run victory over Carrickfergus.

Kennedy is part of a superb spin attack that also includes the likes of Jacob Mulder, James Cameron-Dow and Ted Britton, and that quartet will likely have a big role to play against CSNI at Stormont this weekend.

“If someone is having a bad day, there are always others there that can put their hand up and take it on,” he added.

“Spin is something we rely on quite heavily so if we are bowling well then we can really put a hold on opposition batsmen.”

Cameron-Dow is a fellow left-arm spinner that has reached the pinnacle of the game, playing in a Test match for Ireland in 2019 and also earned four ODI caps.

“I’ve played in a few games with him now and he will usually be at mid-on or mid-off and he is there giving me a hand and if I am struggling he is someone I can ask questions to,” said Kennedy. “There are a few times I’ve bowled at the death and he is able to read the batsmen very quickly and where they are looking to score, so it’s definitely something I have needed.”

Kennedy will know all about some of his opponents with Warriors all-rounder Stuart Thompson and his new head-coach Gary Wilson starring for CSNI, but occasions like tomorrow are why he made the move to CIYMS.

“You’re playing with and against good teams,” he added.

“On Sunday we are playing against the likes of Gary Wilson and Stuart Thompson who are some of the best players around and that’s the sort of thing you want to be involved in.”