Ireland’s Tim Murtagh up for the fight on tour

Ireland's Tim Murtagh making a big appeal against Ihsanullah Janat
Ireland's Tim Murtagh making a big appeal against Ihsanullah Janat
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Tim Murtagh feels his sides performance in the first One-Day International was “fairly meek”, and felt the fight shown by the Ireland team in the second match was an important marker in the series.

Middlesex paceman Murtagh, 37, had a stellar 2018, capping off a memorable year on the field being named the International Men’s Player of the Year at the Turkish Airlines Cricket Ireland Awards 2018.

He made his international debut for Ireland in 2012 and has made more than 80 appearances for the men in green, which included having the honour of bowling Ireland’s first ball in Test cricket.

Murtagh joined the Ireland squad for the one-day and Test match legs of the current tour against Afghanistan, and speaking on Sunday he said:

“It’s been good to join up with the lads as it’s been a long winter back home, training in the cold.

“The sessions I’ve been doing back home have held me in good stead - I’m feeling pretty good form and fitness-wise, so it’s been good to get outside and get some overs under my belt.”

“Obviously the first game didn’t go as we wanted, but I thought we did pretty well with the half game we got in yesterday.

“I think in the second ODI it was important that we went hard at them, and showed them we were up for the series, and up for the fight.

“Having put in a fairly meek performance in the first game, there were some positives to take out of it, now we’ve got a few days to rest and recover and get ourselves up for Tuesday.”

Asked about the conditions so far, and the different approach a seamer needs to take in subcontinent conditions, he said: “Yeah, I think it’s important you acclimatise pretty quickly and have clear plans, but be prepared to change those plans quickly if things aren’t working well.

“Obviously you’re not going to get the assistance from the wicket or through the air you’d get back home, so other skills I’ve developed over the years come to the fore and you have to rely on those.”

“It’s great to have Rob Cassell [Lead Bowling Coach] here - in the early years we didn’t have a specialist bowling coach and it was tough work. He’s a good bloke as well, good to chat to about bowling, and has pretty similar views to myself. It’s good to just bounce ideas off him and the bowlers really enjoy that he’s the leader of our group.”

The Ireland Men’s team is in action on Tuesday in the third One-Day International against Afghanistan