Northern Knights’ coach Simon Johnston’s high praise for Graeme McCarter
Northern Knights head coach Simon Johnston believes Graeme McCarter is reaping the rewards of his hard work after the seamer shone for Ireland Wolves this week.
McCarter picked up nine wickets in three games – including figures of 6-32 in the series decider – to help Ireland beat Netherlands A 2-1 at Oak Hill in Wicklow.
The 28-year-old has played for Ireland on seven occasions with his last appearance coming in June 2015, but his consistent performances at Inter-Provincial level combined with a starring Wolves role means he could be in prime position for a senior recall.
He will have a key role to play for the Knights when they take on Leinster Lightning on Sunday and Johnston is delighted to see the former Gloucestershire bowler have such success.
“That’s what I have seen now for a couple of years and there was no doubt that if he got the chance that he would do something like that,” he said.
“Maybe not a 6-fer, but I thought he bowled exceptionally on the first day and was unlucky.
“He probably bowled better on day one than the last two and it shows the quality he has got.
“Sometimes you don’t need to reinvent the wheel. He bowls the same tricky ball on back of a length over and over again and is a lot more skilful than people think.
“He’s not got express pace but he has a lot of smarts and he’s someone I’ve been pushing for a couple of years now.
“He’s a very laid-back guy who enjoys himself but he works ridiculously hard at his game. He gives up his lunch to come and train with me three times a week.
“I always like it when guys who work hard are rewarded so I’m delighted for him.”
The Knights will need to bounce back from a 70-run defeat to Leinster on May 4 and Johnston has challenged his senior players to step up.
“I’m looking for a reaction,” he added.
“On paper over the last four games against Leinster, as a squad we have stacked up well.
“From the outside looking in you’re thinking these are two evenly matched sides, but to be honest, Leinster have outplayed us and it has been their senior players.
“Balbo (Andrew Balbirnie) scored a big hundred, Dockers (George Dockrell) and we’ve had Simi (Singh) in the past.
“I’ve issued a challenge to the guys like Harry, James and Mark who have been playing for the Knights for a few years and telling them it’s their time to show how good they are and to win the game for us.”
“They are all enthused by that and keen to put a marker down because we have to show a bit more than we did down there.”
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