Leinster lad George Dockrell has twin ambitions for the weeks ahead -- to help Ireland win the Plate competition at the U-19 World Cup and to make his debut for the full international side, WRITES DAVID TOWNSEND.
The 17-year-old left-arm spinner learnt of his elevation to Phil Simmons' national squad shortly before flying to New Zealand for the U-19 tournament but isn't daunted by the prospect of playing in the World Twenty20 qualifiers in Dubai next month.
"I like a challenge," Dockrell said. "I've always enjoyed moving up to the next level in cricket and adapting my game. If I get a chance to win a cap in the T20s I'll do my best to grab it.
"I first got an idea that I was being considered when I was asked to attend a national squad training session.
"I'm looking forward to joining them again after this tournament. Spin bowling can be a key part of T20 and I love the challenge of trying to out-think the batsman."
A student at Gonzaga College, he first took up spin at the suggestion of coach Brian O'Rourke during a Leinster U-13 tour of Wales, although he admits to "messing around" with it from an earlier age.
"The great thing is you keep on learning something new every year -- not just in how you bowl, but where you bowl and different strategies and mind games to get batsmen out," he said.
"The team are confident that we can do well in the Plate. We can definitely win it."
Left-armers are know for being a little bit different -- think Phil Tufnell and Monty Panesar -- and Dockrell's eccentricities include the choice of Franz Kafka for reading material. "It's only a small book," he said, defensively, "and I'm reading Mike Hussey's autobiography 'Mr Cricket' too."
While the U-19s prepared to decamp to Napier for the Plate after last night's final Group B game against the USA, the squad learnt that James Shannon could be back to full fitness again early next week after twisting his ankle.