Sunday 22 July 2018

No fast-tracking as new recruit eyes Irish place after county exit

Sean Terry playing for Hampshire last year Photo: Getty
Sean Terry playing for Hampshire last year Photo: Getty

Ger Siggins

The son of a former England Test batsman has declared for Ireland and is moving to Dublin to pursue his ambitions. Seán Terry has opted to pass up on the final year of his contract with Hampshire to try to impress the Irish selectors by playing for YMCA in the Leinster league.

His move reverses the trend of recent years where Irish players such as Eoin Morgan, Ed Joyce and Boyd Rankin have turned out for England.

"Playing for Ireland has always been on my mind," said Terry (24), speaking from Perth. "I have been trying to make it work for a couple of years now and once I made the decision to leave Hampshire, it just made it a whole lot easier for it all to work out. I am so excited and hopefully can achieve the goal of representing the country."

Terry scored five half-centuries in 11 first-class games for Hampshire, where he was born, and has spent this winter in Australia, where he grew up. He played with the Monash Tigers in the Victoria Premier Grade, scoring four 50s and averaging 22.

Terry's father, Paul, played two Tests for England against a rampant West Indies side in July 1984. He made 16 runs in four innings, and had his arm broken by a bouncer from Winston Davis in his final game. However, he later returned to the crease with his arm plastered and wearing a sling. His bravery allowed Allan Lamb to get the two runs he needed for a century, but England lost the match, and the 'blackwash' series 5-0.

Terry's mother, Bernadette Sutcliffe, is from Walkinstown. "She's one of seven kids, so I have a pretty big family in Dublin," Terry said. "I have been over many times and while I was at Hampshire, I tried to get over to see everyone when I could."

After a career in England, which included a year at Lord's with MCC Young Cricketers, Southampton-born Terry decided this winter to throw his hand in with John Bracewell's team.

"It was extremely tough to leave Hampshire with another year still on my contract, but it's a decision I am really comfortable with," he said. "I had a great time there and had many great experiences, but it was time for me to move on to a new challenge. I definitely have not shut the door on county cricket, but my main focus at the moment is coming over to Dublin and enjoying some cricket and hopefully achieving the goal of playing for Ireland."

Terry made contact last year with Cricket Ireland chairman of selectors Alan Lewis.

"We have stayed in touch ever since and I was in Dublin a couple of months ago and put the wheels into motion. My dad is a big supporter of the move and he was the one that encouraged me to give it a crack."

Terry hasn't yet talked to the Irish coach and has received no guarantees about fast-tracking. Cricket Ireland's policy about non-Irish born players is much more rigorous than other countries, demanding that players show a commitment to Irish cricket, ideally by coming to play here.

The last non-native to qualify, through a grandparent, was Middlesex seamer Tim Murtagh, who was asked to travel over to play interprovincials and to train with the squad before he was selected.

"I have heard so many good things about John Bracewell and hopefully will get a chance to meet him soon", Terry added. "I have certainly not received any promises and it's solely down to me to put in the performances I know I am capable of."

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