Monday 19 March 2018

Weather may wash-out Ireland’s cricket friendly against Australia at Stormont

THE weather may be in danger of ruining Ireland's RSA Challenge match against Australia but wicketkeeper Gary Wilson believes if the match does go ahead, adverse conditions could favour the hosts.

Heavy rain ensured there would be no outdoor practice at Stormont ahead of tomorrow's one-day international and forecasts suggest a full 50-over game is unlikely.

But with Australia having only played one warm-up fixture against Leicestershire since arriving from sunnier climes, Wilson is certain the Irish have enough quality to make home advantage count - including the testing weather.

"All we can do is prepare to play the game but we've all played enough cricket to know weather could play a part," the Surrey man told Press Association Sport.

"That is something that is out of our control and we're experienced enough to know if it rains then we don't play cricket. But, yes, the weather could be an advantage for us because we back ourselves to beat anyone in our own conditions.

"We have Ed Joyce, Will Porterfield, Paul Stirling and now we have Tim Muragh coming in. That is a team full of match-winners."

Wilson was part of the Ireland side that almost shocked Australia in Dublin two years ago.

Having restricted their visitors to 231 for nine in 50 overs, openers Porterfield and Stirling put on a stunning first-wicket stand of 80 in 11 overs only for the innings to fold for 192.

Wilson made just four batting at number three that day but he insists that match is a real inspiration for the would-be giant-killers.

"We believe in ourselves and I think above all that match in 2010 gives us confidence," he said.

"We proved that we can compete with a fantastic Australia side and that we can go up against them and get close. Hopefully we can do that again."

Like every Surrey player, Wilson has been hard hit by the death of 23-year-old team-mate Tom Maynard earlier this week.

He concedes it is a heavy loss to deal with during a busy season but insists he and the rest of Maynard's friends and colleagues will continue to play with him in their thoughts.

"Tom was a massive figure in our dressing room; above all he was a good guy as well as a fantastic cricketer," he said.

"He was a big character and his loss will be felt for a long time to come, no doubt. But we are professionals and we will continue to go out on the pitch and do the best we can.

"We've got a cause now. Everyone in that dressing room will be playing every game for Tom."

Wilson also has another cause to fight for, but this one will be contested on the road rather than the cricket pitch.

He lost his mother to cancer in April and, alongside Porterfield, is planning to cycle across Ireland between October 9-13 to raise money for Cancer Research.

"We'll be going from Cork to Belfast, 390 miles in five days," he explained.

"We'll be going though Kilkenny, Dublin, Armagh, Derry and ending here in Belfast. I don't know how much practice we'll get in the season so it could be interesting!"

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