Dockrell delight at ICC award
Ian Callender (Irish Daily Mail)
George Dockrell was named as the Associate Player of the Year at the ICC awards ceremony in Colombo.
The slow left armer from Leinster, now a county professional with Somerset, took 52 wickets in the qualifying period from August 2011, including 22 in just three Intercontinental Cup matches and 13 in the qualifying tournament in Dubai from which Ireland qualified for the World Twenty20 here in Sri Lanka.
It is the culmination of a superb year for Dockrell who also found time to captain the Ireland Under-19 team at the World Cup last month and now he is preparing for his fourth global tournament at the age of 20.
Dockrell knows this one is a major step up from the Under 19s campaign in Australia.
"This is a lot bigger, with more pressure but I'm looking forward to it. If you look at the last few tournaments, we beat Bangladesh at the World Twenty20 in England and came so close to beating Sri Lanka and of course we had THAT win against England in the 2011 World Cup in India.
"It proves they are not one-off wins, we are always competing, always playing well in the big tournaments and we are targeting another shock in this tournament," said Dockrell, who beat off four rivals to the award.
Three of Dockrell's team-mates, who also attended the glamour ceremony, were on the shortlist, Ed Joyce, Kevin O'Brien and Paul Stirling along with Afghanistan opening bowler Dawlat Zadran.
Ireland complete their warm-up action for the World Twenty20, looking for a fourth straight win, against Bangladesh tomorrow before their tournament begins on Wednesday with the first Group B game, against Australia.
The Australians had endured a nightmare 12 months in the shortest form of the game and actually slipped below Ireland in the world rankings but, unfortunately for Ireland, the 2010 beaten finalists could be hitting form at the right time.
Victory over Pakistan in Dubai by 94 runs, in a three-match series they had already lost, was followed yesterday by an emphatic 56 runs victory over New Zealand in Colombo. Opening batsman David Warner hit 24 off 14 balls and Daniel Christian, a dangerous late-order hitter, scored 11 off his three balls as the Aussies finished on 139 for six.
Shane Watson, opening the bowling, Clint McKay and 19 year old Pat Cummins then reduced the Kiwis to eight for three after 13 balls and spinner Brad Hogg followed up with three wickets to show the all-round strength of the team.
West Indies, most people's favourites to top Ireland's group, have one more chance to get it right before their tournament starts with the game against Australia next Saturday. After losing to Sri Lanka by nine wickets last week, albeit without Chris Gayle and captain Darren Sammy, West Indies meet Afghanistan tomorrow.
That game has taken on even more significance after the Afghans, who lost to Ireland in the final of the qualifying tournament in Dubai, amassed 209 for seven yesterday in their warm-up game against Sri Lanka A.
Group B fixtures
Wednesday: Ireland v Australia (11am Irish time)
Saturday: Australia v West Indies (3pm)
Monday 24th: Ireland v West Indies (3pm)