By Matthew Henry
BBC Sport on the Ageas Bowl
There weren’t many positives for Eire throughout Thursday’s defeat by England in Southampton – but one was the performance of debutant Curtis Campher.
The 21-one year-used top-scored with 59 now not out within the vital one-day international, and took a wicket alongside with his fourth ball, leading his captain Andrew Balbirnie to characterize it as as correct a debut he had viewed for Eire right this moment.
Born in Johannesburg and a South Africa Below-19 international, Campher has now not taken the venerable route into the Eire physique of workers.
The all-rounder has an Irish passport – his Irish grandmother was a nurse in Londonderry – but it was a chat with aged Eire international Niall O’Brien within the center of a match that residence him on his scheme to representing the nation.
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Eire had been in Pretoria in 2018, playing a warmth-up in opposition to an Easterns and Northerns Blended XI ahead of the qualification match for the 2019 World Cup.
Campher, then 19, impressed with 49 from 39 balls for the South African facet – and a mumble into the ear of O’Brien about his Irish ancestry sent him on his scheme.
“It wasn’t in actuality the relaxation else except for tongue in cheek, attempting to accumulate over and play some club cricket,” Campher acknowledged.
“He acknowledged, ‘listen you are a correct player, I will chat to you after the recreation’, and that’s where one thing ended in yet some other.”
Thursday’s debut in Southampton came even supposing Campher has yet to play a recreation of cricket in Eire – he has relocated to Dublin this one year where he’ll play for YMCA Cricket Club – and might now not often have reach in extra advanced circumstances.
The first ball he faced in international cricket was a hat-trick likelihood for David Willey, with Eire 28-5 in opposition to the arena champions.
After seeing off Willey, Campher complied a affected person unbeaten half-century, without which Eire’s total might even have broken the scandalous extra or less data.
It resulted in reward on commentary from England mammoth Kevin Pietersen, yet some other South Africa-born international cricketer and someone Campher admitted was a cricketing hero of his.
Later, Campher struck in his first over with the ball when he had Tom Banton caught off a top edge – a abnormal twist of destiny for the seamer who furthermore brushed aside Banton in a recreation for South Africa Below-19s in 2018.
“Regarded as one of the most fellows within the huddle acknowledged ‘here is your day, you build now not accumulate many extra luxuriate in this’,” Campher acknowledged.
“I used to be lying in mattress thinking it ought to handiest inch downhill – but with moderately of luck it doesn’t.
“It has been a dream reach factual to design my ODI debut. I did not ask it to happen so quickly and it has been unbelievable to this level.
“The principle thing the fellows acknowledged to me is to rating it all in and in actuality revel within the day and I maintain I did that moderately successfully.
“You handiest have an ODI debut as soon as and I in actuality cherished it.
“To play in opposition to world champions and play properly is correct the cherry on top.”