Ireland's Staurt Thompson from European academy to ICC World Twenty20
Ireland’s Stuart Thompson has just returned from Sri Lanka from the ICC World Twenty20, this was Thompson’s first global tournament and he has come on a long journey since the ICC European Men’s Academy in 2011.
He first got into cricket as a result of his father who also played for Ireland, he identifies his dad’s influence and distance from the ground as reasons for playing cricket! “Dad was a massive influence on my cricket at a young age, I was at Eglinton CC watching from the age of 8 or 9 helping fielding the balls and practicing with the boys team, living close to the ground was also a massive help as well,” said Thompson.
The ICC European Men’s Academy which is a performance academy aimed at progressing or at selected individuals for national level to develop was first attended by Thompson in Dubai in 2011 and he felt this crucial in his development. “I was at the academy in Dubai 2011 and then again this year in Pune, both had very different set ups but equally challenging and rewarding.
“Playing in different conditions develops your game and training everyday adds that professionalism and self discipline to your game. Working with different coaches, Matthew Maynard and Chris Taylor in particular gave us more ideas, but especially for me about batting which was key. These camps are all about learning as much as you can in the short time which definitely helped me as a player,” said Thompson.
As well as the cricket side of my game it also developed me personally, “I think the it added a greater dimension practicing different skills and developing weaknesses and focusing on them. The timing of the camp was ideal after a few weeks I was into the start of our season so I felt in good form. The professionalism was a good environment to be in and learn from I've taken that on board more to develop me as a person,” states Thompson.
As the ICC World Twenty20 was your first global tournament, the results obviously didn’t go the way Thompson wanted, but he still took plenty from the tournament. “It becomes more passionate I think when playing on the world stage and in a massive tournament. We know there's a huge audience back home supporting us so performing for them is very important to us. It could be seen as added pressure but more of an incentive than anything. I wasn't overly nervous leaving for the tournament but when you are here and as the game days get nearer you start to get nervous,” says Thompson.
The growing support back in Ireland after some great performance on the world stage is incredible and Thompson has a message for all those to inspire them to play cricket. “The younger guys and girls only have to turn on the TV and look at the opportunities out there for them in cricket now, global tournaments are becoming regular for us so travelling all over the world to do what you love is as good as it gets,” concludes Thompson.