Ireland captain Andy Balbirnie is the latest skipper to take over PA’s lockdown chronicle.
Here the Dubliner discusses a failed flirtation with another sport, his highly-rated Rice Krispie squares and ponders muting a team-mate on Whatsapp.
How have you coped without cricket over the last three months?
“We came back from a tour in India in mid-March just as things were about to to explode and I was starting to have an understanding that the season would be in jeopardy. We knew what was happening around the world and you have to understand being an Irish cricketer is a very small part of that jigsaw. We’re back in training now, so we’re grateful for that.”
What are you missing most about the life on the road?
Just sitting in the changing room after a win, having a beer and enjoying each other’s company. I suppose it’s the same sort of social interaction everyone has been deprived of but in cricket that camaraderie is a big part of our lives.”
What is the best part of life in lockdown?
“I played some chess for the first time in ages and I also did a bit of baking. My Rice Krispie squares were a big hit but after two weeks of wanting to make everything under the sun I slowed down with it. I’ve also enjoyed the family time and sitting down to reflect on what we’ve achieved as a team these last couple of years.”
Did you discover any creative home workouts?
“You need to change it up as the weeks drag out. I’ve tried lifting my girlfriend and my younger brother, just to have a bit of fun with it. My girlfriend plays Gaelic football so I actually tried my hand at that with her. She showed me up a bit so I won’t be pulling the boots on again.”
Have you been getting involved in the community?
“At the start I was dropping some shopping up to some older people in the area. It was nice to chat to people I’ve never met before and hear their perspective. I also did an hour on Zoom with a cricket club in Cork and a technical look at one of my innings with the Cricket Ireland Academy. Hopefully someone there will be in my position in 10 years’ time.”
Do you have a message for the fans?
“This thing has been a bit like batting, you’ve just got to be patient. We haven’t got as many fans as a team like England but they’re very dedicated. We hope to have a full calendar next year for them.”
What new entertainment have you discovered in lockdown?
“Like everyone else in the world I’ve loved The Last Dance, without doubt the best sports documentary ever. I also decided to watch all the films that won best picture at the Oscars from 1980 onwards, it was nice to go back to a few and see some that passed me by.”
Name and shame time, who is the worst on the club’s Whatsapp group?
“It’s harsh but probably Barry McCarthy. If you could mute someone in the group, he would be top of the list.”