Josh Little was not necessarily born to play in hot conditions but at the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup coping with the heat in the Middle East will be a mental challenge as much as a physical one.
At 21, Little is preparing for his first major tournament with Ireland, the left-arm quick having broken into the side shortly after the last Men’s T20 World Cup back in 2016.
And having now completed the quarantine in Dubai – the tournament is taking place in the UAE and Oman – Little and his teammates are doing everything they can to ensure they can cope with the conditions.
He said: “I’ve been to a fair few places that are hot, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, so I’m definitely used to the heat. We were here back in January and it was only 25/30 max, that wasn’t too bad. But the experience in the heat is that it’s tough and you just have to find a way.
"You need to know that everyone is finding it tough, you’re not the only one, you have to stay hydrated, make sure you’re eating, and gritting through it.
"Performance may suffer like we’re seeing sometimes in the IPL, balls slipping out if you’re a bowler, so you just need to find a way, whether it’s in training or mentally, to counteract that.
— ICC (@ICC) January 15, 2020
“We generally have limited resources compared to other countries so we’re making do with what we have.
“We’re out on the balcony doing bike sessions in the heat, and then band work, push-ups, some core and then straight into the bath afterwards to acclimatise to the heat even more.
“The shock when you get off the plane is incredible.”
While Little is a newcomer to this stage, he has shown his pedigree with Ireland including taking 2-45 in the historic one-day victory over South Africa in July.
Ireland are in a first-round group with the Netherlands, Sri Lanka and Namibia, with the top two qualifying for the next phase after a round-robin.
And while Little has no previous experience of this level of competition, he does not have to look far for advice, with 37-year-old Kevin O’Brien still going strong, 14 years on from being part of the Ireland side that famously knocked Pakistan out of the 2007 World Cup.
He said: “It’s my first one so I’m looking forward to all of it. I know we’re a little restricted with Covid but I’m just looking forward to experiencing what a world-class tournament is like and getting a feel for that.
“I want to learn off the lads who have been there. Kev said that he has been to eight or nine of them so I’m learning off the lads and being exposed to that high quality of cricket for an extended period of time can only make us better.
“We’re all feeling like we got plenty of cricket under our belts so we’re just dying to get out of the rooms and stuck into the competition.”
“I think we definitely do have enough firepower to beat all the other teams in our group and then it’s down to execution on the day, if we play better than the other team we win.”
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