Heartbreak journey for McCallan
Robin Walsh - Sunday Life
Kyle McCallan calls it the heartbreak journey - the coach trip that has taken him to the last six matches as Ireland make their way to the 2011 World Cup finals.
The Waringstown all rounder knew that, unlike the remarkable 205 previous occasions in one of the most glittering careers in the history of Irish cricket, he would not be taking the field. A cracked rib sustained in the nets before this qualifying tournament began has seen to that.
Yet that ebullient Irish manager Roy Torrens will tell you that even off the field McCallan is a priceless asset .
He says : “Kyle has been an amazing cheerleader for the team, encouraging them every minute. Even if he doesn’t play a single game in the tournament his contribution will have been invaluable, giving the players the benefit of his huge experience - not least on the field during drinks breaks.”
Thirty three year-old McCallan keeps his spirits high , hoping he can nurse his injury to a fitness level that will allow him to play before the tournament ends next week. But he admits deep disappointment.
He tells me : “The worst part is the journey to the ground, surrounded by the players’ sense of excitement and anticipation - it’s a feeling I’ve relished down the years. In an funny way it’s not so bad when we get to the ground - I simply get absorbed in helping the players with their final preparations and during the game I encourage them all I can.”
The Grosvenor Grammar School PE teacher will bowl his off spin in the nets tomorrow (Monday) for the first time on tour in the hope that he’ll make the side in at least one of Ireland’s last four games.
“It would be terrific if I did and it won’t be for the want of trying”, he says. “I’m delighted the team has been playing so excellently - apart of course from the Afghanistan game. Nonetheless I’d like to play my part on the field.”
And if there’s any consolation for McCallan, it’s the opportunity his injury has given his closest friend, his colleague at Grosvenor and fellow off spinner, Andrew White. He’s been called on to bowl more overs in the tournament that he bowled for Ireland all last year - taking wickets at reasonable cost and winning the Man of the Match award against Uganda.