Character aplenty in Wilson
Character a plenty in Wilson
26 year-old Gary Wilson has had a lot on his plate in the last 10 months and the fact that he’s in some of the best touch of his career is a credit to his strength of character.
Much has been documented about Wilson’s personal misfortunes in 2012 and it speaks volumes of the man that he has turned the loss of his mother Iris into a potentially positive outcome for cancer research, not to mention the string of important knocks for both club and country.
Fortunately, I caught up with Gary for a brief chat over the phone during a rain delay on the first day of the Intercontinental Cup match with Afghanistan at Rathmines, to see where his head was at, and, not surprisingly, he seemed pretty upbeat.
“The last 12 months has been a weird year. Obviously getting married there back in October was the best day of my life and I’m really grateful that Mum was able to be there for that and then she was doing well and looked great. Then things started to decline and it brought about what is probably the worst day of my life,” said Wilson.
“I wanted to get back playing as soon as I could and to get back and play well for Surrey and Ireland. There’s nothing more important to me than playing cricket outside of my friends and family and I’ve been very fortunate that I’ve had a good run in the last couple of months. When you’re out in the field it’s still in your mind but I’ve just got to keep concentrating on the ball coming down and luckily enough, for me, it’s been working.”
Wilson and Irish teammate William Porterfield set off on a bike ride from Cork to Belfast in October to fundraise for cancer research and plans have been progressing very quickly in the last month.
“It’s fallen into place quite nicely and we’ve raised just over £4000 in two weeks which is a great start. We are going to be holding a dinner (in Belfast) and it looks like we’ve already over-subscribed for the dinner so we’re going to have to move to a bigger venue to seat around 400 people.”
“At the twenty20 game against Bangladesh next Friday we’re going to be holding a raffle with some brilliant prizes up for grabs. So if people could come and support that at the ground then it would be brilliant too.”
The sudden death of Surrey CCC teammate Tom Maynard will continue to have a lasting effect on the club but Wilson couldn’t speak any higher of the effort involved by all at the club to accommodate the needs of individuals throughout the grieving process.
“We’ve had a brilliant support team in place and the guys at the Oval have been excellent for everyone involved. They’ve made it easy for people to make their minds up about playing or not and obviously people grieve in different ways. It’s OK to laugh, it’s OK to joke, you don’t have to sit around and mourn if that’s what you want to do. Tom was the absolute life and soul of our dressing room and he wouldn’t want people to mope around and think that that was the end of your life.“
“While Tom was massive to everyone in the whole dressing room, at the end of the day we have a job to do and that’s win games of cricket for the club. It hasn’t gone to plan in the last couple of weeks but the emotion is still pretty raw and hopefully now come the end of the twenty20 we can put our focus into four day and one day cricket.”
The ICC World T20 Qualifier in March came at just the right time for the burly Ulsterman, as he was able to use the emotion of his mother’s fight with cancer to good effect.
“When I knew Mum was sitting at home I wanted to give her some good news to wake up to. Whilst I knew that it wasn’t important to her at all, I knew that she knew it was important to me because she knew that if I wasn’t scoring runs I would be disappointed. So, I guess that spurred me on a little.”
“When the worst happened in April, I just wanted to start playing again with Surrey and it was nice to score a couple of hundreds for Surrey (2nd XI) and say, ‘that was for Mum.’ I took a lot of form from the twenty20 in Dubai and I know my twenty20 game pretty well now. One day cricket is where I feel most comfortable but I’m certainly keen to progress with my four day game and hopefully if a spot opens up in the Surrey middle order then I can take my opportunity with both hands.”
As a product of the Irish system, Wilson always speaks with pride when talking about the ‘national’ side and, in sticking with his character, he foresees a lot of positive outcomes for the current group of players.
“I think test cricket has to be the main goal. I think in the world tournaments that we’ve played in the last six years, we’ve always done better than people would have expected us to, whilst probably not doing better than we expected to ourselves.”
“I think if we can get one win against Australia or West Indies (in the World T20 in Sri Lanka in September), that will get us to a quarter final and I think we’re capable of getting through to a semi final. We’ve got a very good team at the moment and I’d like us to make the most of this period we’re currently in where we’ve got a lot of excellent players.”