Few cricketers can claim that captaincy runs in the family. The Tectors from Dublin are a unique set of brothers with Jack and Harry having captained Ireland at the 2016 and 2018 editions of the Under-19 Cricket World Cup. Today, youngest brother Tim joins them too.
Jack is the eldest of the trio and has gone onto to play for Ireland Wolves while Harry has graduated to higher honours, having made his international debut for Ireland three years ago and now a lynchpin of their ODI middle-order.
‘It’s certainly a bit weird being the third brother to do it (captaincy) but it’s great to have them do it before,’ Tim told Emerging Cricket ahead of their first game against Uganda. ‘They were able to give me a few tips before I came out here.’
They are the latest band of brothers to come through Ireland’s age-group system after the McClintock brothers (William and Gary), the Tuckers (Fiachra and Lorcan) and the Delanys (Gareth and David).
Growing up, winters were spent playing hurling, rugby and Gaelic football whereas summers meant backyard cricket all day on the patio at their family home in Dublin. Both, Tim and Harry, have fond memories of the friendly rivalries that shaped their cricketing ambitions.
‘Where we live, a few years ago, we had quite a big garden at the back so you can imagine like most cricketing families we played a lot of backyard cricket,’ Tim recalls. ‘Jack was the first to get into it. He started when he was seven or eight-years old. Cricket’s always being talked in the family or at the dinner table or even on a golf course.’
Who was the most adept at wielding the willow then? “Definitely Jack as he was a bit older than me and Tim,” Harry tells Emerging Cricket. ‘But as I got older I started to get better at batting. Jack won most of the times!’
And if that does not give away how deeply rooted cricket was, and still is, in their lives, Tim adds: ‘We really are a cricket nuffy family, you know?’
Currently, Harry is in Jamaica, nearly 2479 kilometres away, representing the senior men’s team in a three-match ODI series against the West Indies but remains a help for Tim only a text away to discuss the conditions and extend his support.
It is, therefore, little surprise that Tim wants to follow in his footsteps eventually going on to represent Ireland some day.
‘That’s definitely the goal,” Tim said. ‘I think playing for your country is definitely a privilege. Talking to him and all the experience that he brings through with the senior team, it sounds like something every young cricketer would like to achieve.’
Tector was five days shy of his eighth birthday when his idol Kevin O’Brien blitzed a record game-changing century against England at the 2011 World Cup, a knock that enhanced the impression of Irish cricket as a whole and made the world sit up and notice. It was also the first time he had watched Ireland play on TV.
Eleven years on, Tim, and his young Ireland team, will play in a televised fixture for the first time when they take on India next week on 19th January. Nerves, surely?
‘There’s always going to be a few nerves playing those big games but when the time comes, when we step over the rope, we will be ready to go,’ he says.
A middle-order batter with a sound technique, Tim prioritises selective stroke play over big-hitting flamboyance, much like his brother Harry. Coming into the World Cup, Tim finished a four-match ODI series against Zimbabwe Under-19s as the leading run-scorer, including scores of 94 and 53.
Ireland’s best finish at an Under-19 World Cup came in 2010, when a side led by current senior men’s captain Andrew Balbirnie alongside his deputy Paul Stirling finished 10th – a record Tim wants to beat, but also realises that having been drawn alongside India, South Africa and Uganda, will be quite challenging.
‘We have got Uganda first up now. We are pretty confident for that game. You have got to take it one game at a time. India will be a different challenge in itself,’ he said. ‘If we win one of the other two games, we will be in the Super 8s and that will be a massive achievement for Irish cricket but if not, we will go to Trinidad and try to go as far as we can to play and see what happens there.’
Just like Harry, Tim’s calm and confident disposition doesn’t take long to spot when he’s speaking with an unmistakable glint in his eyes. Having grown up watching some of the best in the business, he knows where to find his drive within.
‘Obviously, growing up I’ve watched a lot of Irish cricket so it’s hard to look past the likes of Kevin O’Brien, especially when he played that unbelievable World Cup century knock against England. As a hard-hitting batter, he always looked to take the game to the opposition.’
‘In terms of captaincy, I’ve played quite a lot under both my brothers so [I] obviously [look up to] them but I admire Eoin Morgan a lot. He’s always so calm and collected on the pitch. If you can do as best as you can to be like them, you can’t go too far wrong.’
Morgan, a World Cup winning captain with England, represented Ireland at the 2004 and 2006 Under-19 World Cups and is the leading run-scorer in the tournament’s storied history with an aggregate of 606 runs.
‘It shows that if you can do well in the U19 World Cup, you never know what’s going to happen with the rest of your career. We are going to go out there and give our all over the next few weeks.’
Two months away from his 20th birthday, Tim is well aware of his role that he brings to the side as a senior player and how a strong show over the new few weeks could change their career and potentially throw them in the national reckoning.
‘I’m not too out of the blue. We have clear plans on the pitch. We have quite a young squad here so a big part of my role is to make them feel as comfortable as they can in the squad especially when they’re playing those big games so they can show everyone what they are capable of.’
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