Josh Little is eager to help Ireland write a new chapter in their history after reminiscing about the time he pulled an all-nighter with a current international team-mate to watch a famous World Cup victory.
The seamer, now 21, was 15 and still at school when he stayed up late alongside Harry Tector six years ago. Glued to the television, the duo watched Niall O’Brien’s unbeaten half-century see off the West Indies in New Zealand to record another momentous win on the biggest stage.
That marked Ireland’s most recent notable victory at a major competition, having also registered superb wins against England and Pakistan at previous tournaments.
All of those three results came in 50-over cricket but the Men in Green will target converting those historic glories into the shorter format when they begin their ICC Men’s Twenty20 World Cup campaign on Monday against Holland.
Little told PA: “Getting to a World Cup was something I always wanted to do and we’ve had some decent preparation so dying to get stuck into it now.
“Me and Harry Tector, who is also in the squad, I remember him staying over at my house back in the day and we stayed up all night to watch Ireland beat the West Indies.
“I remember that World Cup really well and all the lads I looked up to I am playing with now so that is special to be around them.”
Paul Stirling, Kevin O’Brien, Andy Balbirnie, Andy McBrine and George Dockrell all featured in that win against West Indies and are part of head coach Graham Ford’s 15-man squad for the competition, based in Oman and UAE.
Alongside those seasoned players, Ireland have several young players keen to progress from a Group A containing Sri Lanka, Holland and Namibia all vying for a top-two finish which would send them through to the Super 12s and keep them at the tournament for another fortnight.
— Cricket Ireland (@cricketireland) October 17, 2021
And Little added: “That Sri Lanka game is absolutely massive. They are a world class side and if we do win it would be very special. First it is Holland and we are dying to get one back on them after losing the one-day series in the summer.
“It will be a very good game. Hopefully we can turn them over and like I said Sri Lanka are obviously a great side but we feel we can turn anyone over on our day. Then Namibia are another who will be a tough challenge but we back ourselves to win that.”
The country’s form going into their first major competition for five years has been bright, with a T20 series win against Zimbabwe this summer and recent victories against both Bangladesh and the UAE proving their pedigree.
Ireland also pushed South Africa hard in both white-ball formats in July, with seamer Little doing his burgeoning reputation no harm with seven wickets.
He demonstrated his fiery character once again when he was fined for an incident with Quinton de Kock which brought back memories of how he wound up England batter Jonny Bairstow last year by giving the England batter a loud send-off.
“That is just how I go about my business. I am just a naturally very competitive person and always have been,” Dublin-born Little declared.
“I used to play hockey at a decent level and was very competitive in that, so people do say I turn into a bit of a different guy on the pitch but that is because I want to do well so badly. I can’t wait to get going.
“We play the game because we want to beat the big teams and show the world what we’re capable of. We have beaten England, South Africa and the West Indies in recent times so we can do it and we are all ready to try and do it again.”