How A Mid-Match Chat Triggered Curtis Campher's Move From South Africa To Ireland

Is Curtis Campher another potentially promising talent lost by South African cricket? It certainly looks that way the 21-year-old all-rounder has performed in his first ODIs for Ireland against England. The South African-born Irish batsman has struggled against the Engish bowling attack in the ongoing ODI series but debutant Curtis Campher has proved to be a calm amidst the ruins.

Curtis Campher, Ireland, South Africa
Curtis Campher [Photo-Getty]
Campher came into bat in his debut game with his side reeling at 5-28 and David Willey eyeing a hat-trick after having knocked over Gareth Delany and Lorcan Tucker off successive deliveries. The right-hander not only negotiated the hat-trick ball but also went on to stitch valuable stands with  Kevin O’Brien and Andy McBrine to help Ireland post a respectable 172.

The 21-year-old top-scored with 59 and became just the third Irish player to score a half-century on debut and if we wasn’t contented with that already, he went on to dismiss Tom Banton to become only the second player after Shaun Pollock to do a double of 50+ runs and 1+ wicket on ODI debut against England. But do you know Curtis Campher, who was born in Johannesburg, was till recently an aspiring cricketer for South Africa?

Also Read: England vs Ireland, 2020: Adil Rashid Becomes First England Spinner To Bag 150 Wickets In ODIs

When Niall O’Brien suggested Curtis Campher to make a move to Ireland

Curtis Campher, Ireland, South Africa
Curtis Campher scored a fifty and took a wicket on debut. (Credits: Twitter)

Campher, whose grandmother happens to be of Northern Ireland origin, made a move from South Africa to Ireland earlier this year. The right-hander’s move to Ireland has its roots in a mid-match chat with Ireland’s Nial O’Brien back in 2018. Ireland, at the time, was in Pretoria to participate in a warm-up game against an Eastern and Northerns Combined XI .

Campher scored a brilliant 39-ball 49 in that game and it impressed Niall O’Brien so much that he went up to the then 19-year-old to consider moving to the place of his grandmother’s birth.

 “Niall O’Brien said, Listen you’re a good player, I will chat with you after the game.’ And that is where one thing led to another.” Curtis Campher told BBC.

Skipper Andrew Balbirnie was very impressed with the amount of maturity that the youngster displayed in his debut game.

“It was as good a debut as I’ve seen in an Irish shirt in the last number of years, and it’s a huge positive to take. I thought it was very impressive for a guy who’s not even played a game in Ireland yet to come in as a 21-year-old and put in a performance like that,” Andrew Balbirnie said in the post-match presentation.

And as if to prove that the performance in the last game wasn’t a fluke, Curtis Campher displayed yet another glimpse of his precocious talent when he racked yet another brilliant half-century [68 off 87 balls] in the second game to beat Gary Wilson’s record of the highest score at the No.7 spot in ODI cricket.

Yash Mittal

Just a student of this beautiful game called cricket. Writer. Storyteller.