WHEN ANDERS OUT-BOWLED CUMMINS

Pat Cummins currently tops the ICC Test bowling rankings, but back in 2013 he was out-bowled by a 15 year-old Dubliner, making his first appearance in the Ireland Under 19 ranks.

Rory Anders stole the show that day at Muckamore as the Irish teenagers trounced an MCC side containing Cummins, who had stayed in Ireland to get some match time as he continued his rehabilitation from a stress fracture of the back.

(Rory Anders with Pat Cummins)

Anders claimed three wickets as the MCC were dismissed for 143, with Rishi Chopra taking the prize scalp of the Aussie Test star for 18.

Cummins, who has 312 international wickets to his name, struggled on the easy paced Moylena pitch, going wicketless in his nine overs as Ireland won by nine wickets with runs for Scott Campbell, Alistair Shields, and current Ireland international James McCollum.

Eight years on, what memories has Anders of the day he outshone Cummins?

“I was quite nervous as it was my debut for the Irish U19s and I opened the bowling with Mark Adair,” said the Dubliner.

“The wicket was quite sticky and I got into a nice rhythm and hit my lengths and the wicket did the rest as I picked up the three wickets.

“It really was an incredible day for me to be playing against a world superstar, and as a 15 year-old I was a little bit star-struck to meet him. He was really cool and it was great to meet him on such a memorable day for me.”

That game would see Anders establish himself in the Under 19 side which later that summer went to the World Cup Qualifiers.

“On the back of that game I was included in the squad that went to The Netherlands under Tyrone Kane who was captain, and that was a great experience although we didn’t make the finals.

“However, we did make the 2016 finals in Bangladesh where I had a good tournament with the ball. I finished third leading wicket taker in the tournament (13 wkts at 11.61) and our bowlers did a good job throughout. Josh Little, Tom Stanton and Fiachra Tucker also.”

(Rory Anders at the U19 World Cup)

That tournament ear-marked Anders as one to watch, as he had impressed with three wickets as India were given an early scare before recovering, but injury was to play a part as he fell down the pecking order and out of the limelight.

“Following the tournament I went away to New Zealand to play after my Leaving Cert, but came back with a shoulder injury which meant that I couldn’t bowl for a whole year. I played as a batsman only for Phoenix, who were my club at the time, going in at number three which was a great opportunity.”

Anders showed himself to be a genuine all-rounder as he scored his maiden senior century in a season where he passed 500 runs. Having completed his recovery from injury, he then started the process of trying to gain interprovincial recognition as a stepping stone to further honours.

That has seen him switch clubs in recent years, as he opted to move to YMCA in an attempt to reinvigorate his career, a move that has paid dividends.

“In 2019 I moved to YMCA which has been great for me. Obviously I’m very grateful to Phoenix for all the help over my time there, they were very good to me. The move to Claremont Road has enhanced my cricket a lot.

"Playing with new team mates. New training scenarios and the environment at the club has benefitted me a lot. We had a great season just past when we clinched the All-Ireland T20 Cup after winning the Senior League Cup which was fantastic for all the guys.”

The ambitious Anders has the talent and desire to play at the higher level, but accepts it’s not an easy process given the depth of established talent in the Leinster Lightning set-up.

(Rory Anders of Leinster Lightning)

“Progress wasn’t as fast as I would have liked as it’s obviously a very competitive scene in Leinster. It’s not easy for a young cricketer to break into it given the number of internationals. I’m glad now to say that I’ve now managed to do it a few times, especially in the T20s which I’m very proud of. Hopefully there are a few more in the future which I’m intent on achieving.”

He had intended to spend this winter in Australia, but due to the effect of the Covid-19 pandemic, has been forced to take an alternate path.

Having graduated from Dublin City University with a BSC in Accounting and Finance, he is now in the midst of a Masters Degree in Financial Mathematics.

“I’d really wanted to do that after going to Australia and really pushing hard and developing my cricket, but you have just got to adapt and make the best use of the situation. There’s not much training around for players, which is difficult, but I’m working very hard on my fitness, and doing the best I can.”

He has yet to feature for Ireland but did play 12 times for the Cricket Ireland Academy in 2018 and 2019, taking 15 wickets at 24, while averaging just over 20 with the bat, emphasising his all-round capabilities.

(Rory Anders celebrates a wicket)

Elevation to the Wolves side and a senior cap with Ireland are real ambitions for the YMCA all-rounder, who has still time on his side.

“That’s certainly one of my goals, as I’m only 23. I’m still hungry to play for Ireland and have a long, prosperous career. That’s definitely a possibility if I work hard on my game and grasp the opportunities that come along.”

He also is continuing on the coaching ladder, helping Leinster Development Manager Brian O’Rourke over the past three years with youth sides, coaching both the Leinster U11 and U13 sides with great success.

He was himself a product of the much vaunted Leinster Development programme which has become the benchmark for others over the past 20 years. Indeed he had the remarkable figures of seven wickets for just four runs against Munster as Leinster clinched the U13 interpros back in 2011.

(13 year-old Rory Anders meets George Dockrell and Niall O'Brien after his 7-4)

It would be no surprise if the affable Anders become the latest from the production line of talent to get senior recognition.

It won’t be for a lack of effort on his part. You don’t need a Masters Degree in Mathematics to count on that!