If Ross Adair makes his debut for Ireland this week, he will be encouraged to play his natural game.

One of the biggest hitters in the local game, Adair admitted he was surprised by his call-up for Ireland’s three-match T20 series against Zimbabwe – the first match is on Thursday – but it is just reward for the form he has shown over the last couple of seasons playing for Northern Knights.

While most people look back on the summer of 2020 as one to forget, it was the cricket season that propelled Adair into the limelight.

“My hand to eye co-ordination was always reasonably decent but it wasn’t until the Covid season, which was all T20 action, that I really started being more aggressive, says Adair. “In T20 you don’t have to have an excuse to play big shots from ball one, that’s the game it is, and it worked for me.

“I didn’t want to change too much going into the 50-over stuff so I stuck at it, I scored 900 runs the next year and that’s probably why I play that way now.”

Since Heinrich Malan took over as head coach at the beginning of last year, the Ireland team have adopted a much more positive and attacking approach which resulted in their most successful T20 season since being elevated to Full Member status in 2017. Adair, if he can make it on the international stage, would appear to be the perfect fit.

“I’ve worked a lot with Gary (Wilson, his former team-mate at Civil Service North and now Ireland batting coach) over the last couple of weeks and he has told me ‘don’t change anything. There’s some technical stuff you can do, maybe move about the crease a bit more, create opportunities to rotate the strike, but if it’s in your area I want you to hit it for six or four, which is what you have been doing so don’t change anything’”

By coincidence his younger brother Mark made his debut against Zimbabwe at Bready back in 2019 and if Adair gets the call this week they will be the first siblings from Northern Ireland to play international cricket since the Pattersons, Mark and Andrew, from 1996-2001.

With three of Ireland’s top four at the T20 World Cup, Paul Stirling, Lorcan Tucker and Harry Tector, all being allowed to miss this week’s action to play franchise cricket, Adair and Stephen Doheny, the other uncapped player in the squad, must have a great chance of making their debuts.

Adair will be hoping that if he gets the nod, the games will go better than his only previous experience of playing sport in Southern Africa.

“I was on a school rugby tour with Sullivan and we got beat 60-0 twice. That was pretty grim.”