13 players included in Cricket Ireland academy for 2021

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Cricket Ireland has announced the inclusion of 13 new players into its academy 2021, national team and academy head coach Ed Joyce confirmed in a statement on Friday (December 11). The players will be involved in the cricket programme within the academy to develop their game and other aspects.

The players are Zara Craig, Alana Dalzell, Sarah Forbes, Rebecca Gough, Jennifer Hanna, Anna Kerrison, Tess Maritz, Naomi Matthews, Caoimhe McCann, Kate McEvoy, Freya Sargent, Jenny Sparrow and Siúin Woods. Out of these 13 players, six are new to the academy set-up.

“The Academy has become a critical part of our player development pathway, and the talent coming through has already begun to help shape the future of the senior team,” Joyce said. “Academy graduates such as Gaby Lewis, Lara Maritz and Kim Garth have all made major impacts on the international stage, whilst recent graduates like Orla Prendergast, Rebecca Stokell and Sophie MacMahon have demonstrated their talent at international and domestic levels.”

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Joyce also informed that the academy intake this year was primarily two-fold. “Focussing on skill sets needed in the short-term in the senior squad, and creating greater depth in a number of areas that we will need if we are to compete at the highest level in varying conditions around the world. This will hopefully see a strengthening of skill levels at the Super Series level, which will further improve that competition as that much-needed step between the club and international cricket,” he added.

The former Ireland skipper, who has also represented England on the international stage, also said the indoor training are not yet allowed because of COVID-19 conditions and it will take a little bit longer to train physically as a squad. “Whilst frustrating, there are a number of activities around fitness, nutrition and mental well-being that we can begin to work on with the squad remotely - so we won’t lose any time engaging with the players as best we can,” he said.

“While these players won’t need any additional motivation, I’m sure it will be in the back of their minds that there is a potential U-19 Cricket World Cup in 2021. To be on the plane to Bangladesh would be an amazing experience, and an opportunity to test themselves against some of the best young talents on the planet,” Joyce concluded.