“We have to believe we are capable of qualifying for the World T20,” says Laura Delany, the captain of Ireland team. After losing two major home series against New Zealand and Bangladesh, Ireland is all set to play in the ICC Women’s World T20 Qualifiers. They will start their campaign on 7th July against Thailand.
Laura Delany is one of the most experienced players of the Ireland team and is in a great form. She was the second-highest run-getter in the recently concluded home series against Bangladesh and also took 3 wickets too in the series.
Ahead of the Qualifiers, Women’s CricZone had an exclusive chat with her, Here is all she had to say:
“We have just finished up two major home series’ against the White Ferns and the Bangladesh team. The momentum gained from these back-to-back series will hopefully carry through to our performances in the Qualifier tournament.” The confident captain told about her team and how these back to back series helped them to prepare well for the Qualifiers.
Apart from the thrilling win in the last match against Bangladesh, they couldn’t perform well in the other matches. But they have prepared well for the Qualifiers. In skipper’s words, “we have had quite an intense preparation period over the last six weeks between training and playing back-to-back series against New Zealand and Bangladesh. We don’t anticipate the conditions will be too different from what we have experienced at home in the last month. Of course, all the training and planning can’t compensate for the time in the middle, and we have had a run of seven international white-ball matches across the last four weeks against quality opposition.”
She further added, “much was written about the White Ferns series but the character of this team to come back from that experience and finish so strongly against the Asia Cup champions Bangladesh is highly encouraging. After the warm-up game against Papua New Guinea, it is time to execute our game plans on Saturday against Thailand.”
Delany expected the tournament will be a tough one. She said, “there are no easy games at this level, and everyone is here to win. We have done our research on the opposition, but our main objective is to get our own game in order first. If we do this, we stand a good chance of progression.”
While talking about the squad composition, she informed, “The selectors have picked an exciting squad for this tournament. We have experienced hands like Isobel Joyce, Cecelia Joyce, Clare Shillington and Ciara Metcalfe who have been there and performed successfully on the international stage over many years.”
She further said, “We’re excited to see Kim Garth getting back to full fitness – Kim’s performances in the Women’s Big Bash League are well-known and her bowling has been sorely missed for our side this season. Gaby Lewis is in red-hot form with the bat – two T20I half-centuries registered in the last month against quality opposition (New Zealand and Bangladesh respectively) have given her the self-belief that, despite being just 17-years old, she can really show her talent off at this tournament. Lucy O’Reilly is another vital addition that returns to the national squad from absence and will undoubtedly play a key role as part of our bowling unit.”
Delany has full faith in her team’s capability. While talking about the expectations, she replied, “if we play the way we know we can and with the confidence, we have gained in recent weeks, we have to believe we are capable of qualifying for the World T20 in the Caribbean in November. None of the three sides we are coming up against in the early stage of the qualifiers will be easy games. However, we hope the momentum we have gained from the recent Bangladesh series will flow through to the next 10 days of the qualifiers. When we walk out on the field on Saturday, I think we will be as ready as we possibly could be.”
She thinks, White Ferns and Bangladesh both were two different series and they have gained a lot of experiences. “The White Ferns series was chastening, but we had a very young squad and were missing some key players. Overall we were pleased that we finished strongly and demonstrated that our young squad had learned from the experience and gained confidence as our season has progressed.”
Being the captain, she wants her players to enjoy the game as well as to give them the freedom to express themselves. “The key challenges for us will be to keep the momentum going and give our players the freedom to express themselves on the pitch. As a unit, we exhibited this at times over the last few weeks and I’m looking forward to seeing the girls translate that out onto the pitch this week. We have a team that has a blend of youth and experience. The experienced players just want to show the world what they can do, while the younger players are itching to get a taste of international tournament experience.”