Cricket Ireland has announced a 20-member performance squad keeping the ICC ODI Championship in mind. Ireland qualified for the 2022-25 cycle of the championship when ICC World Cup Qualifier was abandoned midway owing to the travel restrictions that were in place in Zimbabwe because of the new variant of COVID-19. Head coach Ed Joyce talked about the need to develop a deeper pool going into the championship in the four-year cycle.
Ireland and Sri Lanka were confirmed qualification for the next cycle although they failed to make it to the Cricket World Cup 2022. This means that Ireland will get to play at least 27 ODIs in the four-year cycle after the global event in New Zealand as ICC expanded the Championship to ten teams. Ireland also announced a squad of 14 members in a bid to increase the talent pool. Glenn Querl will oversee the development squad (previously the academy squad) and they will be preparing their skill set for a future national call up.
Joyce, who was appointed as the Ireland head coach in September 2019 , said that the players should be credited for their attitude and the commitment despite facing challenges due to the pandemic. The performance squad will feature captain Laura Delany, ace batter Gaby Lewis, allrounder Eimear Richardson and other international regulars along with a few young players.
“It has been an enjoyable couple of years for me coaching the national women’s team. The pandemic has, of course, created challenges around the training and playing programme, but the commitment and ambition of the group has been incredible,” Joyce said.
“The players should take a huge amount of credit for their attitude during this period. I’d also personally like to thank the management team for their support and energy. It’s a fun and committed group to be around, which is doubly important when dealing with ‘bubbles’ and ‘managed environments’ on tour.”
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43-year-old Joyce also said that they are looking to create a larger pool of players that will help Ireland in becoming a more competitive side as they are expected to face superior sides in the ODI Championship.
“One of our main aims going forward is to create a slightly deeper pool of players that will help the national team become more competitive on the field, and also feed into the Super Series competition. We need coaching and support services to achieve this, and Cricket Ireland have backed us with the addition of full-time staff – a Physiotherapist, Strength & Conditioning Coach, Team Operations Manager, Assistant Coach, and Performance Analyst.,” Joyce added.
“We are not finished yet, but gradually we are shaping the pathway to provide for our national needs – and the players are responding. However, the players also know that with increased support and structural improvements comes a greater level of expectation. This, though, I have no doubt they can handle, and am excited to see how far we can take this group as we enter a new phase.”
“Amongst the 2022 squad named, there’s a heavy emphasis on spin bowlers especially, but there are also two wicketkeepers and some exciting all-rounders and pace bowling talent selected. Although some of the talent is quite raw, with a solid and structured training programme, these players will make a lot of progress in 2022.”
Joyce, who played international cricket for both Ireland and England, also added that along with Querl, they will be looking to provide the next set of emerging talent with regular fixtures and training sessions in a highly competitive environment.
"Now that the Super Series teams have their own training sessions before and during the season, this has offered us the opportunity to refine the purpose and profile of the Development Squad. The group will now have a slightly more youthful composition with selection targeting specific skill-sets that we need in Irish women’s cricket for the years ahead. While the Development Squad may still feature players with senior international experience who were unlucky to miss out on Performance squad selection, we believe the overall change will support our talent pathway twofold – by increasing depth in the Super Series competition in the short-term, and for the national side in the medium-to-long term," ," Joyce concluded.
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Ireland performance squad 2022: Laura Delany (c), Eimear Richardson, Gaby Lewis, Celeste Raack, Orla Prendergast, Leah Paul, Mary Waldron, Shauna Kavanagh, Sophie MacMahon , Rebecca Stokell, Louise Little, Hannah Little, Cara Murray, Georgina Dempsey, Rachel Delaney, Jane Maguire, Amy Hunter, Ava Canning, Kate McEvoy, Sarah Forbes
Ireland development squad 2022: Anna Kerrison, Zara Craig, Rebecca Gough, Siúin Woods, Freya Sargent, Ella Pasley, Niamh MacNulty, Kia McCartney, Aimee Maguire, Joanna Loughran, Sophie McDonough, Sam Todd, Abbi Harrison, Mollie Devine