Garth ready for new test in South Africa
When the ICC Women's Cricket Challenge begins on Wednesday in South Africa, there will be few players more excited than 14-year old Irish all-rounder Kim Garth.
The young Irish star has burst onto the scene in the past few months and is an excellent product of the Pepsi ICC Development Programme. Born in Dublin in 1996, she is one of the youngest females to every play for the Ireland women's team. Starting her trade at Pembroke CC in Ballsbridge just on the outskirts of Dublin; she has quickly been fast-tracked through the Irish ranks.
One of her first stand-out performances was at the ICC European Under 17 tournament in Deventer in the summer of 2009, where her top score of 93 not out was a highlight of an event in which she averaged 46 with the bat.
Throughout the summer of 2010 Garth had made some excellent progress scoring runs for fun against the English counties and becoming an integral part of the Irish set-up after some fantastic displays. At the end of July she starred in an Irish A victory against Yorkshire scoring a magnificent 82 as they defeated Yorkshire by two wickets.
Her ODI debut for Ireland women's came in the summer at Kibworth, Leicestershire, where Ireland women were facing New Zealand; Garth scored a modest seven runs, but showed great promise. Ireland also played England in the second ODI match- where the Ireland team produced a great fight against the current Women's World Champions being defeated by 147 runs.
Paul Delany, ex-Ireland women's national Coach spoke back in July, how delighted he was with the team and particularly Kim's debut.
"Playing against England and New Zealand you can really compare yourself against the best two teams and see how much work needs to be done to get to their standard. I was really pleased with the debuts and especially Kim, at 14-years-old and to debut against these two teams she showed exceptional courage and talent," said Delany.
"She wasn't afraid to play and I was really pleased with her all round displays, her batting showed some great promise and her fielding and athleticism was one of the best in the team; with this one of our key areas to improve shows how well she did."
The Dublin teenager was selected to play in her first European Women's Championships WCQ in Stirling in mid August. This was great experience for her and she played her part to secure qualification for next year's ICC Women's World Cup Qualifier in Bangladesh and the ICC Women's Cricket Challenge. With such promising results for the Irish girls there is much excitement around the team and their prospects for next year's qualifier- therefore this challenge could not come at a better time.
ICC Regional Performance Officer for Europe, Philip Hudson who works very closely with women's cricket in Europe is extremely pleased for Kim.
"The Pepsi ICC Development Programme has benefitted Kim no doubt, with the extra funding and opportunities that have been made available, it has produced a real promising star. Playing for your country at 14-years-old, in a European Championship and potentially a global World Cup qualifier next year is a remarkable achievement. The trip to South Africa will be really good for her and the whole team to compare themselves to the other nations," said Hudson.
"Her technical strengths as a batter and fielder are way above her years- it is now a matter of keep improving and developing as a player."
Kim will look for her fantastic season to continue as she aims to keep improving her skills to keep become a regular in the side.
Garth says: "It has been a great year and I am going to continue to work hard and improve my game; I am really looking forward to the challenge in South Africa as this will be great experience for me and something that will benefit my game long term as I move forward