Johnston and Bray hope to help guide Ireland's women's team to ICC Women's World Cup 2013
Ireland's women's side travel to Dhaka, Bangladesh, this week for the ICC Women's World Cup Qualifiers (WWCQ) 2011 and should Isobel Joyce's side finish the event in the top four it will then participate in the ICC Women's World Cup 2013.
The side is fortunate to have two of Ireland's most well-known male cricketers as its coaches for the event ? head coach Jeremy Bray who played for Ireland in 15 ODIs and two Twenty20 Internationals while his assistant coach for the event is current Ireland international and former captain Trent Johnston.
The ICC Women's World Cup Qualifier 2011 will take place from 14 to 26 November 10 and Ireland will take on the West Indies in its opener on the first day of the tournament.
Bray became involved with the side after former coach Stephen Moreton was unable to continue the role and the 37-year-old jumped at the chance to improve his coaching skills further.
"I agreed to take on the role as I believed it would help my coaching skills greatly and broaden my horizons as a coach. It's also a great opportunity to take the side to a World Cup qualifier and hopefully we'll do very well in Bangladesh," said Bray.
Johnston, who has represented Ireland in 57 ODIs taking 59 wickets to date, has teamed up with his friend of 25 years, Bray, who had asked him to work with him on the women's side.
"Jeremy asked me to work and talk with the women's side in the lead up to the ICC Women's World Cup Qualifiers and I jumped at the chance. I actually wasn't supposed to be travelling to Bangladesh. But Jeremy's assistant Nigel Pyne was unable to travel so I've stepped up to the plate.
"I have worked with the girls before on numerous occasions and have thoroughly enjoyed every session. While I hope to play for a bit longer, maybe one more ICC World Twenty20, looking to the future I hope to get more involved in the coaching arena," said Johnston.
Both men rate the Ireland's team as having a good chance of qualifying for ICC Women's World Cup in 2013 as long as they continue to show their hunger for victory, with Bray commenting: "We have a very talented side but I think the girls need to show the belief and hunger that the likes of England and Australia women's teams show.
"A few of the stand outs are the Joyce sisters (Isobel and Ceceila), Jill Whelan, Claire Shillington, Kim Garth and Elena Tice, our thirteen year old leg spinner with amazing talent."
Johnston was full of praise for the work ethic of the women's side, "Their work ethic as individuals is amazing. They train three days a week as a squad, they have one-on-ones as well and also are up at 6am for fitness two mornings a week. I'd like to think my work ethic has been good throughout my career but working with the ladies over the past four weeks has inspired me further."
Bray hasn't travelled to Bangladesh but he hopes having the likes of experienced Johnston on board will help the side. "I haven't been to Dhaka before but I hope having someone like Trent, a former captain and current player on board, will help prepare the girls. Mainly I expect the wickets to be low and skiddy, the new ball will be crucial for the batters to go after as there won't be much movement in the air for the bowlers and I expect it to be hot which will all be challenges the side must overcome," commented Bray.
Both men have played in ICC Cricket World Cups, Bray in 2007 in the West Indies while Johnston has played in both 2007 and the most recent World Cup this year in the Asia sub-continent.
"I've been lucky enough to play in two 50-over World Cups as well as two ICC World Twenty20s (2009 and 2010). I will never forget the thrill of leading our side against Zimbabwe in Jamaica in 2007. To play against the best is why you do all that training. Those early mornings, late nights and personal sacrifices all suddenly seem worthwhile. I haven't spoke to the girls about this yet, but I'm sure Jeremy and I will mention it at some stage," reflected Johnston.
Isobel Joyce (captain), Laura Cullen, Laura Delany, Kimberley Garth, Cecelia Joyce, Shauna Kavanagh, Amy Kenealy, Louise McCarthy, Eimear Richardson, Melissa Scott Hayward, Clare Shillington, Elena Tice, Mary Waldron, Jill Whelan.
The ICC WWCQ 2011 will be played at four venues in Dhaka, namely Sher-e-Bangla National Cricket Stadium, Khanshaheb Osman Ali Stadium, BKSP 2* and BKSP 3.
The teams have been split into two groups and the full schedule can be on the ICC website here.
The two groups are as follows:
South Africa, Sri Lanka, Netherlands, Zimbabwe, USA.
West Indies, Pakistan, Ireland, Japan, Bangladesh.
All games start at 0900 local time.
*BKSP is the Bangladesh Krira Shikkha Protishtan (Bangladesh Institute of Sports).
If you are interested in receiving information on the ICC Women's World Cup Qualifier 2011 or wish to attend the event as an accredited member of the media, please contact Lucy Benjamin at email@example.com
For more information on ICC WWCQ 2011 please visit www.icc-cricket.com.