Ireland Women to play double world champions

Fri, Jan 22, 2010 3:05 PM

Ireland Women to play double world champions
Irish women's cricket has been given a tremendous boost with the news that they are to face double world champions England later this summer.

They have been invited to participate in a quadrangular tournament , and in addition to England, will face New Zealand and the MCC.

Ireland Cricket Operations Director Mark Garaway sees this as the first step to improving the fixture list of the Irish team: "It's a great chance for the side to play the top teams, and one which they fully deserve. I've been impressed by the standard and quality of the players, and there's some terrific young talent coming through which bodes well for the future."

"These type of games are just what is required, and with the quality in the squad, the playing programme is warranted. We can only improve by playing top level opposition, and it will give the squad a terrific lift."

Irish captain Heather Whelan is looking forward to the clashes saying: "I'm absolutely delighted that Ireland has been given the chance to play two of the best sides in the world this summer. Playing England and New Zealand outside of a World Cup is a fantastic opportunity for us. It's especially exciting for the new players on the squad who would never have played against opposition of this calibre before."

"It's a great way to start off our international season before heading to Scotland for the European Championships in August and then Dubai for the ranking tournament in October."

Irish coach Paul Delany added: "It's a wonderful opportunity for the squad, and we're relishing the chance to play the world's elite. We are training indoors during the winter and have brought in specialist coaches to help us prepare for the coming season."

"In training we are employing the drills used by the best teams in the world in an attempt to make us world class. Next year we play all the top ten sides bar Australia and India, so our training has to be geared to try to match these teams."

"Those who have helped so far are Trent Johnston, Paul Tweedle - who is a wicket-keeper coach from the UK, David Langford Smith, and Mark Garaway. Others who will be assisting us are Adi Birrell, Matt Dwyer while Paul Tweedle will be with us again in February. These people have been involved with some of the best men's sides in the world so that input is great for us - our task of course is to make it work. We are currently ranked ninth and with a tournament in Dubai in Oct 2010 for teams ranked 5–10, we hope to move up two places in the world rankings."

The fixtures are as follows:

July 4: Ireland v New Zealand (ODI)

July 5: Ireland v MCC (50 over One Day game)

July 7: Ireland v England (ODI)

The venue for the tournament in England is still to be confirmed

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