After two heavy defeats for the Irish Women’s Cricket Team in their opening games at the Women’s World T20, critics have questioned the presence of these smaller nations at the World Cup.
If anything however, this tournament proves that Ireland desperately need more exposure and experience against high-level opposition to propel their status as cricket’s next major powerhouse. The only way Ireland can improve their decision-making and consistency is to play against tougher opposition.
In isolation, the hefty defeats to both Australia and Pakistan springs doubts over Ireland’s cricket-playing ability. Tournament favourites Australia chased down Ireland’s sub-par total with ease whilst Pakistan were clear winners by 38-runs.
In truth, the reality is that Ireland were more than competitive in many facets of their game. The talent and ability is unquestionable – the issue arises from a lack of match-practice and stark disparities in funding, resources and pay structures.
Currently the Irish squad are made up with amateurs whom have to balance work commitments with the demands of international cricket. This is whilst the elite cricketing heavyweights are implementing professional contracts for many of their players.
— Women’s CricZone (@WomensCricZone) November 14, 2018
The possibility for Ireland to become one of crickets top nations is not a distant dream. With camogie and hockey already being played all over the country – Ireland have a distinct advantage over other nations with these transferrable skills. That said, the current Irish squad possess undeniable talent throughout the squad. There are certainly a number of young cricketers whom have the capability to make it big on the world stage.
All-rounder Kim Garth has proven that she is at home on the world stage. Her performance against Australia was impressive to say the least, especially in such difficult circumstances. Garth is an extremely gifted all-rounder who has endured major success in the Women’s Big Bash. This year she was part of the Sydney Sixers side which won the tournament for the second year on the bounce.
The all-rounder has has an imposing style of play which has previously earned her a place on the ICC World Team of the Year, back in 2016. The recognition further demonstrates the importance of Irish players being exposed to high-quality cricket.
At this World Cup, inconsistency and inexperience have been the detriment of Ireland. Once again this can be put down to a lack of game-time. Prior to recent warm-up games, the last T20 international played was against New Zealand in June – almost two years after their previous one.
In patches, Ireland have produced some world-class moments. Lucy O’Reilly demonstrated her natural bowling gift with her fantastic rhythm, wrist position and out-swing. She produced Ireland’s second ever maiden over in an international T20 against Pakistan – a phenomenal spell. The pace bowler definitely has a huge future in the game and with the correct investment in her natural ability, Ireland could have a superstar on their hands.
The same could be said for another outstanding athlete in Gabby Lewis. Lewis is an incredibly impressive cricketer with so much to her game. Ireland’s youngest ever debutant at 13 years-old, has continuously improved and has bags of potential. The youngster has little weaknesses to her game and her fielding is unrivalled. With more exposure and experience at the top level, Lewis can rival the worlds very best.
She may be only 17 years old, but she’s already made over 50 appearances for her country and is one of their most talented batters.
— ICC (@ICC) November 13, 2018
As Ireland prepare to take on India and New Zealand in their final group stage matches, the squad will be determined to engrave their names into Irish cricketing history. The Irish women’s team are driven to breaking the glass ceiling and defy their amateur status.
The results haven’t quite been what they would have hoped for but there has been numerous shining lights in stages. With plenty of batsman making starts in the previous matches, Ireland will be hoping to make better decisions and take more of an advantage from this. The squad is made up of exciting batswomen and skilled bowlers whom, if on song can take the game away from any opposition.
They may not be professionals at the present, but the natural talent and ability the squad possess might just take them home against in their final two games. One thing is for sure, if Ireland are able to consistently produce their magic moments they are capable of, it won’t be an easy game for any team.
|THURSDAY 15 NOVEMBER 2018|
• India Women v Ireland Women
• Match starts 3pm (Irish Time)
• Sky Sports Cricket (14:30) or Sky Sports Mix (14:30) or Sky Sports Main Event (15:00)
|SATURDAY 17 NOVEMBER 2018|
• New Zealand Women v Ireland Women
• Match starts 8pm (Irish Time)
• Sky Sports Mix (19:30) or Sky Sports Cricket (19:30)