Dublin, Dec 2 (IANS) Cricket Ireland on Friday named Amy Hunter as the captain of the 15-member squad for participating in the first-ever ICC Under-19s Women's T20 World Cup, to be held from January 14-29 in South Africa.
In 2021, Amy became the youngest player to score an international ODI century when she struck 121 not out for Ireland women against Zimbabwe in Harare and was also in the squad touring Pakistan for the white-ball series.
'Firstly, I would like to extend a massive congratulations to all the players selected for the Irish squad at the first-ever Women's U19 T20 World Cup. It is a great opportunity for all involved and a chance to create lifelong memories. I still fondly remember my experience at an Under-19s World Cup many years ago. I am very proud to be leading this team of very dedicated, talented and hardworking players.'
'Tournaments like these give the players a real taste of what it could be like to be a professional cricket player. Equally, it'll provide an insight into the intensity, game-pressure and exhilaration of what the players could expect to meet in the main ICC Women's T20 World Cup down the line,' said Glenn Querl, head coach of Ireland Under-19s Women's team.
Ireland are in Group C of the competition alongside Indonesia (on January 19), New Zealand (on January 17), and the West Indies (on January 15). The 16 teams in the tournament will be divided into four groups of four, and play each side in their group once.
The top three in each group will progress to the Super Six stage, where qualifying teams from Group A will play against two of the qualifying teams from Group D.
Likewise, qualifying teams from Group B will play against two of the qualifying teams from Group C. The top two sides from each of the Super Six Leagues will progress to the semifinals, and from there the teams playing the final will be decided.
'The squad travelled to Spain at the end of October for practice games and spent some quality time fine-tuning their skills. The group is made up of some very exciting all-rounders who offer quality with both bat and ball. There are also very promising spin and seam options.'
'We also have the experience of Amy Hunter and Georgina Dempsey who both have full international caps to balance the inexperience of the younger players. Ten out of the 15-player squad will be available for the following World Cup cycle which is very exciting place to be as a squad,' added Querl.
The squad will depart on January 1 for a preparation camp at the University of Pretoria (during this week they will play unofficial warm-up fixtures against Zimbabwe and the UAE). It will be followed by official warm-up games against Pakistan and Namibia on January 9 and 11.
'It is an exciting time in any athlete's life to represent your country on the world stage. The introduction of the Women's U19 World Cup is a further step in the right direction in creating opportunities for female athletes.'
'Our own programme has continued to evolve in the last number of years with regard to female participation and domestic competitions. The introduction of contracts and the senior performance squad's upward curve under the guidance of Ed Joyce will only act as an inspiration to these young players.'
'The players will hopefully have an incredible experience as they compete against their peers from around the world. I wish them well and know this talented group will do us proud,' Albert van der Merwe, Ireland's National Talent Pathway Manager.
Benoni and Potchefstroom in South Africa will be playing hosts to the inaugural edition of the U19 Women's T20 World Cup. The two venues were also the host cities for the 2020 U19 Men's Cricket World Cup.
Ireland squad: Amy Hunter (captain), Siúin Wood (VC), Zara Craig, Georgina Dempsey, Rebecca Gough, Abbi Harrison, Jennifer Jackson, Joanna Loughran, Niamh MacNulty, Aimee Maguire, Kia McCartney, Ellie McGee, Julie McNally, Freya Sargent, and Annabel Squires.
Non-travelling reserves: Aoife Fisher, Alice Walsh