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Cricket news - Delany returns to Ireland squad for Zimbabwe series

Delany back to lead Ireland

Laura Delany, the Ireland Women's team captain who missed the last two matches of the West Indies series due to a fracture to her ankle, is set to return to lead Ireland for the three 50-over matches and three T20Is against Zimbabwe in July. On the recovery path after sustaining the injury during the first T20I against West Indies in May, Delany is confident of being available for the first 50-over game on July 3, which will mark Zimbabwe's maiden visit to Ireland for a series.

"I'm really happy with my recovery and rehabilitation process. Having fractured my ankle in the first game against the West Indies in May, everything is on track for a speedy recovery and I'm confident that I will be back in time for the first match against Zimbabwe on 3 July," Delany said on the sidelines of a training session at the Cricket Ireland High Performance Centre.

"Matches between Ireland and Zimbabwe are typically competitive, and while Zimbabwe are ranked slightly lower than ourselves, they are a professional outfit and have grown as a team over the last couple of years. I expect the series will be a good test to see where we are at as a squad," she added.

Despite Ireland being handed a 3-0 drubbing by West Indies in the T20I series, Delany observed some positives. "To see senior players like Kim Garth and Mary Waldron - who have both worked very hard on their batting over the last 12 months - stand up and perform the way they did was very pleasing. Both registered their first T20 half-centuries against a tough attack. With the ball, Celeste Raack was brilliant throughout all three games, along with Sophie MacMahon who showed the fans what we all know she is capable of.

"The West Indies series was always going to be a tough ask, as it was our first series as a new squad. We have been working hard since that series and are really looking forward to the contest between ourselves and Zimbabwe. We still have plenty of international fixtures, along with Super 3s games, before the qualifiers at the end of the season, so we are building up nicely towards our end goal of world cup qualification."

The series against Zimbabwe will also be interim head coach Ed Joyce's first assignment, with the former Ireland cricketer taking up the responsibility till the ICC Women's T20 WC Qualifier in August-September. The 50-over matches will be played on July 3, 5 and 7 at Oak Hill while the T20I series - on July 10 in Stormont, and 12 and 14 in Bready - will be double-headers with the men's sides facing off on the same dates at the same venue.

Ireland 50-over squad: Laura Delany (C), Kim Garth, Shauna Kavanagh, Anna Kerrison, Gaby Lewis, Louise Little, Sophie MacMahon, Lara Maritz, Leah Paul, Orla Prendergast, Celeste Raack, Una Raymond-Hoey, Mary Waldron.

Ireland T20I squad: Laura Delany (C), Kim Garth, Shauna Kavanagh, Anna Kerrison, Gaby Lewis, Louise Little, Sophie MacMahon, Lara Maritz, Naomi Matthews, Celeste Raack, Una Raymond-Hoey, Rebecca Stokell, Mary Waldron.

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