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Cricket news - Joyce to use own experience to guide Ireland Women through transition

"It's been a challenging week coming into the role without much time before the Zimbabwe series"

Newly-appointed Ireland Women's team coach Ed Joyce talked on the sidelines of a training session at the Cricket Ireland High Performance Centre on Wednesday (26th June) and mentioned about the path ahead that Ireland have to undertake and the professional challenges.

"It's been a challenging week coming into the role without much time before the Zimbabwe series, but I've had some good contact time with a number of the players prior to taking on this interim role through 1-to-1 sessions with the contracted players. We have a number of sessions planned this coming week, and I'll hold some 1-to-1s to really see what some of the squad want to specifically work on."

Ireland women toured Zimbabwe for three one-dayers and five T20 games in early 2018. But unfortunately only three games were possible as others were washed out without a ball being bowled. Ireland tied the one day series 1-1 and Zimbabwe won the T20 series 1-0. The coach said the team will have the experience of that series to fall back upon.

"We'll also spend some time making plans around the Zimbabwe bowlers we expect to face. We played them last year so have an insight into what their bowlers are likely to bring. And the same goes for their batters. I'm definitely someone who likes to prepare ahead of a series and prepare for the opposition we'll face, so that will be my focus over the coming week."

Last year after the T20 WC, four Irish players had retired - Claire Shillington, Ciara Metcalfe, Isobel Joyce and Cecelia Joyce. That had left a huge void in the team and former Ireland batter was quick to acknowledge that.

"In terms of success, I think the proof will be in the pudding with how we do over the next two to three months. With the four senior players retiring last year and the absence of Kim Garth through injury it will be challenging, but we have some quality players and some experienced players to help steer us through these qualifiers ahead. As a player, I've been through this scenario before, so I feel I can bring some of that experience to the table as well."

He also added that his experience as a player would be valuable for his team and he is motivated enough for his new role.

"I do feel I have a huge amount of experience in the game and I am extremely motivated to do well. We have a very exciting young team with a huge number of talented players - not just in the senior performance squad, but also in the Academy. I was there out at Oak Hill last Sunday at the Super 3s and the talent was there for all to see."

And senior player Kim Garth is also out due to a hip injury. Kim did well as a batter against West Indies and has scores of 46, 51* and 45 in the three T20Is. Her absence will be another major deterrent for the Irish unit. But the coach is hopeful that she will be fit for the T20 WC qualifiers in august.

"I thought Kim [Garth] filled in really well in Laura's recent absence - not only captaining the side but playing well herself. That's a great sign for her, but she'll be missed greatly and hopefully she can make it back in time for the Qualifier in August."

Joyce also had an area on which intends to work upon. He wants his team to look up to teams like England and West Indies. The coach feels power-hitting and athleticism of higher levels is the best way forward for his team.

"One area perhaps is to bring more power into our game. Watching some of the top teams, like England Women playing West Indies this week, the athleticism in the field is very evident, and when they hit the ball they really hit it really hard, and they're hitting a lot of boundaries. We've got some players who can do that really well and others who have a way to go, so that would be my focus in the medium term if I did get the opportunity to continue in the job after the qualifier."

The former left-hander also had words of praise for current skipper Laura Delany. Laura has had battles against injury and the recent one to her ankle had ruled her out of the last T20Is against West Indies in may.

"Laura is a quality player - she's the skipper and very much the leader of the group. I've done a fair amount of work with her over the last couple of weeks, including some 1-to-1s. She hits the ball very hard and knows her own game well and her bowling is extremely handy when she's fully fit. Her leadership skills are also really developing so she's great to have back. Hopefully she can have a great series against Zimbabwe and get her confidence up and get the confidence in her own body up - she's had some issues with injuries so it would be great for her to get through these games unscathed."

Ireland women are slated to play 6 T20s before the World Cup qualifiers and Joyce feels if weather permits all the games to take place, it should be a good build up for the Irish team. The immediate assignment for the team is of course three one-dayers against Zimbabwe followed by three T20 games starting on 3rd July.

He signed off saying, "What we all want is a confident and happy group going over to the Qualifier tournament. It's really important to get to that point and winning games of cricket is the best way to achieve that. It's very important for me as the new coach to see the squad play as many games as possible, so hopefully the weather plays its part at Oak Hill and in the North so we get through six games and see lots of cricket."

Squads for Zimbabwe series

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

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

Upcoming international fixtures

50-over series:

3 July: Ireland Women v Zimbabwe Women (Oak Hill, start 11.30am) 5 July: Ireland Women v Zimbabwe Women (Oak Hill, start 11.30am) 7 July: Ireland Women v Zimbabwe Women (Oak Hill, start 11.30am)

T20 International series:

10 July: Ireland Women v Zimbabwe Women (Stormont, start 4pm) 12 July: Ireland Women v Zimbabwe Women (Bready, start 11am) 14 July: Ireland Women v Zimbabwe Women (Bready, start 11am)

Quadrangular tournament in Deventer, Netherlands

8 August: 11.00am Netherlands v Ireland; 3.30pm Scotland v Thailand 9 August: 11.00am Netherlands v Scotland; 3.30pm Ireland v Thailand 10 August: 11.00am Thailand v Netherlands; 3.30pm Scotland v Ireland 12 August: 11.00am Thailand v Scotland; 3.30pm Ireland v Netherlands 13 August: 11.00am Thailand v Ireland; 3.30pm Scotland v Netherlands 14 August: 10.00am Ireland v Scotland; 2.00pm Netherlands v Thailand

ICC Women's T20 WC Global Qualifier in Scotland

31 August - 7 September

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