Ireland, Scotland women set for international return in Spain after 14-month absence

Ireland and Scotland women will return to international cricket in November after a 14-month break, with a five-match series in Spain comprising two 50-over matches and three T20Is.

Neither side has played a full international fixture since the T20 World Cup qualifier in September 2019, with both teams missing out the main event earlier this year.

The fixtures will be held at La Manga, a resort in Murcia that has become a regular host for county clubs on pre-season tours as well as European Cricket League games. It is believed that they will be the first international fixtures to be staged in Europe in November.

Players on both sides have been involved in some cricket this summer: Ireland held an eight-match Super 50 Series, and while Scotland’s regional series was cut short by the imposition of tighter Covid-19 restrictions, their ‘A’ team also played six fixtures against English sides.

Ireland go into the series missing four players in Lara Maritz, Una Raymond-Hoey, Eimear Richardson – all awarded retainer deals this week – and the centrally contracted Mary Waldron, all of whom are in Australia.

In their absence, there are maiden call-ups for Zara Craig, Georgina Dempsey, Amy Hunter and Jane Maguire.

“We’re delighted to finally see some international action return,” said Ed Joyce, Ireland’s head coach. “Our last matches were at the T20 World Cup Qualifier in Scotland last year, so this series is very welcome for all involved.

“The absence of a few of our senior players, while unfortunate, has opened up an opportunity for several young players to come in and get a taste of international touring life. I have no doubt they’ll benefit immensely from the experience, which may be crucial as we move into what will likely be a big 12 months for Irish women’s cricket.”

Steven Knox, Scotland’s head coach, said: “The squad are both delighted and excited that they will be playing an international series in Spain against Ireland this November.

“It will give the players a great opportunity to show that all the hard work they’ve done in training over the past ten months, and in the A team games that were played in August and September, will hopefully pay off against a team that are ranked above us in T20I cricket.”

Scotland’s key players will be the Bryce sisters, Sarah and Kathryn, both of whom will go into the series on the back of impressive seasons in the Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy, where they finished as Lightning’s leading run-scorer and wicket-taker respectively.

Meanwhile, both nations’ men’s teams could return to action in December in the UAE. The Belfast Telegraph reported last week that a four-nation T20 tournament involving the hosts, Ireland and Scotland and one other side is due to be held before the end of the year. It is understood that discussions are still ongoing, but it is hoped the series will be ratified soon.

Ireland squad: Laura Delany (capt), Zara Craig, Rachel Delaney, Georgina Dempsey, Amy Hunter, Shauna Kavanagh, Gaby Lewis, Louise Little, Sophie MacMahon, Jane Maguire, Cara Murray, Leah Paul, Orla Prendergast, Celeste Raack, Rebecca Stokell

Scotland squad: Kathryn Bryce (capt), Abbi Aitken-Drummond, Sarah Bryce, Priyanaz Chatterji, Ikra Farooq, Katherine Fraser, Becky Glen, Samantha Haggo, Ailsa Lister, Abtaha Maqsood, Megan McColl, Katherine Mills, Charis Scott, Ellen Watson

Source: ESPN Crickinfo

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