Ireland are set for their first tour to Pakistan, comprising three ODIs, part of the ICC Women’s Championship, followed by as many T20Is. The ODIs will be played on November 4, 6 and 9 and the T20Is on November 12, 14 and 16 with all games to be played at the Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore.
This is the first time Ireland’s senior team – men or women – is touring Pakistan. The squad will arrive in Lahore on October 29 and will have four days of practice in the lead-up to the ODI series.
“We had a great experience of hosting Sri Lanka earlier this year in Karachi and are now excited to host Ireland here at the Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore,” Tania Mallick, the head of Pakistan’s women cricket wing, said in a statement. “This is just a beginning of a new era in women’s cricket, after hosting Ireland we are looking forward to organising a women’s league soon. We want fans to come to the ground and support women’s cricket for what promises to be an exciting six days of cricket in Lahore.”
Pakistan are currently participating in the Women’s T20 Asia Cup in Sylhet and have set up a semi-final date with Sri Lanka. In the league stage, they won five of their six matches, which included a win over India after a shock loss to Thailand.
“We are all up for an exciting series against Ireland,” Bismah Maroof, the Pakistan captain, said. “The series will help us in attracting new fans to the women’s game. The series will provide an opportunity for young cricketers to upskill themselves as per the demands of international cricket. We are eager to perform in front of our home crowd and win crucial ICC Women’s Championship points as qualifying directly for the next ODI World Cup is one of our main targets.”
This will be the second series for both Pakistan and Ireland in the current cycle of the Women’s Championship. Pakistan won their first series against Sri Lanka 2-1, while Ireland went down 3-0 to South Africa at home.
Ireland have included seamer Louise Little and legspinner Celeste Raack in both ODI and T20I squads. Eimear Richardson and Rebecca Stokell were the other two additions to the 50-over side that played against Netherlands.
Georgina Dempsey, meanwhile, couldn’t find a place in either squad, while Rachel Delaney was part of only the ODI side and Sophie MacMahon only the T20I one.
“It’s great to see selectors have assembled a talented squad,” Ireland captain Laura Delany said, “and, as we demonstrated in July when we played each other, the two sides are quite evenly balanced, so it is set for an exciting series. Home advantage may be a factor in theory; however, I believe our squad will acclimatise quickly and will be up for the challenge.”
Warren Deutrom, the CEO of Cricket Ireland, said: “We have been working closely with the Pakistan Cricket Board, security consultants and local diplomatic services to ensure the upcoming tour is comprehensively planned out as to the health, safety and security of players and coaches, as well as providing advice to travelling families and fans.
“We have also liaised with the cricket boards of countries that have recently toured and are satisfied that the welfare of our squad will be a top priority for the hosts. But, most of all, this is about cricket and a wonderful opportunity for our senior squad to play in such a passionate cricket-loving country as Pakistan.”
Ireland ODI squad: Laura Delany (capt), Rachel Delaney, Amy Hunter, Shauna Kavanagh, Arlene Kelly, Gaby Lewis, Louise Little, Jane Maguire, Cara Murray, Leah Paul, Orla Prendergast, Celeste Raack, Eimear Richardson, Rebecca Stokell, Mary Waldron
Ireland T20I squad: Laura Delany (capt), Amy Hunter, Shauna Kavanagh, Arlene Kelly, Gaby Lewis, Louise Little, Sophie MacMahon, Jane Maguire, Cara Murray, Leah Paul, Orla Prendergast, Celeste Raack, Eimear Richardson, Rebecca Stokell, Mary Waldron