Regular skipper Laura Delany is still injured as hosts prepare for up to four international debuts.
Gaby Lewis will captain Ireland Women for next month’s six-match, multi-format series against South Africa Women in Dublin.
As a result of injuries and player unavailability – primarily due to school or college exams – head coach Ed Joyce is without eight of his 20 senior performance squad members for the series.
Lewis will lead the side in the absence of regular captain Laura Delany, who is recovering from injury. Still only 21, Lewis already has 88 caps and is Ireland Women’s fifth-highest run-scorer across all formats. She also becomes the first child of a former Irish cricket captain to lead her country, following in the footsteps of her father, Alan Lewis, who led the Ireland men’s team 35 times.
LLewis became the first women cricketer from Ireland to score a century in any format last August when she smashed an unbeaten 105 off 60 balls against Germany in the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup Europe Zone Qualifier and was subsequently awarded the ICC Women’s T20I 2021 named in the team for,
“It’s an absolute honor to captain Ireland for the first time,
” Lewis said. “The opportunity to take on one of the world’s leading sides is one I am relishing, and I know the squad is looking forward to the challenge.
“One of the benefits of a competitive domestic Super Series is that – even with up to nine players missing – we are still able to bring in a talented group of players as cover, showing that we are growing our player pool and developing our emerging talent in the right way.”
- 1st T20I: June 3
- Second T20I: June 6
- Third T20I: June 8
- First ODI: June 11
- Second ODI: June 14
- Third ODI: June 17
Selectors have chosen four possible debutants in the 14-player squad, including New Zealand-born Arlene Kelly, as well as Alana Dalzell, Sarah Forbes, and Kate McEvoy. Jane Maguire is in line to make her T20I debut, if selected, having played four ODIs.
The 28-year-old Kelly, who plays for Auckland Hearts in New Zealand, is an Irish passport-holder and recently relocated to Ireland to pursue cricket opportunities.
She has featured for the Dragons in the early stages of the Arachas Super Series, claiming Player of the Match honors on debut after scoring 60 and taking 3 for 35 against the Typhoons at Lisburn. New Zealand-based Eimear Richardson was unavailable for the series.
Carrie Archer, Chair of National Women’s Selectors, said:
“We are excited about the inclusion of these potential debutants, but at the same time acknowledge that there’s a lot of years of experience missing. We will be facing one of the world’s top-ranked teams, and this is our first outing in the ICC Championship.
“Despite the challenges, the squad will still feature a number of senior players who have a wealth of experience – Gaby Lewis, Shauna Kavanagh, and Mary Waldron have 335 caps between them. We wish Gaby and her team the best for the challenge ahead.”
South Africa’s tour of Ireland will begin with three T20Is, starting on June 3 ahead of three ODIs from June 11-17.
Ireland squad: Gaby Lewis (capt), Alana Dalzell, Rachel Delaney, Georgina Dempsey, Sarah Forbes, Shauna Kavanagh, Arlene Kelly, Sophie MacMahon, Jane Maguire, Kate McEvoy, Cara Murray, Leah Paul, Celeste Raack, Mary Waldron.