Photo Credit: Oisin Keniry
Ireland Women head to the Netherlands this weekend for a three-match One-Day International series against Netherlands Women from 22-26 of August – and star all-rounder Orla Prendergast believes her managed rehabilitation from a recent injury is on track for her full return to bowling in time for the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup Qualifier next month.
Prendergast, 20, made her international debut in 2019 and has played 26 times for Ireland. She has been nursing an injury for most of the summer, which saw her miss the series against South Africa in June and reduced at batting only during the international Tri-Series in July – but Prendergast has been included in the squad as Ed Joyce’s team build towards both the upcoming T20 World Cup and the tour to Pakistan in November.
Prendergast was speaking from home ahead of departing for the Netherlands tour:
“We’re all hugely excited to get over to the Netherlands this weekend for three big 50-over matches. We haven’t played a huge amount of 50-over international cricket of late since the ODI series against South Africa back in June, but hopefully the games in the Arachas Super Series will have prepared us and kept us in good stead to come away from the upcoming series with three good wins and three good performances.”
While she played in the recent T20I Tri-Series against Australia and Pakistan at Bready, Prendergast didn’t bowl as she is recovering from a stress response in her left foot that she picked up at the start of the season:
“It was quite poor timing, as it was just at the beginning of the season, with the majority of the Super Series games and international fixtures on the horizon. However, I’m nearly through the course of it now so I’m really looking forward to being back able to contribute to the team fully. It’s definitely been really frustrating not being able to bowl, as that’s one of the main ways I’d looked to contribute to the team and help us win matches. So it’s been quite different. There’s been a few times where I forgot that I wasn’t allowed to bowl and I wasn’t back fully fit for bowling, but I’d be thinking about where my plans would be, where I wanted to bowl to the batters. I’m really excited to be back bowling and able to contribute to the team in that way.
“I’m really hoping to be back fully fit for the qualifiers next month. Around the mid-point of the injury, I sat down with the management team, and we set the qualifiers as the end goal of when I would be looking to be back bowling fully, and I’m definitely on track for that. I’m back building up my loads and bowling off a full run, so yes, back hopefully ready for that next month. It’s obviously a huge tournament for us so I’m really excited for that.
“Not being able to bowl has definitely put a lot more pressure on my batting. Obviously when I can bat and bowl, if one skill doesn’t come off, I can fall back on the other and hope that that one does, so it’s been quite different really. I think it’s definitely made me think a lot more about my batting and my game, and how I want to bat. If I was looking for a positive aspect of the injury, it’d definitely be the impact it’s had on my bating as I think it’s definitely helped my game along a lot.”
Looking ahead to both the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup qualifiers in September, and the six-match white ball tour to Pakistan, Prendergast said:
“The World Cup qualifier next month is obviously extremely exciting. We’ve talked about it a lot as a team and how we want to go over there and aim to win that tournament. It’s a great opportunity for us and obviously the World Cup in South Africa early next year is on the line, so it’s of huge significance and we’re all ready and we’re really excited.
“Then, of course, we’re heading to Pakistan in November, so that’ll be a very historic trip. We’ve never been there before so there’ll be lots of new conditions to get used to, but three 50-over games and three T20Is against them is a huge opportunity for us to hopefully get a few wins under our belt. And then the recently announced future tours programme is hugely exciting. If you told us a year ago that we’d have all these fixtures and tours coming up we probably wouldn’t have been able to believe you, so it’s hugely exciting and it’s a great opportunity for us. We’re all really excited to get to play against these top teams and test ourselves against the best players in the world, and it’s obviously a huge privilege to be able to do that.”
Ireland Women have played 22 ODIs against the Netherlands, winning 20 of those. The two sides met in November last year in a 50-over match as part of the ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup Global Qualifier which Ireland won by 29 runs (see scorecard).
Ireland Women’s squad
Laura Delany (capt), Rachel Delaney, Georgina Dempsey, Amy Hunter, Shauna Kavanagh, Arlene Kelly, Gaby Lewis, Louise Little, Sophie MacMahon, Kate McEvoy, Cara Murray, Leah Paul, Orla Prendergast, Mary Waldron
The fixtures are:
• Monday 22 August: Netherlands Women v Ireland Women, 1st ODI (VRA Amstelveen)
• Wednesday 24 August: Netherlands Women v Ireland Women, 2nd ODI (VRA Amstelveen)
• Friday 26 August: Netherlands Women v Ireland Women, 3rd ODI (VCC Voorburg)
All three matches will be livestreamed via the KNCB/Cricket Netherlands YouTube channel here.