Photo Credit: Cricket Ireland
Despite losing the opening game of the three-match One Day International (ODI) series on Friday, confidence remains high in the Irish camp ahead of game two this Sunday. Amy Hunter was speaking after training.
Having fought so hard to qualify for the ICC Women’s Championship Irish batter Amy Hunter and her team-mates are enjoying the challenge of testing themselves at the highest level. With 20 ICC Women’s Championship point still on offer in the remaining two ODIs, there is still plenty to play for.
Hunter, 17, is the youngest player in the Ireland squad, but already has an ODI century to her name, scoring 121 not out in a winning effort against Zimbabwe last year. That knock saw her become the youngest player, either male or female, to score an international century.
Speaking after training earlier today, she said:
“The conditions here in Lahore are slightly different. It was a bit tricky to adjust at first, trying to acclimatise ourselves, but having been in the United Arab Emirates recently for the T20 World Cup qualifiers it made it a lot easier heat-wise. The pitches are obviously that bit slower, and they turn a bit more than they would at home, but generally they’ve been pretty good.
“Obviously, these pitches are very different than anything I’ve ever played on before. Spin will likely be the main contributing factor in the series, as shown in yesterday’s match, so I’ve been working really hard against that with all the coaches.
“Coaching-wise, though, it’s been fairly similar to the lead up to other series. Obviously, we’ve had a little bit more time before this series, with it being our off-season and off the back of the UAE qualifiers. I’ve just personally been preparing, really trying to get volume into my batting, and now really focusing on zoning in on my ODI mindset – doing the basics well for really long periods of time, which will hopefully come off for me in the remaining matches.”
On the opportunity to be part of the first Irish side to tour Pakistan, Hunter said:
“It’s absolutely amazing to be the first Irish side to play in Pakistan. It’s an incredible culture over here and just everybody loves cricket. It took for me to come out here and see the stadiums and everything for it to really hit home how amazing it is.”
Looking beyond this series, how important is it to be part of the ICC Women’s Championship?
“It was a huge goal of ours to qualify for the ICC Women’s Championship out in Zimbabwe last year. And having done so, it’s amazing to get these opportunities to play against the bigger sides. The quality and the competitiveness we’ll face – it will drive us on and make us better. It’s also such a motivator for all the girls, and even younger girls coming up, through seeing that we are getting play real high quality sides. It’s huge for Irish Women’s cricket.”
2023 is a massive year for both you and the squad, with a T20 World Cup to look forward to early in the year, along with an U19 T20 World Cup. You must be really excited as you look forward to that:
“Just off the back of that T20 World Cup qualification, so much hard work had gone into it, so much planning. It was really amazing for the girls to get that kind of recognition after the heartbreak against Thailand a couple years ago. That was an amazing feeling, and we can’t wait for that in the new year. All the girls are working really hard towards that and to get to compete against the best sides in the world and competition cricket is just something we we’re really revelling.
“And then obviously for the younger girls, the Under-19s World Cup in South Africa will be an amazing opportunity. It’ll amazing for me to get to play with girls my own age, and just play with them and create new friendships. It’s going to be a really great couple of months at the start of 2023.”
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.
Pakistan ODI squad: Bismah Maroof (capt), Aimen Anwar, Aliya Riaz, Fatima Sana, Ghulam Fatima, Kainat Imtiaz, Muneeba Ali (wk), Nashra Sandhu, Nida Dar, Omaima Sohail, Sadaf Shamas, Sadia Iqbal, Sidra Amin, Sidra Nawaz (wk) and Umm-e-Hani. Reserve players: Ayesha Naseem and Tuba Hassan
THE SERIES DETAILS
The Ireland squad will arrive in Lahore on 29 October and hold training sessions on 31 October to 3 November.
The fixtures will be:
• 4 November: Pakistan v Ireland – 1st ODI (scorecard)*
• 6 November: Pakistan v Ireland – 2nd ODI (Gaddafi Stadium, Lahore; 9.30am start local time)*
• 9 November: Pakistan v Ireland – 3rd ODI (Gaddafi Stadium, Lahore; 9.30am start local time)*
• 12 November: Pakistan v Ireland – 1st T20I (Gaddafi Stadium, Lahore; 10am start local time)
• 14 November: Pakistan v Ireland – 2nd T20I (Gaddafi Stadium, Lahore; 10am start local time)
• 16 November: Pakistan v Ireland – 3rd T20I (Gaddafi Stadium, Lahore; 10am start local time)
* the ODIs are part of the ICC Women’s Championship
WATCH AND FOLLOW
Watch the games
The matches will all be livestreamed on the Pakistan Cricket Board’s Youtube Channel.
Former Pakistan women’s team captain Sana Mir and former women’s international player Marina Iqbal will be joined by Ali Younis, Andrew Leonard, Sikander Bakht and Shah Faisal as commentators for the upcoming women’s series between Pakistan and Ireland.
Follow the games
We will provide:
• Livescoring: via Cricket Ireland’s Match Centre
• Twitter score updates: via Cricket Ireland’s Twitter page
• Match reports: via our Cricket Ireland website at the end of each day