Cricket Ireland on Monday announced seven part-time retainer contracts for the women's senior international squad for 2021, with 12 non-retainer contracts also offered to make this the largest-ever senior women's performance squad.
Part-time retainer contracts have been offered to Laura Delany, Shauna Kavanagh, Mary Waldron, Gaby Lewis, Celeste Raack, Orla Prendergast and Leah Paul.
The 21-year old Leah Paul finished the highest run-scorer in the Super 50 Series this year, scoring 295 runs at an average of 49.17, with two half-centuries. She formed half of a formidable opening partnership with the Series' second-highest run-scorer Gaby Lewis, and with her left-arm spin, she makes a promising all-round option for Head Coach Ed Joyce.
A number of young talented cricketers earn first time call-ups, including hard-hitting wicketkeeper-batter Amy Hunter - born and raised in Belfast. The 15-year old Hunter has been part of the Shapoorji Pallonji Cricket Ireland Academy and has caught the eye of selectors from an early age, but began to display her talent on the larger stage of the Super Series this year hitting 104 runs at an average of 26, with a maiden half-century for the eventual Series winners, the Typhoons.
Eimear Richardson, Lara Maritz, Hannah Little, Louise Little, Rebecca Stokell, Una Raymond-Hoey, Sophie MacMahon, Cara Murray, Georgina Dempsey, Rachel Delaney, Jane Maguire and Amy Hunter have bagged non-retainer contracts.
"While it was highly unfortunate that the senior women's squad saw their international home season and the 50-over World Cup Qualifier lost in 2020, we were very pleased to see a full eight-match Super 50 Series played out in such a competitive and high standard manner. The two teams fought out a great series, and that it came down to a tense decider in the last match was also a plus - such intense, tightly-contested cricket will only do the players well as we look towards an important few years ahead for the national side," Carrie Archer, Chair of National Women's Selectors, said in the statement.
( With inputs from ANI )
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