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It’s great to have the opportunity to go into a different environment, mix with different players and different cultures says Irish Skipper Laura Delany

RAWALPINDI: Ireland Women’s captain Laura Delany has arrived in Pakistan ahead of the Women’s League exhibition matches, which gets underway on International Women’s Day, Wednesday 8 March.

Delany will play for The Amazons side in a three-match series against The Super Women at the Pindi Cricket Stadium in Rawalpindi on 8, 9, and 11 March. Fans will be able to watch the matches on Sky Sports in Ireland and the UK (starting at 9am, Ireland time).

The games feature ten international players from around the world, including Chamari Athapathu (Sri Lanka), Jahanara Alam (Bangladesh), Laura Woolvaardt (South Africa), Lauren Winfield-Hill, Danni Wyatt, Maia Boucher, Tammy Beaumont (all England), Lea Tahuhu (New Zealand), and Tess Flintoff (Australia).

Played as lead-in matches for the Men’s Pakistan Super League games, the exhibition games will also be used to celebrate International Women’s Day, create awareness about breast cancer through a partnership with Pink Ribbon Pakistan, and to highlight women empowerment through education in collaboration with Circle Women.

Speaking from Rawalpindi on her arrival in Pakistan, Delany said:

“Firstly, just being in a different environment and training with some of the best players in the world is a fantastic opportunity. Hopefully, I will get the chance to test myself in action against these players, and ultimately contribute and help the team win games.

“I would imagine getting to play with players from different countries would be of great benefit to any cricketer. I’m really looking forward to hearing what they bring, or what their thoughts and feedback are just in relation to the pitch, how we approach the game, tactics, and all that kind of stuff. Being in a completely different environment where people will have new thoughts and opinions is something that I’m really looking forward to tactically.

Also, to work with different coaches is something I’m really looking forward to. Hopefully, I can grow not only as a player, but even benefit my captaincy skills as well.

“I think it’s really important for Irish players to be involved in franchise cricket. During the recent World Cup there are several Irish players that proved they can mix it with some of the best players in the world – Orla Prendergast is a prime example of that.

I hope that going forward, Irish players take more of these opportunities that come our way.”

Will having toured Pakistan just last November give you greater confidence ahead of the matches?

“A hundred percent. I think having been here in November and the PCB doing such a good job, they were incredibly hospitable. They looked after us so well, and from a security point of view, it was clear that they went to every effort to make us feel as secure and comfortable as possible. So when this opportunity came about, I didn’t even question it.

I was actually really excited at the prospect of coming back to Pakistan, knowing how well we were treated when we were over here. Also the opportunity to train and play in a stadium with great wickets is also another reason why I was so excited to come here.

“It’s obviously a hugely exciting time for women’s cricket here in Pakistan. Now that I’m here, I can see that there’s been a lot of effort put into promoting the game, and we’ve just been told that the games are going to be covered by Sky Sports at home, which is absolutely brilliant. The more exposure for these type of games on a global level, the better, and hopefully people will tune in and support.

“I suppose just looking at the men’s PSL, they’ve had sell-out crowds at their games, which I know in the evening and these games will be at two o’clock, but hopefully we’ll get a good crowd in to watch the teams play, because that would be pretty exciting.”

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