Ireland's Laura Delany is delighted to be back training after a frustrating few months for Ireland's cricketers.
It's nine months since the Girls in Green tasted competitive action, having missed out on T20 World Cup qualification after losing to Thailand and Bangladesh in Scotland last September.
“I’m delighted to be back. The squad has been itching to get back for a while now, so to be finally given the green light is great," said Delany who took the captaincy armband in 2016 following the retirement of Isobel Joyce.
“It will take a little time to adjust to the protocols that have been put in place. While I had to consciously stop myself from falling back into old habits, it has been OK.
"Some of the new measures in place are quite obvious, such as keeping a two-metre distance, however, not picking up the balls after batting and washing your hands before you enter and leave different zones take some reminding. Thankfully the COVID Safety Officers are there to provide that gentle reminder!
(Laura Delany with S&C Coach Greg Hollins: Photo Inpho/Tommy Dickson)
“I have only had one session so far, but given the current circumstances I thought the training session ran smoothly. Ed provided the squad with a schedule ahead of training, so we knew when we were batting, and when you were required to crossover for fielding and running. The training sessions for the next couple of weeks will be one-to-one sessions, which should actually be very beneficial given the fact that we’ve had long period away from the game.”
Ireland were due to play in a Quadrangular tournament in April as part of their preparation for the 50-over World Cup qualifying tournament, but it was called off as the pandemic struck.
Next months scheduled WCQ in Sri Lanka has also been postponed, with no decision due yet on the new dates yet.
Despite the uncertainty of when and indeed where the qualifiers will be, Head Coach Ed Joyce is starting preparations for when they get the go-ahead, probably in the last quarter of the year.
"While the home season has obviously been impacted greatly, we’re still hopeful of the World Cup Qualifier going ahead later in the year and we’ll put together a lead-in programme ahead of that.
"I just hope a decision can be made early enough by the ICC to allow us to pull this together and give our squad the best chance to compete in this important tournament.
“I have to admit though that the throwing arm is feeling it after a three month break, but we’re enjoying the time in the nets and look forward to a hopeful resumption of competitive matches in the coming months.”
Ireland will be desperate for some much needed match practice in the 50-over game. Their last matches in the format were against Zimbabwe some 28 months ago.