Ireland Women have arrived in Bangladesh for their first ever ICC Women's World Twenty20 tournament that begins in Sylhet next week and Head Coach Trent Johnston is hoping for his youthful squad to make a big impression.
The former Ireland captain became Head Coach of the women's team following his retirement from international cricket in December, and has already seen his young charges beat Pakistan in a Twenty20 encounter in Qatar at the international tournament there in January.
Johnston said on the eve of the team's departure this week that their experiences in Qatar will play to their advantage in Bangladesh "It's only two months ago that we beat Pakistan in Qatar and we were very close to beating South Africa in one of the T20 games and I think that we're a much better team now six weeks down the line."
The squad has been working very hard in the build up to the tournament here in Ireland and Johnston paid tribute to the work ethic from the squad, "The ladies commitment to training has been first-class, I couldn't have asked any more from that point of view and we've been training five, six even seven days a week."
Ireland captain Isobel Joyce was only 17 years old when she played in the 50 Over Women's World Cup in New Zealand in 2000. Fourteen years on she captains the Ireland Women's squad and feels everyone is very well prepared for the challenges ahead in Bangladesh. "I think it's a much bigger occasion now than it would have been then, I think we're well prepared and we certainly couldn't fit any more training into the past six or seven weeks."
She also spoke of the squad's aims for the tournament. "The aim is to get into the second phase, which means we have to win two matches probably so the goal is to get in the games early and with Twenty20 being a funny game you just never know what is going to happen."