Ireland Women’s head coach Ed Joyce insists it was not the way they wanted to qualify for the ICC Women’s Championship but the squad can look forward to an exciting three-year cycle.
The abandonment of the World Cup qualifiers at the weekend, due to Zimbabwe being placed on most countries’ red list over the new Omicron variant, was followed by the ICC’s announcement that the three remaining World Cup places and the final two World Championship slots would be based on the World ODI rankings.
With Ireland starting the tournament in 10th, that confirmed their participation in the expanded 10-team World Championship to be played over the next three years — and with each team playing the others in three-match series, that guarantees the Women 27 ODIs in the cycle, as many as they have played in the last 10 years.
“It was certainly not the qualifiers we expected,” said Joyce. “I felt the team was on the verge of something special and our goal was World Cup qualification.
“We have an exciting future in front of us, though, and nobody should begrudge Irish women’s cricket this opportunity, given the team’s rich history over the last few decades.
“We’d certainly have preferred to qualify for the World Cup or Championship based on results in the tournament and I feel for all the teams that didn’t get to show off their skills.”
The squad, meanwhile, made it to Oman yesterday on the latest leg of their protracted journey home, having flown out of Zimbabwe on Sunday to Namibia.
The ICC is organising flights and it is hoped they will today be able to fly back to Dublin , where the three Northern Ireland squad members — Cara Murray, Amy Hunter and team manager Beth Healy — must spend 10 days in a hotel before returning home.
Elsewhere, Cliftonville Academy, promoted to the Robinson Services Premier League . have confirmed experienced South African Domiinic Hendricks as their new professional.
The 31-year-old left-hand batsman, and occasional off-spinner, has an impressive average of 38 i n List A cricket and 31 in T20s.
He was a team-mate of Waringstown’s Graham Hume at the 2010 Under-19 World Cup when South Africa finished fifth, after defeating an Ireland team captained by Andrew Balbirnie — and including 11 players who would go on to senior level — in the opening match by five wickets.