Merrion Cricket Club’s Leah Paul has been awarded a contract with Cricket Ireland as part of the body’s increasing player pool.
The 21-year old 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.
She is included on the part-time retainer contract list along with fellow Dubliners Laura Delany (from Leinster CC), Pembroke’s Shauna Kavanagh, Mary Waldron and Orla Prendergast, YMCA’s Gaby Lewis and Merrion’s Celeste Raack.
Twelve further players have been named on non-retainer contracts including Pembroke’s Hannah Louise Little, Leinster’s Sophie MacMahon, Rebecca Stokell and Una Raymond-Hoey, Clontarf’s Lara Maritz and fellow Dubliner Eimear Richardson who most recently played with Johnsonville in New Zealand.
Carrie Archer, Chair of National Women’s Selectors, said the local Super Series action that did go ahead during the summer formed a big part of the selection in the absence of a full schedule of international games.
“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.
“While this year we missed seeing the likes of Mary Waldron, Lara Maritz and Una Raymond-Hoey in the Super Series, owing to the trio being in Australia, the selectors have settled on a senior performance squad that blends experience with youth, but is an ambitious group that we expect will be highly competitive when we return to the international stage.”
On the 2021 agenda is a 50-over World Cup and the ICC Women’s Championship.