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International cricket to return for Scotland and Ireland women

By Emerging Cricket

Scotland and Ireland will face each other in two 50-over matches and three T20Is in November.

Scotland and Ireland this week announced that their women’s sides would contest a five-match series in November, with two 50-over games and three T20Is scheduled between the 20th and 29th. The tour will be hosted at La Manga Club, a facility on the south-eastern coast of Spain that is regularly used as an off-season base by both Scotland and Ireland and is home to the Spanish national team.

Both teams have expressed their enthusiasm at getting back on the field after extended layoffs. Scottish women’s coach and former batsman Steven Knox commented: "It will give the players a great opportunity to show that all the hard work they’ve done in training over the past ten months, and in the A team games that were played in August and September, will hopefully pay off against a team that are ranked above us in T20I cricket."

Meanwhile, Ireland women’s coach and former men’s player Ed Joyce expressed similar sentiment in his statement: "We’re delighted to finally see some international action return - our last matches were at the T20 World Cup Qualifier in Scotland last year, so this series is very welcome for all involved. While spending time with the squad in the nets, and getting that extra contact time with the contracted players is invaluable, nothing compares to actually being out in the middle and experiencing the game in a match scenario - you learn so much more about your game and build confidence in such circumstances. I know the players are all keen to get out to Spain and pull on the green kit once more."

The announcement was especially well-timed for Scotland, coming just in time for their National Women and Girls in Sport Week initiative.

Netherlands on the lookout for new women’s national coach

Moving to continental Europe, and the Dutch women’s cricket has taken a step forward with the board advertising an open recruitment process for a new national coach. Current coach Sean Trouw announced in June that he would be stepping down at the end of 2020, bringing to a close a four-year stint in charge. The KNCB has started the search for his replacement with an eye to upcoming qualification tournaments next year, as well as domestic development efforts, with the successful candidate also set to take charge of the U19s side and the Lionesses youth talent programme.

The women’s game has a strong history in the Netherlands, stretching back through four World Cup appearances to their first match against Australia in 1937. However, it has declined in recent years and the KNCB hopes this appointment will help to revitalise both the club scene and the national team’s results.

USA announces new national youth coaches

Moving to the 104th ICC member, and USA Cricket have announced two new appointments to their coaching staff, with Kevin Darlington and Asif Mujtaba joining as men’s and women’s youth coaches respectively.

A former national team player himself, the Brooklyn-based and Guyana-born Darlington has extensive coaching experience across the USA, England and the Caribbean - including an assistant coach role with the USA during their successful 2019 ICC World Cricket League division 2 campaign, which culminated in the team winning ODI status. As well as the youth programmes, Darlington will provide coaching support for the senior men’s team.

Talking to Emerging Cricket, USAC board member Srinivas Salver explained Darlington’s appointment: "With his previous coaching experience with the USA National Team, [he] stood out as the most qualified candidate. With Kevin’s expertise, we believe the youth talent in the country can be elevated and take us to the U19 World Cup in 2022."

Asif Mujtaba, meanwhile, takes on responsibility for the women’s youth pathways, a task which will involve overseeing the efforts to build a pipeline for female talent in a country with fewer than 200 currently registered women and girls playing the game. He will also work as an assistant coach to the senior women’s team under Julia Price. A former Pakistan international with almost 100 appearances across Test and one-day cricket, Mujtaba currently resides in Plano, Texas.

Another USAC board member, and current women’s player, Nadia Gruny gave an enthusiastic endorsement of Mujtaba when she spoke with Emerging Cricket: "I’ve known Asif for almost a decade and I’ve worked with these girls for the past five years in different capacities. It’s truly been a labour of love to create opportunities for them to become the exciting, determined, talented cricketers that they are today, and I’m thrilled that Asif will help take them to the next level."

Malaysian cricket loses stalwart

Malaysia this week received some sombre news, with long-serving player and administrator Dato Dr. Harjit Singh passing away aged 70, reportedly from heart problems. A tireless promoter of the game from the southern Malaysian state of Johor, Dr. Harjit had led the state’s cricket organisation since 1987 and was the deputy president of the Malaysian Cricket Association (MCA) between 1990 and 2003.

In Johor, he implemented a number of successful development programmes targeting youth players within schools. He also oversaw the construction of the Johor Cricket Academy in 1998, a sprawling facility that includes an internationally-accredited turf field and Southeast Asia’s first indoor cricket hall. Dr. Harjit was recognised with the Johor Sports Leadership Award in 1989, 1995 and 2007, as well as being awarded the prestigious Anugerah Khas by Malaysia’s King in 1998 and finally being inducted into the Malaysian Olympic Committee’s Hall of Fame in 2017.

As a player he represented Johor across 20 years from the 1960s to 1980s in Malaysia’s state competition, including a stint as captain, as well as turning out for Ranchi University while he studied medicine in India. He also earned a national cap in 1980.

Global Game is a collaboration between the ICC and Emerging Cricket.

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