IRELAND’S women cricketers are to get a brand new squad structure as they push towards the goal of becoming one of the best seven teams in the world.

Designed to closely mirror the men’s set-up, the new framework will demonstrate a clear pathway from Provincial Age Groups into the Senior National Team while also giving key indicators for players, coaches and selectors to aid development and selection.

The idea is to give young players a clearly recognised path to follow from when they first pick up a cricket bat all the way through to the national team.

Ireland captain Isobel Joyce can see nothing but good coming from the streamlining. She said: “It’s very exciting to see the new structure coming together. Younger girls now have a clear goal at an earlier age and I hope this will help to keep them in the game and excited about the opportunities they have within cricket.

“It’s also very important for the more experienced players to know those players are coming up behind them so they continue to push themselves.”

Cricket Ireland Performance Director Richard Holdsworth said “In previous years the women’s pathway has seen a variety of routes to Senior International level through teams such as A-team, Development, and Academy.

“By clearly identifying who are our established, high potential and developing international players, we can streamline that journey and make the player development programme within it much more targeted and specific to the needs of each player.”

The Pathway that Cricket Ireland has laid out incorporates three phases:

Senior: Established international players with a high degree of understanding of their own skill sets who will benefit from specific development in key areas to ensure regular high class performance.

Performance: High potential players who require further development of core skills but have previously represented Ireland and Province at senior and age group levels.

Emerging Player Programme: Players aged from 13 to 17 years who have demonstrated good performance
at or above their own age group and exhibit and a dedication and ambition to perform at the highest level.

The new structure will come into immediate effect as preparations continue for what is expected to be the busiest season ever for Irish women’s cricket.

Their fixtures will include competing in an enhanced ECB County Championship (with a minimum of eight games – up from four in 2011), the ECB T20 Cup, several T20 Internationals against full members to be played in the UK, and an ODI and T20 International series in Ireland. All confirmed fixtures will be announced in due course.

Holdsworth added: “Senior women’s coach Jeremy Bray will head up the senior programme, while part-time women’s performance coach Nigel Pyne leads the performance and emerging players programme with Jeremy assisting.

“Both coaches have huge experience and I am confident these programmes will give the players a great opportunity to improve and allow the Ireland women’s team to reach their target of seventh in the global rankings by 2015.”