Women's World T20 2018

Raack hoping for luck of the Irish

Celeste Raack was born in Australia but is hoping to play for Ireland in the World Twenty20 clash in Guyana on Sunday

Laura Jolly, in Guyana

11 November 2018, 06:18 AM

Meg Lanning's team might not be the only Australians taking the field when they meet Ireland in Sunday's World T20 group match in Guyana. 

Sydney-born leg-spinner Celeste Raack could make her international debut against the country of her birth at Providence Stadium, after her decision to spend the Australian winter playing in Ireland resulted in an unexpected chance to travel to the Caribbean for a World T20.

Raack, whose grandparents on her mother's side are Irish, holds an Irish passport, making it possible for her to represent the up-and-coming cricket nation.

A physio who has spent the last three seasons with Hobart Hurricanes in the Rebel WBBL, and who is still contracted with Cricket Tasmania, the 24-year-old is no stranger to making a big move to further her cricket career.

Raised in Western Sydney, Raack was a rookie with the NSW Breakers before making the decision to move to Hobart aged 19 to pursue a full contract with the Tasmanian Tigers.

And this year, it was with the encouragement of Irish veteran Isobel Joyce, who played for Tasmania and the Hurricanes last summer, that Raack decided to spread her wings even further from home.

"I went to Ireland to play a season in March this year between seasons with Tasmania and loved it, I thought, ‘this is where I want to go with my cricket'," Raack explained in Guyana on Saturday.

"If the opportunity was there to play international cricket, it was hard to say no.

"(Isobel and I) are really good friends so I went and played for her club side and lived with her family over there. That was a huge support, her family been very good to me.

"That helped me get a club side and from there it was a decision I made over time to play for Ireland."

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Raack is still contracted to Tasmania for the remainder of the 2018-19 summer, but intends to relocate to Dublin early next year to continue her international cricketing dream.

It's a big call that involves giving up the possibility of another full domestic contract in Australia, but Raack is keen to follow her instincts.

"It might be seen as a big step going from being a paid cricketer in Australia to playing for the only country in this World Cup that's still amateur, but the Irish girls train amazingly hard," she said.

"They are kind of where we were in Australia 10 years ago where we had to have full-time jobs and fit it in around cricket...but I've been so impressed with how everyone in our team is able to perform so well and train so hard despite that.

"My teammates are excellent cricketers and it's a great environment, I'm so impressed by how well they play together and how well they support each other.

"It's a really exciting mix of youth and experience in the side.

"It's a nice position to be in to be able to step into the squad having played some domestic cricket already but not played any international cricket and learn a lot from the girls."

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Raack grew up with her late grandmother Brigid living in the family home and her Irish heritage has always been close to her heart.

"We always had a very strong Irish accent in the house," she said.

"She'd would have been very happy to hear I was planning on living in Dublin for the future and playing for Ireland."

And Raack can't wait to take on her compatriots when the teams go head to head in a World T20 group match beginning 4pm Sunday (7am Monday AEDT).

"I've played a lot against them, I grew up with the NSW system with Nicola Carey and I was in a squad with Ellyse Perry, Alyssa Healy and a few of those guys," she said.

"So it'll be good fun playing against them."

2018 ICC Women's World T20  

Australia squad: Meg Lanning (c), Rachael Haynes (vc), Nicole Bolton, Nicola Carey, Ashleigh Gardner, Alyssa Healy (wk), Jess Jonassen, Delissa Kimmince, Sophie Molineux, Beth Mooney, Ellyse Perry, Megan Schutt, Elyse Villani, Tayla Vlaeminck, Georgia Wareham

November 9: Australia beat Pakistan by 52 runs

November 11: Australia v Ireland, Province Stadium

November 13: Australia v New Zealand, Province Stadium

November 17: Australia v India, Province Stadium

November 22: Semi-finals, Sir Vivian Richards Ground, Antigua

November 24: Final, Sir Vivian Richards Ground