Celeste Raack Set for a Big International Cricket Season for Her Adopted Country
Ireland’s leg-spinner Celeste Raack may have only made her international debut for her adopted nation in November 2018, but she has already become an important part of a new-look Irish women’s cricket team that will run out onto the field on Sunday to face the mighty West Indies.
Sydney-born Raack, 25, bowls leg spin and cites compatriot Shane Warne as her cricket idol. She was a rookie with the NSW Breakers before moving to Hobart aged 19 to join the Tasmanian Tigers. In 2018, with the encouragement of retired international Isobel Joyce who played for Tasmania and the Hurricanes in 2017, Raack – who also holds an Irish passport – headed to Dublin to play a season in the Toyota Super 3s. She said:
“I played for the Typhoons in the Super 3’s competition and really enjoyed the playing environment and the opportunity it provides for players to play in a competitive and challenging series. Playing with and against Irish international players in this series really improved my cricket and bowling on Irish wickets was a different challenge to those I’ve played on in Australia.”
About her Irish heritage, Raack grew up with her late grandmother Brigid living in the family home and her Irish heritage has always been close to her heart. She told cricket.com.au:
"We always had a very strong Irish accent in the house. She'd would have been very happy to hear I was planning on living in Dublin for the future and playing for Ireland."
In October 2018, Ireland Women’s Head Coach Aaron Hamilton selected Raack in Ireland’s T20 World Cup squad, and she made her subsequent debut against Pakistan in November, almost claiming a wicket with her first ball for Ireland, before going on to take 1-35 in the match.
In May 2019, Raack was named as one of the inaugural six recipients of professional contracts for women cricketers in Ireland. She said at the time:
“I’ve relocated from Australia to play in Ireland and have put my career as a physiotherapist on hold to play cricket. Receiving a contract enables me to dedicate more of my time to becoming the best player I can be."
“It is a very exciting time for women’s cricket in Ireland. We have had big change in personnel this season following the retirement of four of our most successful players of all time. Having contracted players and the access to increased training will provide us with the opportunity to put our best foot forward for the upcoming ICC tournaments. It also allows a younger generation of female cricketers to see that there is an opportunity to earn money as a cricketer in the future.”
Now focussed on the upcoming West Indies series, Raack said:
“It’s going to be a huge summer with a lot of fixtures in the lead up to the World Cup Qualifier in August. I’m really looking forward to starting off against the West Indies and it’ll really help us see what we’re doing well and what we need to work on over the coming months.”
“The squad is looking really strong and we’ve been training hard over the last few months. We had a pre-season camp in La Manga, which was mix of the Academy and the Performance Squad. Our Strength & Conditioning programmes are moving along well and the first two weeks of training for the contracted players has been great.”
“While Ireland hasn’t played much against the West Indies in recent years, I played a few seasons with Hayley Matthews in Australia in the WBBL so I’m looking forward to playing against her.”
Ireland v West Indies – T20 International series
Ireland and West Indies meet in three T20 Internationals:
- Sunday 26 May 2019 (YMCA Cricket Club, starts 2pm)
- Tuesday 28 May 2019 (Pembroke Cricket Club, starts 4pm)
- Wednesday 29 May 2019 (Pembroke Cricket Club, starts 4pm)
There is free entry to all matches.
Livestream of the series
In a further boost to the profile and availability of Irish women’s cricket to be shown globally, all three matches will be livestreamed, with details posted on Cricket Ireland social media channels. The livestream will be produced in partnership with HBV Studios.