Heather Knight (right) celebrating the fall of a wicket

THE England & Wales Cricket Board (ECB) has announced a 24-strong England women’s touring party for their training camp in the United Arab Emirates next month.

The squad includes 17 of the centrally-contracted players alongside seven of the England Women’s Senior Academy players.

The trip will include several inter-squad matches alongside three 50 over matches between an England XI and their Irish counterparts. It is a key part of the team’s preparations ahead of the ICC Women’s World Cup in England this summer.

The matches against the Ireland XI will take place on the 24th, 26th and 28th of April at the Sheikh Zayed stadium in Abu Dhabi.

England captain Heather Knight, the Western Storm skipper and former Devon player from Plymstock, said: “This is an exciting step in the build-up to the World Cup. We’ve begun to show who we are as a side over the past year and we’ll continue to work hard and continue to progress.

“We are looking forward to getting back outside and testing ourselves against Ireland. I’m sure there will be a few of the squad who will be keen to see who comes out on top when we play each other as well.”

England Women’s Head Coach, Mark Robinson said:

“The trip will give us the opportunity to play some internal games to get us back playing competitive cricket. With places up for grabs, the players will start the process of building a case for selection this summer.

“Having some of the Academy players with us is exciting as we are always looking for opportunities to increase their learning and exposure.

“Ireland joining us will give us some different opposition and hopefully we can play our part in giving support to one of the Associate countries.

“Sarah Taylor is going really well at the moment and is back in training. Her return is a graduated one which is regularly reviewed as she works herself back to hopefully full fitness. There are no timescales in place for her but her goal is still to give herself the best chance of being able to play in the World Cup.”

Cricket Ireland Performance Director Richard Holdsworth said:

"We are very grateful to the ECB for agreeing to play three matches against an England XI These matches will not only serve as very useful preparation for our Quadrangular Series in South Africa, but also an excellent development opportunity for our players.”

Heather Knight  (Berkshire), Anya Shrubsole (Somerset), Tammy Beaumont (Kent), Katherine Brunt (Yorkshire), Kate Cross (Lancashire), Georgia Elwiss (Sussex), Tash Farrant (Kent), Jenny Gunn (Warwickshire), Alexandra Hartley (Lancashire), Danielle Hazell (Yorkshire), Amy Jones (Warwickshire), Beth Langston (Yorkshire), Laura Marsh (Kent), Natalie Sciver (Surrey), Fran Wilson (Middlesex), Lauren Winfield (Yorkshire), Danielle Wyatt (Sussex), Georgia Adams (Sussex), Hollie Armitage (Yorkshire), Alice Davidson-Richards (Kent), Sophie Ecclestone (Lancashire), Evelyn Jones (Lancashire), Emma Lamb (Lancashire), Linsey Smith (Berkshire).