Dublin: Ireland all-rounder Kim Garth has signed a two-year deal with Cricket Victoria, which means she will no longer be available for Irish cricket duties.
Garth, who made her international debut in 2010, admitted that it was a difficult decision to leave her home country behind after playing 85 matches in international colours - a choice she made in order to pursue her ambition of becoming a full-time professional cricketer.
"While I have accepted the offer, it was not an easy decision to make.To leave family, friends, and the whole Irish cricket community was a very difficult decision, and one I did not take lightly,'' said Garth.
"However, my ambition has always been to be a full-time professional cricketer and to play at the highest level. A chance like this doesn't present itself too often, so I am keen to seize this opportunity,'' she added.
Garth, who has scored 1,210 runs and picked up 65 wickets for Ireland, has had substantial experience playing in Australia. The 24-year-old all-rounder has represented Sydney Sixers and Perth Scorchers in the WBBL and played club cricket in Melbourne last season.
Representing Dandenong Cricket Club, she was adjudged the most valuable player at Cricket Victoria's 2019-20 Premier Cricket Awards.
While looking forward to her future, Garth is hopeful of contributing back to Irish cricket in the future.
"I will miss being part of the Irish squad, and indeed all the staff I have worked with at Cricket Ireland - I am very grateful and conscious of the opportunities afforded to me by Cricket Ireland over the years. But I have also learned a lot living and playing cricket in Australia and hope that, at some future time, I can bring this experience home and give back in some way," she said.
Ed Joyce, the former Ireland men's cricketer, and now women's team head coach, admitted that Garth's departure is a tough pill to swallow, but appreciates the ambition that resulted in the decision.
"This is obviously a blow, there is no way around that. To lose one of your leading players anytime is a challenge, but I can understand Kim's decision-making and she has been quite open with her ambitions," he said.(UNI)