BORN in Western Sydney with an unmistakable Aussie accent, Celeste Raack is an unlikely enemy.
But the Hobart physiotherapist has changed allegiances and today will play for her grandmother’s birth country, Ireland, against Australia at the World T20 in the West Indies.
She’ll pit herself against her junior teammates including Ellyse Perry and Alyssa Healy.
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Sydney-born Hobart Hurricane Celeste Raack will take on her birth country when she plays for Ireland against Australia.
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“I was born in Western Sydney, as Australian as it gets,” said Raack, whose surname can be traced to her father’s German heritage.
“I went to Ireland to play a season in March this year in between my seasons with Tasmania and loved it and thought, this is where I want to go with my cricket and if the opportunity’s there to play international cricket, it was hard to say no.
“A few of the girls I grew up with are in the (Aussie) side… It’ll be good fun playing against them.”
The 24-year-old is taking it a step further and after seeing out her state league contract with Tasmania this summer – it will be her sixth season in Australia’s domestic competition – she will move to Dublin permanently.
“It might be seen as a big step for some people- going from being a paid cricketer in Australia to playing in a country which is the only country in this World Cup that’s still (represented by) amateurs,” she said.
“The Irish girls train amazingly hard and are kind of where we were in Australia 10 years ago, where we had to have full time jobs.
“It is stepping back into that environment where you have to make everything work and balance it, but I’ve been so impressed with how our team, despite that, are able to play so well and train so hard.”
Raack might be very Australian, but she never lost touch with her Irish roots. Her grandmother Brigid lived with her and her family in Australia until she recently passed away.
“I’ve always had a very strong Irish accent in the house,” she said.
“Mum was born in England and has been very close to the Irish side of the family for some time.
“I’ve always known about the heritage, been very interested in it, the Irish family has been very important.
“ … (Brigid) would have been very happy to hear that I was planning on living in Dublin for the future and playing for Ireland.”
Australia play Ireland at 7am this morning.
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