Lotus365 Lotus365 News Cricket Ireland confirms Paul Stirling appointment as white-ball captain

Cricket Ireland confirms Paul Stirling appointment as white-ball captain

Cricket Ireland confirms Paul Stirling appointment as white-ball captain post thumbnail image

Paul Stirling ^(https://lotus365.today/goto/https://www.espncricinfo.com/cricketers/paul-stirling-303427) has been confirmed as Ireland men’s new white-ball captain, having done the job on an interim basis since Andy Balbirnie stepped down in the summer. Balbirnie will continue in his role as captain of the Test side.

Stirling, 33, has led the side on 22 occasions previously, including steering Ireland through qualification for the 2024 T20 World Cup. His appointment comes at the start of the cycle for the next ODI World Cup, to be held in South Africa in 2027, with Ireland aiming to secure a return in the expanded, 14-team format after missing out in 2019 and 2023, and will also encompass the 2026 T20 World Cup in India and Sri Lanka.

“Playing for Ireland has always been a source of pride for me and to be confirmed the permanent white-ball captain is a recognition I don’t take for granted,” Stirling said. “I have very much enjoyed working with Heinrich [Malan] and the coaching staff over the last few months as interim skipper, but we all know that we have potentially three World Cup campaigns over the next four years and the work starts now.

“I said recently that ODI cricket was my favourite format, and to watch on as the 50-over World Cup has been underway is actually been a great motivator for me to ensure we are there at the next event in 2027. I know this desire is a common feeling throughout the squad, and so we’ll look to harness this drive into the next series scheduled for December.

“We also recognise that there is only eight months now to the next T20 World Cup, so the clock has well-and-truly started on our preparations.”

Balbirnie gave up the white-ball captaincy ^(https://lotus365.today/goto/https://www.espncricinfo.com/story/andy-balbirnie-steps-down-as-ireland-odi-and-t20i-captain-1385777) after Ireland’s failure to make it to the ongoing ODI World Cup in India, finishing seventh at the ICC Qualifier in Zimbabwe. Stirling subsequently took charge for the T20 World Cup Europe Region Qualifier, as well as series against India and England. Ireland are next in action on a tour to Zimbabwe in December.

Andrew White, Ireland’s national selector, said that he expected both Stirling, who is closing in on Kevin O’Brien’s record number of Ireland caps, and Balbirnie to be available across all three formats, despite the split leadership.

“I am pleased that we have now settled the captaincy matter and I know the planning between the coaching and senior leadership group has already begun,” White said. “We have an exciting four-year period coming up and I look forward to working closely with Paul and Andrew as we take this squad forward.”

Heinrich Malan, Ireland men’s head coach, added: “The last few months of dealing so closely with Paul has confirmed that we have an asset of vast experience and knowledge within the playing group – experience and knowledge he has gained from his time with Ireland, in franchise cricket and formerly within county cricket.

“While fans may appreciate Paul’s talent on the field, his leadership skills and ability to communicate within the squad is a much under-estimated attribute. He lives and breathes cricket and has a passion for Irish cricket that is plain for everyone to see. It’s incredible to think Paul has been playing international cricket for 15 years and still has more good years ahead to lead this team and help improve Irish cricket.

“We know the challenges we have in Irish cricket, but we are very much a coaching and leadership unit that looks for solutions rather than finding excuses. Paul exemplifies this – he is an outright optimist and I know is driven to succeed. It is indeed welcoming to settle the leadership question, and we are very much looking forward to taking Irish cricket forward over coming years.”

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