Wednesday, July 24, 2024

After World Cup Qualifiers debacle, Balbirnie steps down as Ireland’s white-ball captain

Soon after the end of Ireland’s campaign in ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup Qualifiers 2023 and after their failure to reach the Super Six stage, captain Andrew Balbirnie announced that he will step down from the captaincy of the One-Day International and T20 squads effective immediately.

Cricket Ireland announced that Paul Stirling will step into the role on an interim basis.

Balbirnie, 32, has led his country 89 times across formats — four Tests, 33 ODIs and 52 T20Is — since taking over the reins in late 2019.

He informed his teammates shortly after Ireland’s final match of the ICC Cricket World Cup Qualifier, the 7th place playoff, signing off his white-ball captaincy tenure with a win.

Speaking about his decision, Balbirnie said: “After much thought and consideration, I have decided to step down as ODI and T20I captain. It has been one of my great honours to lead this team over the last few years and I am hugely grateful for all the support I received on and off the pitch from the many players, coaches, Cricket Ireland and supporters of the Ireland team.

“I feel this is the right time for me, but more importantly the team. I will continue to do my best for this team and work hard to contribute towards what I hope will be a successful period over the next number of years. Thank you,” Balbirnie said.

Heinrich Malan, Head Coach of Ireland Men, said: “While we completely respect Andrew’s decision to step down, for me, it is a poignant day. Andrew has been an exceptionally dedicated captain during his tenure, and I have greatly enjoyed working closely with him as captain. I know this was not a decision he took lightly, but one that he considered was best for the team. As a senior member of the squad, I very much look forward to continuing to work with him in the future.

“In terms of the captaincy going forward, Paul Stirling has agreed to take on the role on an interim basis until the end of the ODI series against England in September. Stirlo, as existing vice-captain of the squad, is someone I have also worked closely with and look forward to planning together through the next few months,” Malan said.

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