Friday, July 12, 2024

Andy Balbirnie steps down as Ireland captain after World Cup Qualifier exit

Andy Balbirnie has decided to step down as Ireland’s captain after his side failed to qualify for the 2023 World Cup in India.

Ireland failed to advance to the Super Sixes stage of the ongoing World Cup Qualifiers in Zimbabwe, having won only one of their four group games.

Balbirnie captained Ireland in 89 matches across formats – four Tests, 33 ODIs and 52 T20Is, after taking over the leadership in 2019.

He signed off with a thrilling two-wicket win over Nepal in his final match on Tuesday, after which he informed his teammates about his decision to step down.

“After much thought and consideration, I have made the decision 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,” Balbirnie said.

“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,” he added.

Veteran batter Paul Stirling, who has previously filled in as captain for Ireland on 13 occasions, will step into the role of Ireland captain in ODIs and T20Is on an interim basis.

The 32-year-old is rapidly closing in on Kevin O’Brien’s record as the most capped Irish cricketer and has been a virtual mainstay in the Ireland Men’s team since his debut in 2008.

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