On Tuesday 4th July, Ireland National Cricket Team captain Andrew Balbirnie stepped down as his team’s ODI and T20I captain following the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2023 Qualifiers debacle. Cricket Ireland have appointed Paul Stirling as the team’s interim captain.
Andrew Balbirnie directed Ireland cricket team in 89 matches across all formats after taking over in 2019. Under his leadership, Ireland did not perform well in the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2023 Qualifiers.
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Ireland were knocked out of the 2023 World Cup race in India after losing 3 of their 4 group stage matches. After being knocked out, they won against Nepal and the USA to secure 7th place in the points table.
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After the last match of the All-Ireland competition, where they won by 2 wickets, Andrew Balbirnie announced that he is stepping down as captain of the cue ball. In an official statement issued by Cricket Ireland, he said it was an honor for him to captain the Ireland team.
“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 honors to lead this team over the past few years and I am extremely grateful for all the support I have received on and off the pitch from the many players, managers, Cricket Ireland and Team Ireland supporters.
“I feel like this is the right time for me, but more importantly for the team. I will continue to do my best for this team and work hard to contribute to what I hope will be a successful period in the coming years. Thank you,” Andrew Balbirnie said.
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Andrew Balbirnie has been an exceptionally dedicated captain – Heinrich Malan
Ireland National Cricket Team head coach Heinrich Malan praised Andrew Balbirnie for being an “exceptionally dedicated” captain. Malan also said that he looks forward to working closely with interim captain Paul Stirling.
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“While we fully respect Andrew’s decision to step down, it is a moving day for me. Andrew has been an exceptionally dedicated captain during his tenure, and I have thoroughly enjoyed working closely with him as captain. I know this was not a decision he made lightly, but one he felt was best for the team. As a senior member of the team, I am looking forward to continuing to work with him in the future.
“In terms of the captaincy going forward, Paul Stirling has agreed to take over the role on an interim basis until the end of the ODI series against England in September. Stirlo, as the current vice-captain of the team, is someone I have also worked closely with and look forward to planning together over the next several months,” Malan said.
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Cricket Ireland’s Director of High Performance also praised Andrew Balbirnie for his contributions as team leader. Holdsworth further said that he will seek to appoint a permanent skipper before his next international assignment at the end of 2023.
“I would also like to thank Paul for agreeing to take over until the end of September. Paul’s experience, both as a senior player and occasional captain, is invaluable and we wish him luck in the coming months.
“In the longer term, a process for the appointment of a permanent captain will be undertaken at the end of 2023 before our next international matches,” he said.