Andrew Balbirnie replaces William Porterfield as Ireland captain in Tests, ODIs

Andrew Balbirnie replaces William Porterfield as Ireland captain in Tests, ODIs

Balbirnie is not new to captaincy though.

Andrew Balbirnie
Andrew Balbirnie. (Photo Source: Twitter)

Ireland are slowly becoming a busy international cricketing side and the country’s cricketing authorities have taken a long-term move. Andrew Balbirnie, one of the side’s most prominent batsmen, has been appointed as the new captain in Tests and ODIs, replacing William Porterfield who has been doing the top job for over a decade now in those two formats.

Balbirnie, who recently played for Ireland in the Men’s T20 World Cup Qualifier and scored just one fifty, is not new to captaincy though. The 28-year-old had been Ireland’s captain in the Under-19 World Cup in New Zealand in 2010 and made his international debut for the country in July 2010, against Scotland.

His T20I debut came in 2015, also in Scotland, while he was part of Ireland’s historic debut Test against Pakistan at home in 2018. He has scored two fifties in his last two Tests — against Afghanistan in India and England in England though the Irish lost both the matches.

Andrew Balbirne can also be a useful off-spinner

Balbirnie’s international debut although took place in 2010 and he played four games that year but it was only after four years in 2014 that he got to play his fifth. He was a key part of Ireland’s preparations for the 2015 World Cup as he traveled to Australia and New Zealand for the warm-up matches through the later part of 2014 and also played New Zealand ‘A’ in Dubai. He later played the World Cup after hitting three fifties Down Under and 129 in Dubai.

Besides his batting, Balbirnie is also useful as an off-spinner and back-up wicketkeeper. He averages 24 in three Tests; 32 in 64 ODIs and 25 in 37 T20Is. He also has two wickets in ODIs at an average of 34.

Ireland recently qualified as the third team among six for the T20 World Cup to be held in Australia next year and will compete with Sri Lanka, Papua New Guinea and Oman to advance to the Super 12 stage.

The departing captain Porterfield has led Ireland in all three Tests they have played so far (lost all) besides in 113 ODIs (won 55, lost 55, tied 2 while 5 ended without results) and 56 T20Is (won 26, lost 26 and four without results).