End of an Era: Balbirnie's Resignation Shakes Up Irish Cricket

image-ljq1itnvAndy Balbirnie has stepped down as the captain of the Irish National Cricket team after their world cup qualifier debacle (Source: Twitter)

In the ongoing ICC World Cup Qualifiers there has been a major change of events in the Irish cricket fraternity as the Ireland skipper Andrew Balbirnie has recently ended his captaincy reign in ODi’s and T20’s after a close fought 2 wicket victory against Nepal in 7th place playoff of the qualifiers. Balbirnie has represented Ireland in 101 ODI’s and 89 T20’s and is one of top runs scorers for his nation in white ball cricket with over 4500 runs. 

He took over as Ireland's captain in 2019 after Irish legend William Porterfield stepped down. Since then he has led his side in 37 One Day Internationals and 52 T20I’s. During his tenure he has had some memorable moments and matches where he became the first Irish Captain to defeat England at home where he also scored a magnificent century. 

He was also the first Irish captain to defeat South Africa where he surprised everyone with a century against a world class South African attack consisting of Rabada and Nortje. Despite his below par performance in the Qualifiers with only 131 runs with an average of only 26.20 we cannot forget that he has been a major stalwart for Ireland throughout his career.

Pressure and Resignation: Behind Andy Balbirnie's Departure


While he has been a terrific matchwinner for Ireland, captaincy is one of the areas Balbirnie has struggled in during his career. This was visible in the inconsistent performance of Ireland through this tournament where they couldn’t make it to the super sixes since they only won a single game vs UAE which eliminated their chances of qualifications which is below par for a side who has played two world cups and has a lot of potential.

Balbirnie has led Ireland in 37 games where he could manage only 8 wins and 24 losses which gives him a win rate of only 21.62% and a win/loss ratio of only 0.32 which is the lowest by any Irish captain in ODI’s compared to Irish icon William Porterfield who has led the side in 113 games with 50 wins and 56 losses going along with a couple of tied games who has a win rate of 44.24% with a ratio of 0.90. 

This captaincy record does not match his stats as he has scored over a 1000 runs as captain and has a steady average of 33.15 which is the second best after Porterfield which might be the case of somebody who cannot balance leadership along with performance which can affect the teams performance as well. Despite only leading the side in 4 games each Kevin O'Brien and Paul Stirling have still one 3 games where Stirling is yet to lose a match which also might be putting Balbirnie’s captaincy in danger.


We all know how much Balbirnie has contributed as a player but looking at his record as a skipper it's safe to say that his tenure as Ireland’s captain was filled with more disappointment than success not only compared to other Irish captains but also compared to all the captains in international cricket. 

This change could also be a blessing in Disguise for the team as Balbirnie can focus more as a player and will have the necessary amount of time to comeback with better performances than this season that has rather been a poor outing for him with below average performances. Without the burden of leadership he might come back to being the flamboyant strokemaker we know.