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Bad News For Ireland | Balbirnie Steps Down After World Cup Qualifiers Exit; Interim Captain Announced

image-ljot3mboAndy Balbirnie and Paul Stirling in action against BAN in 2023 (Twitter)

Andy Balbirnie has announced that he will step down as Ireland’s limited-overs captain effective immediately. The cricketer recently led his side in the 2023 World Cup Qualifiers in Zimbabwe, where they crashed out of the World Cup race within the group stage of the tournament.

Balbirnie’s teammate and fellow senior man Paul Stirling has been appointed as Ireland’s interim captain for limited-overs internationals.

Balbirnie steps down as ODI, T20I captain

Andy Balbirnie was appointed as Ireland’s all-format captain in November 2019. The right-handed batter led his side in four Tests, 33 ODIs and 52 T20I matches during his reign.

Following Ireland’s thrilling win over Nepal in the seventh-place play-off at the World Cup Qualifiers, Balbirnie informed his teammates that he is stepping down from his white-ball captaincy role. He said:

"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."

The 32-year-old also ensured that he will continue to serve Ireland Cricket as a player.

In the meantime, Ireland’s senior batter Paul Stirling has been announced as Balbirnie’s replacement, at least for a temporary term.

Stirling has already led the Irishmen in 13 limited-overs international matches as Balbirnie’s deputy.

As part of his initial assignment, a stern challenge awaits the senior batter as he will soon be leading his side against Team India at home in August.