Photo Credit: Ray Lawrence
Ireland Men’s interim captain Paul Stirling says the squad is ‘buzzing’ ahead of the opening game of their three-match One Day International (ODI) series against England, which starts at 11.30am tomorrow at Headingley.
Stirling, 32, has fond memories of the last time the sides met in an ODI – he scored 142 in a seven wicket win for Ireland in Southampton in 2020 – a thrilling game that saw Ireland successfully chase 329 for victory. He said:
“It does feel like a long time ago, especially as it was under COVID circumstances, but I suppose there is that winning feeling from that day in Southampton for the players that were there.
“I know whenever we get over to England – coming and seeing what cricket is all about in one of the best countries for cricket in the world – it really excites our players. We know whoever plays [for England] they’re going to be quality cricketers. I think why England have been such a good team recently is that their strength in depth is so high. I think they could probably replace any of their top eleven with another player and it would not be too dissimilar how they go about their business.
“We know what we’re coming up against will be strong, but any series we play against top-tier sides we would be looking at getting a scalp. That would be a realistic ambition, certainly to come and get a win and definitely compete on all areas throughout. This is the format we all love to play, and personally I’m very excited – it’s maybe my favourite format. We’re really looking forward to getting out there in what are familiar conditions – even though it’s pretty late on in the calendar year, everyone’s really buzzing to get out there and play. This is a good opportunity for us to show what we’re capable of.”
Having missed out on qualification to this years’ World Cup in India, Stirling knows that the road to the 2027 World Cup starts here:
“We actually played some really good 50-over cricket during that last cycle, it was just at the wrong time. I think halfway in between World Cups we were probably playing our best cricket against some of the best sides in the world. We were coming pretty close, especially on home turf, but we couldn’t quite keep that full momentum into the qualifiers.
“It’s up to us now to work out how we’re going to be in our best place come those next qualifiers in, probably, 2027. But that’s the exciting part – we’re at the very start of a new cycle. I would say that there is not too much pressure on at the minute, but certainly we want to be in the right place at the right time.”
The matches will be played at three separate venues: Headingley (Leeds), Trent Bridge (Nottingham), and the Seat Unique Stadium (Bristol) over a seven-day period.
• 20 September: England Men v Ireland Men – 1st ODI (Headingley; start 12.30pm)
• 23 September: England Men v Ireland Men – 2nd ODI (Trent Bridge; start 11am)
• 26 September: England Men v Ireland Men – 3rd ODI (Bristol; start 12.30pm)
All three matches will be broadcast live on Sky Sports in both Ireland and the UK.
- Paul Stirling (capt), Mark Adair, Andrew Balbirnie, Curtis Campher, Gareth Delany, George Dockrell, Graham Hume, Josh Little, Andy McBrine, Barry McCarthy, Neil Rock, Harry Tector, Lorcan Tucker, Theo van Woerkom, Craig Young.
- Zak Crawley (capt), Rehan Ahmed, Brydon Carse, Ben Duckett, Sam Hain, Will Jacks, Craig Overton, Matthew Potts, Joe Root, Phil Salt, George Scrimshaw, Jamie Smith, Luke Wood.