Tuesday 12 November 2019

Balbirnie replaces Porterfield as Irish skipper

Ireland's Andrew Balbirnie. Photo: Seb Daly/Sportsfile
Ireland's Andrew Balbirnie. Photo: Seb Daly/Sportsfile

Andy Balbirnie has been appointed Test match and one-day international captain of Ireland after the shock announcement that William Porterfield has decided to step down from a role he has fulfilled with distinction since 2008.

Balbirnie has long been seen as the natural successor having captained both the Ireland A team and the U-19s, but the timing of Porterfield’s decision has taken many by surprise, although he hopes to continue as a batsman.

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Before the Test against England in July, the 35-year-old was talking about leading the side for another two years and the need to appoint a vice-captain to ease a smooth succession, so there may be more to this story.

“William has been an amazing leader on and off the field,” Balbirnie said. “Taking over from our greatest captain will certainly be a hard act to follow but one I’m looking forward to, and William still has a huge role to play in this team.

“To be asked to captain my country is an absolute honour. It’s a proud moment not just for me but also for my family and everyone who has been there on my cricket journey – especially my coaches, team-mates and friends at Pembroke Cricket Club.”

Porterfield, who was a teenage batting star for Donemana in the north-west before moving to Leinster to further his career, made his Ireland debut in 2006 and is all-time leading scorer with 9,201 runs, including a record 18 centuries.

Irish Independent

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