White setting gold standard with boys in green
Andrew White turned 39 yesterday and along with the birthday celebrations he has more cause for optimism than at any time since he became national chairman of selectors, as he looked forward to today's second ODI against Zimbabwe in Belfast with relish.
It seemed a poisoned chalice when he took on the role in December 2017 with the boys in green, a floundering mix of good players in the twilight of their careers and a young generation not fulfilling their potential.
However, it was clear during Monday's defeat of Zimbabwe by four wickets in Tyrone that Ulsterman White has unearthed a couple of future stars and is shaping a team that can compete on the world stage.
Mark Adair, a ferociously powerful all-rounder in the John Mooney mould, has been the find of the summer, while Shane Getkate made an impressive debut on Monday and Pembroke wicketkeeper-batsman Lorcan Tucker grabbed his chance with the gloves.
The dropping of veteran keeper Gary Wilson was a brave move - not least because the 33-year-old is best friends with ODI skipper William Porterfield - but it was a move that was overdue as Ireland look to the future.
Wilson will continue as T20 captain, at least until the World Cup qualifiers in October, but if Ireland reach next year's event it will be interesting to see whether he is still at the helm when the team depart for Australia.
Andy Balbirnie, who has long been earmarked for the captaincy in all three versions of the game, is underlining his credentials with a dominant run of scores after nailing down the No 3 slot - a match-winning century on Monday was his third in 10 ODI innings.
Meanwhile, Martin Guptill, the big-hitting New Zealand opener, is the latest icon signing for the Euro T20 Slam after South African fast bowler Dale Steyn was recruited as a marquee player for the tournament in Ireland, Scotland and the Netherlands, which starts on August 30.
Eoin Morgan, who led England to a 119-run World Cup semi-final win over New Zealand yesterday, is another icon on board.