Irish pair Ed Joyce and Tim Murtagh retire from T20 cricket
Ireland duo Ed Joyce and Tim Murtagh have announced their retirement from international T20 cricket with immediate effect.
Sussex captain Joyce, who has the highest T20 batting average for his country - 30.84 in all games and 33.75 in internationals - made his decision to concentrate on the longer formats of the game with the nation eagerly anticipating Test cricket.
The 36-year-old said: "With potentially more ODI's in the next few years and the possibility of Test cricket in the near future as well, I feel like I'd be able to contribute more in these formats if I stop playing Twenty20.
"Added to this is the emergence of exciting young batsman Andy Balbirnie, so I know the T20 team should be in good hands going forward."
Middlesex bowler Murtagh revealed he is calling it a day for similar reasons.
The 33-year-old said: "I haven't played much T20 cricket for Middlesex recently. There's such a busy schedule these days, and with a lot of cricket coming up for Ireland and Middlesex, I'm now maybe at an age as a bowler where some formats of the game are having to take priority.
"I've been hugely grateful to have been given the chance to play T20 international cricket for Ireland, and I'm certainly looking forward to hopefully playing many more games in the other formats."
Chairman of selectors Alan Lewis paid tribute to the pair and welcomed their continuing commitment to Irish cricket.
He said: "It came as no surprise that Ed and Tim have announced their retirements from T20 international cricket.
"Both players are the wrong side of 30, but the heartening piece for us is their total commitment to the longer formats and ultimately our desire to play Test cricket in the future.
"Wise men make the right decisions at the right time and this is no different. I can't speak highly enough of both.
"They are hugely valuable to us in the longer formats and when you also consider their county commitments, their decision is fully understandable."