Andrew Balbirnie will take over as Ireland captain in Tests and one-day internationals after the long-serving William Porterfield stepped down, Cricket Ireland announced on Friday, 8 November.
Porterfield has been captain of the side since 2008, having taken over from Trent Johnston, and has captained Ireland 253 times. According to Cricket Ireland, he is the longest-serving national captain in an Irish team sport. Porterfield will also go down in history as Ireland’s first ever Test captain.
Porterfield, 35, wants the captaincy transition to Balbirnie to be as smooth as possible ahead of the ICC Cricket World Cup Super League, starting next year. “I feel, and in consultation with Cricket Ireland, that now is the right time to hand over that mantle,” said Porterfield. “With the ODI league starting in the summer, it will allow Balbo time to get into the swing of things.
Huge congrats to @balbo90 on taking the Reigns in the Test and ODI format for ☘️. Also a huge 👊to @purdy34 on leading from the front for such a long time. Not many better pros going around that Porty and hopefully with less off field pressure he can carry on for many years.— Niall John O Brien (@niallnobiobrien) November 8, 2019
“I feel that the selectors have made a great choice in appointing Balbo and that it has come at a great time for him personally being on top of his game, and with more to come. Having spoken to him, I know how honoured and excited he is to get going. I’m looking forward to helping and supporting Balbo in any way I can, and seeing him lead Ireland forward.”
Balbirnie will become Ireland’s fifth ODI captain, and their second in Tests. After making his debut in 2010, he went on to become a key figure in the side, and at 28, will look to take Ireland through the next few steps in their rise as an international cricketing force.
He will first captain the side when Ireland take on West Indies in the Caribbean from January, with matches against Sri Lanka, Afghanistan and Zimbabwe set to follow.
“Since 2008, William [Porterfield] has been an amazing leader on and off the field, not just to me but anyone who has been lucky to represent Ireland,” said Balbirnie. “Taking over from our greatest captain will certainly be a hard act to follow, but one I’m looking forward to getting into. William still has a huge role to play in this team going forward and I look forward to working with him over the next couple of years.”
“We are very lucky that we are entering arguably the most exciting period to be an Irish cricketer, so to be able to lead the guys into this will be a great honour and challenge, and one that I’m looking forward to immensely.”
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