Paul Stirling in buoyant mood ahead of World T20 qualifiers

Ireland is ready to make up for a lost time, according to Paul Stirling, and will take nothing for granted in the upcoming ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2021.

After failing to qualify for the 50-over event in 2019, the country has been absent from cricket’s top table for five years, with the sprint format competition being delayed by a year due to the coronavirus outbreak.

The 31-year-old has had the opportunity to tour the world on the franchise circuit, which not all of his team-mates have – but even the seasoned batter is desperate for Ireland to make an impact at a World Cup once more.

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Paul Stirling. Source:

Stirling, who is Ireland’s highest run-scorer in both white-ball forms and just hit his first IT20 century against Zimbabwe, may have a lot riding on his shoulders.


With a match-winning 61 in the final of The Hundred in August, he also helped Southern Brave win the tournament, and his drive for the World Cup opener in Belfast remains the same.

“It means a lot to me. The older you get, the more you tend to not take things for granted, especially with this five-year gap,” Stirling said.

“When I was certainly younger, we tended to play in most of the World Cups and it became almost an automatic thing where not that you took it for granted but you assumed you would hopefully get there and perform well.

“But that sort of dried up with the 10-team World Cup coming in for 2019 and then the T20 not being on for five years adds a different perspective that these things don’t happen all the time, so we need to cherish it while it is here.

“There will be a real enjoyment factor for us and playing with a youthful squad helps.

“It brings that little bit of youth in yourself and reminds you of why you play cricket.”

Ireland will play five matches before the competition begins on October 18. With a crucial meeting against the Netherlands in Group A of the opening round.

Following that are key matches against Sri Lanka and Namibia. With the Green and Whites hoping to improve on a poor T20 World Cup record in comparison to their 50-over exploits.

Only the second time in the tournament’s history, they’d advance to the next round if they finished in the top two.

Paul Stirling prepared to grab the T20 cup with his team

In the ongoing Indian Premier League (IPL) 2021, the grounds at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium have produced some low-scoring matches. This is in stark contrast to the demands of the game’s shortest format.

The format necessitates slam-bang action, and Ireland batsman Paul Stirling has raised concern over the type of pitches.

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While Stirling is shocked that the arena does not host high-scoring contests. He is also aware that his team must prepare thoroughly to face spinners in the forthcoming major event.

“It is a good question. We have been watching the IPL and seeing how the pitches are behaving.

“It was a surprise to see the wickets at Sharjah. It is such a small ground, usually, it is one of the flattest wickets in the world.

“Abu Dhabi tends to be slow but it does not change much,” Stirling told ANI.

On October 18, Ireland will play the Netherlands in the opening match of the tournament. The match is held at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi.

The next two games will be held on October 20 and 22 against Sri Lanka and Namibia, respectively.

Paul Stirling T20 preparations and training

Paul Stirling’s maiden T20 century gave Ireland a 40-run victory and a 2-1 lead in the five-match series against Zimbabwe.

The opener batted his way through a T20 innings for the first time. Surpassing his previous best score of 95 against the West Indies last year to delight the cricket-crazed north-west fans.

Most of it was preserved for the final two overs, which effectively ended the game.

In his final 11 balls, he smashed half of his eight sixes and two of his eight fours. Pushing Ireland to a total of 178 for two, the best total in Ireland outside of Malahide.

Nonetheless, his first message to the players’ tent was that it was a difficult wicket.

“It was a tricky start and I was just glad to get through the new ball.

“It was one of the worst powerplays in terms of runs we’ve had in a long time so to win from behind the eight-ball was what was really special about today,” he said.

“We don’t do it that often and it’s something we can take great confidence from.

“To get a few runs was nice. I was just looking to get us to an above-par score which we felt was around 150-160, so it was great to get 20 runs in the bank.”

Stirling and Kevin O’Brien combined for 33 runs in the first six powerplay overs. With O’Brien holed out to mid-off on the penultimate ball.

Andrew Balbirnie was content to give Stirling the strike as much as possible. He still managed to hit a six and three fours, while Shane Getkate added three boundaries to keep the momentum going.

Paul Stirling stats in 2021

Stirling, who was born in Belfast, made his ODI debut when he was just 17 years old. In 2009, he represented Ireland in the World Twenty20 in England. In December of the same year, he signed a three-year contract with Middlesex.

The next year, he demonstrated his ability by smashing a 134-ball 177 for Ireland against Canada in Toronto. Setting a new record for an Irishman in an ODI.

While he struggled during the 2011 World Cup, he finished with 101 in Ireland’s triumph over the Netherlands. A century in Ireland’s ODI series against Pakistan in May 2011 had Waqar Younis purring.

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In Ireland’s match against Pakistan two years later, he added another against the same opponents.

Stirling also showed his big-game attitude by smashing 79 off 38 balls and 76 off 43 balls against Afghanistan.

While Stirling shone in limited-overs cricket for Middlesex, he was relegated to the second eleven in the Championship. When he did get a shot in 2014, he averaged 43.87 in six games. Indicating that he could handle the switch from white to the red ball.

Despite a back ailment that has restricted his ability to bowl, Stirling is a capable backup offspinner.

He has frequently bowled his full allocation of overs for Ireland in ODIs.He was Ireland’s most economical bowler during their 2011 World Cup triumph over England in Bangalore, with 1-45 from ten overs.

Stirling had been a peculiar case in first-class cricket for a long time. For Middlesex, the disparity between his first-class and restricted overs returns had been frustrating.

Prior to his first Championship century, he averaged 27.77 against the red ball for the county. But 41.46 in one-day cricket.

So the century against Yorkshire at Lord’s in 2017 was a wonderful celebration of Ireland’s promotion to Test status. This was formally confirmed just a few days later on the other side of the Thames at The Oval.

Ireland was anxious to strengthen club standards as its international stature expanded. But a century for Stirling’s boyhood club, Cliftonville, later that summer prompted some animosity. Earlier rules prohibited players with a recent first-class experience from participating at this level.

After Stirling demolished their attack, a tweet from Armagh characterised it as “farcical”. Stirling captained Ireland for the first time at the Hong Kong Sixes in 2018. He was frequently called upon to fill in when a first-choice skipper was unavailable.

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