Ireland cricketers eye participation in ‘pinnacle of T20 cricket’ IPL
- India vs Ireland: Andrew Balbirnie will be leading an Ireland squad which consists of several players who ply their trade in T20 leagues around the world, and significantly in the T20 Vitality Blast in England.
India will be visiting Ireland for a two-match T20I series beginning on June 26 in Dublin. Hardik Pandya will lead the Indian side in the absence of regular captain Rohit Sharma and other top stars like Virat Kohli, KL Rahul, Rishabh Pant. Barring the injured Rahul, the rest are in England preparing for the Birmingham Test starting on July 1. Despite the absence of big stars, the Indian side touring Ireland for a bilateral series is set to be a big boost for them. Ahead of the two-match series, Ireland captain Andrew Balbirnie spoke about how playing in the IPL is an objective of several Irish players.
Speaking to Times of India, he said: “We have a number of players who are good at the T20 format. We are all aware how competitive it is to get into the IPL. That's a huge ambition for a lot of us. That's the pinnacle of T20 cricket.”
Balbirnie will be leading a squad which consists of several players who ply their trade in T20 leagues around the world, and significantly in the T20 Vitality Blast in England. They boast of players of the calibre of Paul Stirling, who has over 2700 runs in just over 100 appearances in the shortest format of the game. Stirling went unsold at the IPL auction in 2022, but he, along with many other members of the Irish squad, will hope strong performances against India will earn them consideration.
"You see how quickly certain players develop when they get access to the league. We have a number of players who play in different leagues but not the IPL. When they come back to the Irish team, they bring a lot of experience and learning,” said Balbirnie.
The Irish captain also made it clear that they were playing the series to win, and would relish the pressure of inviting a visiting team to Ireland’s shores, all the while hoping India’s young and inexperienced outfit would feel the pressure themselves. Said Balbirnie: “They are all looking to impress. There are a lot of players in this Indian T20 side who are looking for a spot in the full-strength team. So, they will be under pressure also.”
The two-match series kicks off on Sunday, June 26, at Dublin’s Malahide Cricket Club Ground, also known as the Village.