Paul Stirling has been picked by the Kerala Kings to play in the inaugural T10 cricket league in the UAE next month.
The 27-year-old is the only current Irish player among the star-studded six team tournament, although Kevin O’Brien may well be involved as a replacement option should any of the 90 players withdraw.
Stirling, who remains registered for Cliftonville and also played for NCU Premier League side Carrickfergus, will be skippered by former Irish international Eoin Morgan, who no doubt played a significant part in the hiring of his Middlesex colleague.
Also included in the Kerala Kings line-up are West Indians Kieron Pollard, Samuel Badree, Bangladesh all-rounder Shakib Al-Hasan and Pakistan pace ace Wahab Riaz.
“I’m really looking forward to getting out there for what is a brand new concept,” said Stirling. “Ten overs a side certainly increases the pressure on every ball delivered or faced.
“There are a number of big name players in the competition so from a learning perspective it will be exciting to train and play with them,” added the Belfast man.
Stirling has played 144 T20 matches scoring 3419 runs at an impressive strike rate of 141.40. In addition he has taken 54 wickets with his part-time off-spin and has an economy rate of 6.90.
All the games will take place in the Sharjah International stadium between December 14-17. The venue will be familiar to Stirling, who is scheduled to play in three ODI’s against Afghanistan there in the week leading up to the competition.
It also emerged on Friday that Ed Joyce has withdrawn from Ireland’s squad which leaves on Saturday for the forthcoming ICC InterContinental Cup clash with Scotland and the three-match ODI series against Afghanistan. The 39 year-old suffered a reaction to his ongoing knee problem following last week’s warm weather training at the European Cricket Performance Centre in La Manga.
Fellow Merrion and Leinster Lightning player John Anderson will replace Joyce in the squad, subject to ICC approval. He is currently playing grade cricket in Tasmania.