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England ODIs a chance to show what Ireland are capable of: Paul Stirling

Last updated on 20 Sep 2023 | 06:05 AM
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England ODIs a chance to show what Ireland are capable of: Paul Stirling

The last time the two sides met - be it in an ODI or a T20I - it was Ireland who walked away with the win

Ireland captain Paul Stirling will go into the three-match One-Day International (ODI) series against England with fond memories of having scored a ton the last time these two sides met in Southampton in 2020. Ireland not only managed to win that, but two years down the line, they also beat England in the T20 World Cup 2022 in Melbourne.

Zak Crawley will lead England and will not have any of their World Cup-bound players, barring Joe Root (for first ODI), but Stirling feels that it is the depth that has made England strong over the years, and his side will not take them lightly.

“It does feel like a long time ago, especially as it was under COVID circumstances, but I suppose there is that winning feeling from that day in Southampton for the players that were there," Stirling said.

“I know whenever we get over to England - coming and seeing what cricket is all about in one of the best countries for cricket in the world - it really excites our players. We know whoever plays [for England], they're going to be quality cricketers. I think why England have been such a good team recently is that their strength in depth is so high. I think they could probably replace any of their top eleven with another player, and it would not be too dissimilar how they go about their business.

“We know what we're coming up against will be strong, but any series we play against top-tier sides, we would be looking at getting a scalp. That would be a realistic ambition, certainly, to come and get a win and definitely compete on all areas throughout. This is the format we all love to play, and personally, I’m very excited - it's maybe my favourite format. 

"We’re really looking forward to getting out there in what are familiar conditions - even though it’s pretty late on in the calendar year, everyone's really buzzing to get out there and play. This is a good opportunity for us to show what we're capable of.”

Ireland fared poorly in the World Cup Qualifiers earlier this year and missed out on a chance to participate in the 2023 edition. The tournament also ended Andy Balbirnie's stint as Ireland captain, paving the way for the Stirling era. However, Stirling remains positive and sees the England series as the beginning of the road to the 2027 World Cup, echoing his head coach Heinrich Malan's thoughts.

“We actually played some really good 50-over cricket during that last cycle, it was just at the wrong time. I think halfway in between World Cups, we were probably playing our best cricket against some of the best sides in the world. We were coming pretty close, especially on home turf, but we couldn't quite keep that full momentum into the qualifiers," Stirling said.

 “It’s up to us now to work out how we're going to be in our best place come those next qualifiers in, probably, 2027. But that's the exciting part – we’re at the very start of a new cycle. I would say that there is not too much pressure on at the minute, but certainly, we want to be in the right place at the right time.” 

The ODIs against England kickstarts on Wednesday (September 20) at Headingley. The following two games will be played at Trent Bridge (September 23) and Bristol (September 26).

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