Warwickshire have acquired the services of Paul Stirling as a cover for the Australian all-rounder Glenn Maxwell, who is set to feature for the Royal Challengers Bangalore in the Indian Premier League.
The 34-year-old signed a contract with Warwickshire for the Blast season, scheduled from May 20 to June 15. With the summit clash of this year's IPL slated for May 28, Maxwell, in all likelihood, will miss the first few games of the Blast due to his commitments with the Bangalore-based franchise.
The Irish opening batter will play a couple of games for Warwickshire at the start of the season, and depending on the fortunes of RCB, the exact number of matches will be decided. Warwickshire also have Hasan Ali, the Pakistan pacer, as their second overseas player in the squad.
"We're very lucky to be able to call on somebody of Paul's calibre as cover. It's a short-term deal to cover what could be as little as one or up to three or four matches after the Blast Off, " Mark Robinson, Warwickshire's coach, told ESPN Cricinfo.
"Paul made a big impact last season, and the one over in which he hit five sixes and one four in an over will live long in the memory of Bears' fans. But he was also great to have in the Club and around the dressing room. He's a great lad with huge domestic and international experience," he further added.
Stirling has received a No Objection Certificate from the Ireland cricket board, which means he will miss out on the one-off Test match against England starting on June 1 at the Home of Cricket in London.
Heinrich Malan, coach of Ireland, suggested that the sole focus of Stirling will be on white-ball cricket ahead of the ODI World Cup later this year in India.
"It was a mutual discussion over more than one coffee. It's all about making sure that we find a balance between him playing for Ireland and then, obviously some of his commitments he has around the leagues."
"This year, with a big white-ball focus in terms of a pinnacle event in the World Cup, we got to that agreement that, up until the World Cup, he will only play white-ball cricket for us," he concluded.