Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 23 October 2014

Stirling caps super year with £18k contract to play in BPL

Paul Stirling will play in the Bangladesh Premier League next year - with the blessing of Cricket Ireland.

Stirling, the 22-year-old Ireland opening batsman, was yesterday bought for £18,500 by the Sylhet Royals, one of seven franchises who will take part in the 2013 BPL, which starts on January 18.

This year the inaugural tournament clashed with Ireland’s tour of Kenya and it cost Niall O’Brien, who played in Bangladesh, a place in the World Twenty20 Qualifiers the following month.

This year, there is no fixtures clash - Ireland are not due back in action until March - but, ironically, O’Brien and Gary Wilson remained unsold after the auction.

However, Kevin O’Brien, who was surprisingly not bought after his exploits at the 2011 World Cup, will also be involved this year after being bought for £28,000. He will play for the Rangpur Riders, who are making their debut.

It is Stirling, though, who could be the biggest hit at the Twenty20 tournament and he looks to be a bargain at $30,000.

He has a strike rate of 127 for Ireland in his 37 T20 games (Kevin O’Brien is second with 120) with his innings of 79 in the World T20 qualifying final against Afghanistan last March the most memorable of 2012. His first 50 came in 17 balls, the second fastest ever.

It has been a good end to the year for Stirling, as well, with his BPL contract coming just seven days after he signed a new three-year contract with Middlesex.

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