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Big-hitter Stirling goes unsold in Indian Premier auction


By Ian Callender

The wait for an Ireland player to take part in the lucrative Indian Premier League goes on after Paul Stirling became the latest player to be left in the cold in this year's auction.

There were no bids for the big- hitting opening batsman in his first attempt to take part in the Twenty20 tournament this April but he was in good company with Dubliner Eoin Morgan, the England T20 captain and Joe Root the Test skipper also unsold.

Once again England all-rounder Ben Stokes, despite facing a court case next month on a charge of affray, was the big earner, being bought for £1.4 million.

However, four Afghanistan players, including 17-year-old Mujeeb Zadran were snapped up.

Stirling can now concentrate his energies on helping Ireland reach next year's ICC World Cup finals and the squad received a boost when West Indies, one of their group opponents in the qualifying tournament in Zimbabwe in March, announced their squad, missing four star names.

Although Chris Gayle - bought at the third attempt in the IPL auction for £225,000 - is included, Kieron Pollard, Darren Bravo, Andre Russell and Sunil Narine have all made themselves unavailable, choosing to play in the Pakistan (T20) Super League, which takes place at the same time. As expected, though, Ryan den Doeschate, the Essex captain and Netherlands' stand-out player, is in their squad, to enhance their hopes of challenging for a place in England and Wales 2019.

Meanwhile, Ireland U-19s finished in 13th place at the World Cup finals after beating Papua New Guinea and Namibia in their last two play-off games.

Captain Harry Tector finished the tour on a high with three wickets in the semi-final win over PNG and then scored Ireland's first century of the tournament in the final, 101 out of 288 for six on Saturday in their 102 runs victory.

Meanwhile, Tom Curran bowled England to victory on the first day at Perth's new Optus Stadium and the last of a one-day series. The Surrey seamer took five for 35 to cap a 4-1 series win over Australia. England scrambled to 259 and appeared to have lost control of the chase when Australia reached 192 for four.

But Curran led a stirring comeback, seizing the moment and scattering the tail to seal a 12-run triumph.

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