Paul Stirling will play for a third different county in successive seasons in the T20 Blast this summer after being snapped up by Warwickshire yesterday.
The Ireland vice-captain, who was with Middlesex last year, will be available for all but two of the Bears’ 14 group games, starting on May 26 against Northamptonshire Steelbacks, the team he played for in 2020, through to June 24.
Stirling will then return home in time for Ireland’s opening game of the season two days later, when they meet India in Malahide in the first of their 15 internationals over the following two months.
The Bears will be captained this year by West Indian Carlos Brathwaite — their other overseas player — who won the 2016 T20 World Cup final with four successive sixes in the last over, and Stirling’s opening partner will be another newcomer, Alex Davies after his move from Lancashire.
After confirmation of his signing, Stirling said: “I’m incredibly excited to join up with the Bears for this year’s Vitality Blast. They were the masters of the red-ball game last year (county champions), but also have big ambitions in white-ball cricket and want to be playing at home on Finals Day.
“I’m also relishing making Edgbaston my home. It’s one of the top grounds in the world with a fan base who are renowned for generating the best atmosphere in the game. It’s going to be a special few weeks and I can’t wait to get started.”
Bears Director of Cricket Paul Fabrace, who was head coach of Sri Lanka when they won the T20 World Cup in 2014, expects Stirling to be a “transformational signing” for the county in this year’s Blast.
“Paul is one of the most powerful openers in the T20 game and has lots of experience on the biggest stage,” he said. “We now have an incredibly exciting line-up for Carlos to lead when we take the field at Edgbaston on May 26.”