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Stirling excited by future after committing to Irish

 

Paul Stirling
Paul Stirling

By Ian Callender

Paul Stirling has committed his future to Ireland and will leave English county Middlesex at the end of this season.

From next year, Stirling would have been classified as an overseas player, so had to make a choice between continuing his county career or playing international cricket and, on his 29th birthday, Ireland's icon player, who has scored over 8,000 runs in 260 matches and taken 100 wickets, has gone down the latter route.

"It has been a real privilege to represent Middlesex Cricket over the last decade," said Stirling.

"I am looking forward to the next chapter with Ireland. With a busy year in 2020 and the T20 World Cup Qualifier coming up, it is an exciting time to be a part of."

The schedule for the qualifying tournament was announced yesterday by the ICC, and Ireland will be based in Abu Dhabi for all six group games. They will be in Group B alongside hosts UAE, the only team seeded above them, Hong Kong, their first opponents on October 18, Oman, Canada, Jersey and Nigeria.

The winners of the group qualify for next year's finals in Australia, but the teams who finish second to fourth in each of the two groups will go through to play-offs to decide the other four qualifiers who will join the 10 top-ranked sides in the finals.

Scotland are seeded to top Group A ahead of Holland, Papua New Guinea, Namibia, Singapore, Kenya and Bermuda.

Ireland's T20 World Cup qualifying schedule: October 18 v Hong Kong, Oct 19 v UAE, Oct 21 v Oman, Oct 23 v Canada, Oct 25 v Jersey, Oct 26 v Nigeria. All games in Sheik Zayed Stadium, Abu Dhabi.

Play-offs: October 29: A2 v B3, B2 v A3. Oct 30: A4 v Loser of Play-off 1, B4 v Loser of Play-off 2.

Semi-finals: November 1. Final: November 2. All games in Dubai International Stadium.

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