Andrew Balbirnie: Potential Ireland captain?

By Gerard Mulreaney (@gerardmulreaney)

Lately there’s been talk that Ireland captain William Porterfield’s position is under threat due to very poor form with the bat, culminating in a disappointing performance for the North West Warriors in La Manga this week.

Porterfield was bowled out for just 11 runs, by 19 year-old Harry Tector, as the Warriors lost by 118 runs to the Northern Knights in their opening Test Triangle IP50 game. Not the type of performance Ireland head coach Graham Ford was looking for ahead of the big One-Day International against England in Malahide next week.

With the selectors set to name the squad for that game shortly, the question on many people’s lips if Porterfield loses the captaincy would be, who would replace him!

If current form is taken into account, then 28 year-old Dubliner Andrew Balbirnie would be on that list.

Balbirnie, who said recently that he needs to find consistency, seems to have found that of late. He followed up a match-winning performance in the 3rd ODI against Afghanistan, where he scored 145 not out, with 82 in the Test defeat to the same opposition in March. Then, in the opening game of the Test Triangle IP 50 Balbirnie top-scored for the Leinster Lightning, scoring 125 off 126 balls, to help them to victory over the Northern Knights.

When I asked him recently if he’d like to become captain of Ireland some day, Balbirnie was quite diplomatic, “If it happened, of course I’d happily take it, but I suppose for me at the moment all I want to do is cement my place. You never want to be too complacent in your position. I’ve had a good run, but I want to take it to the next level. If the chance comes, and William is still the captain now and is doing a great job, Gary’s the T20 captain so if it happens it happens but at the moment all I want to do is score as many runs as possible.”

Should Porterfield keep the captaincy for the game against England, it surely won’t be long before Balbirnie’s name comes back into the equation!

Picture Credit: ICC Cricket

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