Ireland news May 27, 2015

Joyce and Murtagh retire from T20s

ESPNcricinfo staff

Together till the end: Ed Joyce and Tim Murtagh have hung up their T20 boots © AFP

Ireland's Ed Joyce and Tim Murtagh have announced their retirement from Twenty20 cricket. Both men's decision took into account their country's prospects of more 50-over cricket and a long-format debut.

"With potentially more ODIs in the next few years and the possibility of Test cricket in the near future as well, I feel like I'd be able to contribute more in these formats if I stop playing T20," the 36-year old Joyce said.

He had made his T20 international debut in June 2006, in England colours. His first game for Ireland came six years later against Kenya in February 2012. He tallied 404 runs from 16 matches at an average of 36.72 for Ireland, the country's best, and was part of two World T20s. And although its next edition is due in 2016, Joyce was confident Ireland have enough resources to pose a threat.

"Added to this is the emergence of exciting young batsman Andy Balbirnie, so I know the T20 team should be in good hands going forward," he said. Balbirnie, 24, is yet to make his 20-overs debut for Ireland but was part of their impressive World Cup campaign, with back-to-back half-centuries.

Murtagh, the 33-year old fast bowler, cited the increase in the amount to cricket and hoped the decision would help him be at his best for his county Middlesex and Ireland.

"I haven't played much T20 cricket for Middlesex recently," he said. "There's such a busy schedule these days, and with a lot of cricket coming up for Ireland and Middlesex, I'm now maybe at an age as a bowler where some formats of the game are having to take priority."

Murtagh played seven T20 internationals and picked up as many wickets. His first appearance was in June 2012 against Australia and his last was against Netherlands in the World T20 in March 2014.

Ireland's chairman of selectors Alan Lewis expressed no surprise at this development. "Wise men make the right decisions at the right time and this is no different. I can't speak highly enough of both," he said, "Both players are the wrong side of 30 ,but the heartening piece for us is their total commitment to the longer formats and ultimately our desire to play Test cricket in the future."