December 28, 1990, Dublin, Ireland
Right hand bat
Right arm offbreak
St Andrew's College, Dublin
Andrew Balbirnie was another Irish player to follow the path to Middlesex when he signed in 2014 after completing a degree at Cardiff University and coming through the Middlesex academy. However, his stay in county cricket came to an end in 2016 when he was released by mutual consent following a struggle with a hip problem which required surgery and limited his opportunities.
But after recovering from that injury, his international career began to flourish. He made his first first-class hundred in the Intercontinental Cup against Netherlands in 2017, before hitting his maiden ODI hundreds in the winter of 2017-18 - against UAE then Scotland. Those innings helped him cement the No. 3 spot in all formats, and despite a pair in Ireland's first-ever Test against Pakistan in 2018, he continued to grow in confidence.
His power game improved immeasurably, as did his ability against spin in the middle overs with his hard sweeps becoming a signature shot. He hit three more ODI tons in 2019 - against Afghanistan in India, and at home to West Indies and Zimbabwe - and seemed like a natural choice when handed the captaincy that winter. After leading them to a draw in the T20I series in the Caribbean at the start of the year, his finest hour in his first year as skipper came in England in 2020: he led them to a famous win at the Ageas Bowl, putting on 214 for the second wicket with Paul Stirling.
Balbirnie captained Ireland in the 2010 Under-19 World Cup, having been a member of the squad in the 2008 tournament. He had his first taste of international cricket in 2010, but it was not until 2014 that he started to flourish when he pressed his claims by top-scoring on their World Cup acclimatisation tour of Australia and New Zealand in the autumn of 2014 and he confirmed the impression by hitting 129, off just 96 balls, against a strong New Zealand A side in Dubai.
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