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Paul Stirling
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Paul Stirling

Ireland|Batting allrounder
Paul Stirling

INTL CAREER: 2008 - 2021

Full Name

Paul Robert Stirling

Born

September 03, 1990, Belfast

Age

30y 256d

Batting Style

Right hand bat

Bowling Style

Right arm offbreak

Playing Role

Batting allrounder

relations

(brother)

TEAMS

Paul Stirling has long been recognised as a formidable cricketing talent both in Ireland and beyond. Before his 23rd birthday, he had already hit two ODI centuries against Pakistan. With a natural swagger and belligerence allied to a portly build, Stirling has evoked comparisons with Jesse Ryder. He generates huge power with seemingly little effort and is particularly strong lashing the ball straight or pulling the ball over midwicket.

Born in Belfast, Stirling made his ODI debut at the age of just 17. He played for Ireland in the World Twenty20 in England in 2009, and then signed a three-year contract with Middlesex in December 2009. The following year he gave further notice of his talent by thumping a 134-ball 177 for Ireland against Canada in Toronto - the highest ODI score made by an Irishman. While he struggled in the 2011 World Cup, he ended the tournament with 101 in Ireland's victory against the Netherlands, and a century in Ireland's ODI series against Pakistan in May 2011 had Waqar Younis purring. He added another against the same opponents in Ireland's tie with Pakistan two years later. Stirling also revealed his big match temperament with a pair of blistering innings - 79 off 38 balls and 76 off 43 balls - against Afghanistan in the finals of the World T20 qualifiers in 2012 and 2013.

While Stirling made a fine impression for Middlesex in limited overs cricket, he languished in the second eleven in the Championship. But when he got a chance in 2014, he averaged 43.87 in six games, suggesting that he was capable of managing the transition between the white and red ball. Although he has been troubled by a back injury, which has limited his ability to bowl, Stirling is also a highly competent back-up offspinner. He has frequently bowled his full allocation of overs for Ireland in ODIs and, with 1-45 from ten overs, was Ireland's most economical bowled during their victory over England in Bangalore in the 2011 World Cup.

Stirling had long been a curious case in first-class cricket. The discrepancy between his first-class and limited overs returns for Middlesex had been infuriating. Before his maiden Championship hundred, he averaged 27.77 for the county against the red ball, but 41.46 in one-day cricket. So that century, against Yorkshire at Lord's in 2017, was a perfect celebration of Ireland's elevation to Test status which was formally confirmed on the other side of the Thames, at The Oval, a few days later. "It's about time I did this and also about time I started to score more consistently. That said, I don't want to take away my natural instinct to play attacking cricket. That's the balance I have to find."

Ireland were eagerly seeking to develop club standards as their status in international cricket grew but another century upon Stirling's return to play for his boyhood club, Cliftonville, caused brief resentment later that summer as rules excluded players with recent first-class experience from playing at this standard. "Farcical" was how a tweet from Armagh described it after Stirling bulldozed their attack. Stirling captained Ireland for the first time in 2018 at the Hong Kong Sixes, and often found himself filling in when a first-choice skipper was elsewhere.

As his belligerent form in white-ball internationals continued, Stirling found himself forced to make an unexpected choice in 2019 on account of Ireland's ascent to Test status: either, he could continue to play for Ireland, but count as an overseas player in county cricket, or he could renew his Middlesex contract but forego his international career. He admitted he was "baffled", but chose the former before signing a short-term deal to play for Northants as their second overseas player in the 2020 T20 Blast, despite being born in Belfast and holding a British passport.


ESPNcricinfo staff

Career Averages

Batting & Fielding
FormatMatInnsNORunsHSAveBFSR100s50s4s6sCtSt
Test3601043617.3317758.750016040
ODI1251223469717739.47535087.791224499109470
T20I7877621249529.911525139.2701825171220
FC701105293214627.92473361.9461441029400
List A2132079750217737.88824790.962034817171830
T2023323211580610926.274073142.54141697211690
Bowling
FormatMatInnsBallsRunsWktsBBIBBMAveEconSR4w5w10w
Test3112110---5.50-000
ODI1257524171926436/556/5544.794.7856.20110
T20I7836486615173/213/2136.177.5928.50000
FC705623381118272/213/3141.402.8686.50000
List A21311534652889706/556/5541.275.0049.50210
T2023311215411883724/104/1026.157.3321.40100
Paul Robert Stirling
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Photos


Paul Stirling celebrates getting to a second successive century against Afghanistan
Paul Stirling faces up to Naveen-ul-Haq
Paul Stirling goes big down the ground
Paul Stirling celebrates his century
Paul Stirling and Harry Tector go through for a single
Paul Stirling batted with great intent at the start