Andrew Balbirnie replaces William Porterfield as Ireland captain
Porterfield to remain in the side after relinquishing the role he had held since 2008
Andrew Balbirnie is to replace William Porterfield as Ireland captain. Photograph: Oisin Keniry/Inpho
Porterfield - the first cricketer to lead Ireland in a Test match, against Pakistan in May 2018 - steps down after taking over from Trent Johnston in 2008.
He led Ireland on 253 occasions, including two Cricket World Cups, and hopes to continue representing the side as a batsman.
His decision paves the way for Balbirnie to take over, with the former Middlesex batsman to marshal Ireland in all forms of the game.
On his appointment, the 28-year-old said: “To be asked to captain my country is an absolute honour and one that I am very excited about as we move into a busy new year. It’s a proud moment not just for me but also for my family and everyone who has been there on my cricket journey so far - especially my coaches, teammates and friends at Pembroke Cricket Club.
“Since 2008 William has been an amazing leader on and off the field, not just to me but anyone who has been lucky to represent Ireland.
“Taking over from our greatest captain will certainly be a hard act to follow but one I’m looking forward to getting into. William still has a huge role to play in this team going forward and I look forward to working with him over the next couple of years.”
Meanwhile Porterfeld - who was the longest serving Irish captain in any sport - said: “”It has been an incredible journey, and a fantastic honour to have captained my country over the past 11 and a half years. There have been many highs, along with a few lows along the way, but I can honestly say that it has been thoroughly enjoyable.
“To have been able to lead Ireland out at various World Cups, through to our first Test against Pakistan, and again at Lord’s in the summer, have been but a few of these highlights. I feel incredibly lucky and privileged to have done so.
“I feel, and in consultation with Cricket Ireland, that now is the right time to hand over that mantle. With the ODI league starting in the summer it will allow Balbo time to get into the swing of things.
“I feel that the selectors have made a great choice in appointing Balbo and that it has come at a great time for him personally being on top of his game, and with more to come. Having spoken to him, I know how honoured and excited he is to get going. I’m looking forward to helping and supporting Balbo in any way I can, and seeing him lead Ireland forward.”
Balbirnie’s first international match as captain will be on January 7th, as Ireland take on the West Indies in an ODI in Barbados.