Stirling makes his mark on international stage
Tue, Jan 19, 2010 5:32 PM
Ireland star Paul Stirling has already sparkled on the international cricketing stage - and is now making a lasting impression at the ICC U19 World Cup as well with a cracking century against the USA in his side's final group match.
The Belfast born-and-bred 18-year-old says his family got him into the game at an early age. There was a club nearby and with some good coaching in the basics he was well placed to prosper.
And the results have been impressive to date, with the hard-hitting right-hander looking every bit the world class player he promises to be. Stirling also gets through a few overs of spin, adding to his appeal.
He was the leading run-scorer at the ICC U19 Cricket World Cup 2010 Qualifier including 164 in 128 balls against Vanuatu and a 117-ball century against the Netherlands.
His rapid rise to the Irish senior team has seen him play six ODI's since his debut against New Zealand in Aberdeen in August 2008. He has a high score of 84 so far and is averaging 25.60, including an impressive 30 off 26 against England in August last year.
He also played one Twenty20 game at the ICC World Twenty20 in England last year, scoring a brisk 17 off 16 balls against Pakistan.
"It's been a great experience playing at the greatest level you can for Ireland and hopefully there'll be plenty more to come in the next few years,he said.
He played a few games for English county Middlesex at age-grade level and signed a full-time contract with them late last year. The deal allows him to play for Ireland whenever required, which is ideal, he says. "It's something I've always wanted to do, play cricket day in and day out.
Ricky Ponting is his favourite cricketer and was one of the reasons he wanted to be a batsman. "I've just watched him from a very early age. He's probably one of the best batsmen ever."
However, he compares his own game more to New Zealand opener Jesse Ryder. "I think maybe we're pretty similar in a few aspects - hit the boundary and make sure there's not too many three's," he says, laughing.
Approaching the mid-point in the tournament, Ireland is concentrating on the Plate competition and wants to win it after disappointing results against South Africa and Australia, he says. The U19 CWC format is great because it gives second-tier teams something to strive for beyond the group stage, he says.