Stirling ready for Flintoff challenge

Fri, Jul 24, 2009 6:46 PM

Stirling ready for Flintoff challenge
One of the most promising stars in European cricket has revealed that he can't wait to take on the challenge of Andrew Flintoff when Ireland faces England in August.

Paul Stirling, who featured for Ireland during the ICC World Twenty20 2009 and also was part of the squad that won the U/19 qualifier in Europe earlier this week, has admitted he is relishing the opportunity to face one of the world's leading all-rounders.

"It really would be a dream come true if I get my opportunity to face Andrew Flintoff. He showed in the last test just why he's one of the best bowlers in the world, and it'll probably be the last chance any of our guys get to face him. You always want to test yourself against the best, and the only way we'll continue to improve is by challenging ourselves against countries above us in the rankings," said Stirling in an interview with the Cricket Ireland website.

"We've shown in the recent ICC World Twenty20 that we don't look out of our depth on the world stage, and I know just how motivated everyone is to add another big scalp to our name, and with them so close geographically to us, it would be a major boost to the game here. If they treat us lightly, then they could be in for a big surprise."

Stirling, who has won 29 caps for Ireland to date and will celebrate his 19th birthday during the ICC U/19 Cricket World Cup Qualifier in Toronto in September, is hopeful he can follow in the footsteps of other leading Irish players.

"I'd obviously like to follow in the footsteps of William Porterfield, Ed Joyce, Eoin Morgan, Niall O'Brien, and Boyd Rankin, who all have forged pretty successful careers in county cricket. I'm happy enough playing for Ireland though - I'm sure we'll have loads of fixtures in the coming years. I think our success story is only just beginning" he said.

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