THE inaugural Lanka (T20) Premier League gets under way on Thursday and with uncertainty over Ireland’s playing schedule in the next few weeks, Paul Stirling has been given clearance by Cricket Ireland to take part in the tournament.
The big-hitting opening batsman arrived in Sri Lanka early yesterday but because of quarantine regulations, he may not be available to play in his side’s opening match on Saturday.
Stirling is one of six foreigners in the Dambulla Viikings squad which, like the other four franchises will play eight games – each of the other teams twice - between today and December 11.
If the Ireland tour is confirmed for next month, however, the Ireland vice-captain will have to leave the tournament, but the early part of December is free for him to play in the LPL.
Among Stirling’s team-mates in the Viikings squad are England’s Samit Patel, Afghanistan’s Samiullah Shinwari and Aftab Alam and Pakistan’s Anwar Ali. All the games will be broadcast on Sky Sports.
Meanwhile, the nominations for the ICC’s Player of the Decade awards have been announced and although no Ireland players have been shortlisted, the statistics for everyone who played from January 1, 2011 to October 7, 2020, are also included.
They show that in the 10-year period, only four players – Rohit Sharma, Shoaib Malik, Virat Kohli and Eoin Morgan - played more T20 internationals than Kevin O’Brien (79) while Stirling played 72 matches and averaged 31.49, with 18 half-centuries, only India captain Kohli hit more.
George Dockrell took 64 wickets for Ireland in the period, placing him fourth in the list of leading wicket-takers behind Rashid Khan, with a remarkable 89 in just 48 matches, Shakib-al-Hasan of Bangladesh and Sri Lanka’s Lasith Malinga.
Stirling is also the leading Ireland batsman in the ODI rankings with 3,378 runs at an average of 36.32, with eight centuries and 18 50s.
Fans have been given the chance to vote on the awards – 10 categories in all - and details are at icc-cricket.com/awards