It's been a pretty boring last few days for Paul Stirling. The Ireland vice-captain is currently quarantining after arriving in Sri Lanka in the early hours of last Wednesday for the inaugural Lanka (T20) Premier League.

He was the only Ireland international snapped up in the auction for the three-week tournament and because of the uncertainty over Ireland’s next action, he was one of the last overseas players to arrive.

The Sri Lanka government instruction is he had to self-isolate in his hotel room for six days so had to be content to watch his side’s first match on Saturday and will have to do the same today when Dambulla Viikings play their second match.

“ Fortunately I’m quite good on my own, so it hasn’t been too much of burden,” Stirling said from his Hambantota room. All the international cricket is on the television, as well as movies and I’m doing plenty of reading.
“The one bad thing is that three meals are delivered at the same time every day, so not when you are hungry!”

Stirling will have to have a negative test tomorrow (at half past midnight) before he can leave his hotel room but if given the all-clear he can then, finally, join his team-mates who by then will be preparing for their third game against Colombo Kings.

After six days in a hotel room, it’s unlikely Stirling will be considered for the game, even though it has an 8pm start, local time, so he may have to wait until the fourth of his side’s eight group games on Thursday.

At least three of the faces in the Dambulla franchise will be familiar to Stirling, having played with Upal Tharanga in a T10 tournament and, of course he knows his two Afghanistan team-mates Samiullah Shinwari and Aftab Alam very well from the many times those teams have met.

Meanwhile, as Stirling and his Ireland team-mates wait to find out when and where their next series will be, It already looks like their World Cup Super League series against Netherlands in June could be played behind closed doors.

The Dutch have postponed their three-match series against England, scheduled for the end of May, because of the “continuing uncertainty regarding the Covid-19 pandemic”. It will now be played in May 2022.
The Netherlands Cricket Board (KNCB) had financed for huge crowds for the visit of the world champions but “the prospect of having to play these matches with hardly any or no spectators was not a viable option”, it said in a statement.

The KNCB have not been in touch with Cricket Ireland about their series, which is due to begin on June 2 in Amstelveen, but with spectator-interest unlikely to be on the same scale, it is understood that the games will still go ahead, with no spectators if necessary.

Ireland’s next World Cup Super League action is scheduled for Abu Dhabi, against Afghanistan, with the games confirmed for January 18, 20 and 23 – Covid permitting!

Ireland are still due to play in the UAE in December with the hosts, Afghanistan and possibly one other team taking part, the final touches to that series are almost complete and an announcement is expected this week.