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End of an era as Porterfield steps down

AFTER an incredible 11 years at the helm of the Ireland men’s cricket team, William Porterfeild has stepped down as captain with Andrew Balbirnie taking over.

The former Donemana man replaced Trent Johnston as skipper in 2008 and has led the senior Irish side 253 times since then.

He has, by some considerable distance, captained the most matches for Ireland, and – at the time of stepping down – was the longest-serving current national captain in an Irish team sport.

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Adding to his longevity in leadership roles, Porterfield had also led national youth sides from Under-13s level upwards, and also took the reins of an ICC Combined Associate and Affiliate XI side that played an England XI in 2012. He led Ireland to two 50-over World Cups and five T20 World Cups, but perhaps his most significant moment as captain was leading Ireland Men’s team out at its historic first-ever Test match in May 2018.

Porterfield is determined to continue playing in the international arena, and believes he now has an opportunity to support the transition to a new captain.

He 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.

“The one thing that I will not miss, though, is knocking on someone’s hotel door to tell them they will not be playing!”

FULL STORY IN THURSDAY’S STRABANE CHRONICLE…

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