Ireland duo look forward to participation in Afghanistan Premier League

Waseem Ahmed 13:57 02/10/2018
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Kevin O'Brien will turn out for Kandahar Knights.

When the inaugural edition of the Afghanistan Premier League (APL) gets underway in Sharjah this year, two Ireland stars will be turning out for the Kandahar Knights.

Kevin O’Brien and Paul Stirling will be flying the Irish flag high with the Knights when the T20 tournament begins on October 5.

While Stirling was picked by the Knights in the player draft held on September 10, O’Brien received his call up only last week.

O’Brien, who became Ireland’s maiden Test centurion earlier this summer, revealed his delight on getting the call for the APL.

“I’m delighted to be heading over with Stirlo (Stirling) to Sharjah to join the Kandahar Knights,” the Irishman was quoted as saying by the BBC.

“The call came late last week that I was being offered an opportunity in the APL and it took a matter of seconds for me to say yes,” he added.

The two Ireland stars will be lining up under former New Zealand skipper Brendon McCullum in the Knights squad. O’Brien believes he can benefit tremendously by sharing the dressing room with the Kiwi stalwart.

O'Brien joins his Ireland team-mate Paul Stirling in the Knights' squad.

O’Brien joins his Ireland team-mate Paul Stirling in the Knights’ squad.

“He’s a captain who encourages his team to have confidence in yourself and express yourself on the field, whether with bat or ball in hand,” O’Brien said about McCullum.

“When you are sitting in a dressing room surrounded by some of the world’s elite cricketers, you can learn so much in their mindset and approach to playing and training,” he continued.

Stirling, on his part, believes his and O’Brien’s participation in the league would be beneficial to Irish cricket.

“With the World T20 Qualifier around the corner next year, I think it’s really important to have Irish players at these tournaments, bringing the experiences gained back into the Ireland set-up,” the Ireland batsman stated.

“We’ve seen how it has improved the Afghanistan side inside two years where they have had a handful of players play in the Big Bash and IPL getting used to playing day-in day-out against the best in the world,” he added.

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