Ireland captain Andy Balbirnie has been ruled out of the final two one-day internationals (ODI) against Zimbabwe after getting on the helmet in the series opener, which they lost by three wickets in a rain-interrupted game in Harare. Paul Stirling will serve as the stand-in captain, and uncapped Murray Commins was named as Balbirnie’s replacement.
Skipper Balbirnie, playing his 200th international game, scored his eighth ODI century with an unbeaten 121 runs off 137 balls with 13 fours and 3 sixes. The full toss was deflected into the grill of his helmet and promptly fell to the ground. He was forced to leave the field after lengthy treatment from physio Mark Rausa. He was able to walk off the field with assistance.
Balbirnie was reported to be fine that night, but an assessment the next morning revealed he was still experiencing mild concussion symptoms. Paul Stirling took over as captain on Wednesday and will lead the side in the remaining games. Gareth Delaney is set to replace Balbirnie in the starting lineup.
Decision Has Been Made To Withdraw Him As A Precaution
“Andrew Balbirnie sustained a suspected mild concussive episode after being struck on the helmet while batting in yesterday’s match against Zimbabwe,” Mark Rausa, head of physiotherapy and medical services for Cricket Ireland, said.
“He retired hurt and did not take the field in the second innings in line with concussion protocols. He was reassessed this morning, but the decision has been made to withdraw him from the remaining two matches of this series as a precaution.”
Murray Commins, who is currently playing cricket in South Africa, will travel to Harare on Thursday after being called up to the senior team for the first time. Cummins scored a half-century for the A team when Zimbabwe visited Ireland in 2021. He struggled in Ireland’s domestic 50-over competition last year, but he scored a century in the T20 competition.