Stirling effort from Ireland all-rounder

Ireland opening batsman Paul Stirling is more renowned for his work with the bat rather than his athleticism in the field

By Ed Leahy

Ireland all-rounder Paul Stirling has proved that he is the complete cricketer after displaying some amazing acrobatic skills playing in the Bangladesh Premier League.

Primarily renowned for his big hitting and quick scoring as Ireland’s opening batsman, Stirling is also pretty handy with the ball in hand, delivering his right-arm off breaks.

But now the Belfast boy has shown that when it comes to working in the field, he is up there with the best after saving six runs with a phenomenal piece of fielding playing with BPL side Sylhet Royals.

That superb piece of fielding came in last week’s match against Ireland team-mates Kevin and Niall O’Brien, who are also in Bangladesh playing with the Rangpur Riders.

Stirling was again in form in today’s Royals victory over Khulna Royal Bengals after scoring a quick-fire 66 off 39 deliveries, playing alongside West Indies legendary batsman Shivnarine Chanderpaul.

Sylhet Royals have qualified for the BPL semi-finals and Stirling may be joined by the O’Brien brothers, whose Rangpur side need to win their final match against Barisal Burners to have a chance of qualifying for the last-four.

Elsewhere, Ireland captain Will Porterfield has signed a two-year contract extension with LV= County Championship Division One champions Warwickshire until the end of the 2015 season.

Opening batsman Porterfield's current deal was due to run out at the end of next summer.

The 28-year-old has made 72 appearances in all competitions for Warwickshire since joining them from Gloucestershire two years ago.

Warwickshire's director of cricket Dougie Brown said: "Because of a reduced international calendar, this is the first winter where we've seen a lot of William here at Edgbaston.

"His attitude and commitment towards pre-season training has made a great impact on other members of the squad.

"He's made great strides in the last few months and we had no hesitation in offering him a chance to commit himself to Warwickshire for the foreseeable future.

"His opening stand of 126 with Varun Chopra in the CB40 semi-final at Old Trafford demonstrated his maturity and ability to perform on the biggest stage.

"His challenge is to do this consistently across all formats of the game and prove himself to be one of the leading batsmen in the domestic game."

Porterfield said: "I've had two fantastic seasons already with Warwickshire and with such a strong squad and a great chance to win more silverware, it was an easy decision to extend my stay here at Edgbaston.

"The majority of the squad has been playing together for a few seasons and we're all really looking forward to competing for more honours in the new season."