How a call from a Dublin GAA star helped new Ireland cricket captain get past injury woes

Balbirnie was this week named as the captain for the Ireland test and one-day teams, replacing William Porterfileld who captained the side over 250 times.

How a call from a Dublin GAA star helped new Ireland cricket captain get past injury woes

New Ireland cricket captain Andrew Balbirnie has revealed that speaking to a Dublin All-Star footballer helped him recover as he awaited an operation for an ongoing hip injury.

Balbirnie was this week named as the captain for the Ireland Test and one-day teams, replacing William Porterfield who captained the side over 250 times.

The Dubliner will lead the team into a big year in 2020 as the Ireland team prepare for a tour to the West Indies in January as they prepare for the T20 World Championship in Australia next October.

Ireland will play in the first group stage of the competition alongside Sri Lanka, Papua New Guina and Oman with two teams progressing to the Super 12 stage of the tournament.

Balbirnie, who has played for Ireland over 100 times across all the formats of the game, has made the step up to captaincy after his career in England was cut short after he sustained a hip injury in the final year of his contract with Middlesex.

He described being in "excruciating pain" with a hip injury in 2016 at the T20 World Cup when he decided he needed the operation.

"Like any young sportsman, I tried to ignore it and carry on," he said.

"Once it started hurting from just walking to the bathroom (I knew I needed the operation)."

The 28-year-old revealed that the team physio put him in touch with a three-time All-Star who had suffered a similar injury.

"Our physio at the time was Kieran O'Reilly, and he is still the physio for the Dublin footballers and he put me in touch with Cian O'Sullivan," he revealed, speaking on Game On on 2FM.

Dublin footballer Cian O'Sullivan
Dublin footballer Cian O'Sullivan

"I spent 40 minutes on the phone to him and he just reassured me."

Balbirnie has fully recovered and was an integral part of the Ireland team who took one of the six spots available in the World T20 Championship at the recent qualifier in the UAE.

He will lead to the tour in the Caribbean before the side goes on to play in Sri Lanka and Zimbabwe later next spring.

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