New signing Paul Stirling ready to have a Blast with the Steelbacks

Paul Stirling is excited by the Steelbacks’ batting firepower as they prepare to start their Vitality T20 Blast campaign against Gloucestershire today (Thurs, 2pm).

By Jeremy Casey
Thursday, 27th August 2020, 9:18 am
Updated Thursday, 27th August 2020, 9:22 am
Paul Stirling in action for Ireland against England earlier this month
Paul Stirling in action for Ireland against England earlier this month

And the big-hitting Ireland batsman believes he has a great chance of helping his new team-mates to a first T20 title since 2016.

Stirling, who flew over from Belfast on Sunday, will go straight in at the top of the order against Gloucestershire - and he can’t wait to get his Northants career started.

“I know what the players here can do, and some of talent is brilliant,” said Stirling, following a net session at the County Ground on Wednesday morning.

“I arrived a couple of days ago and you can see it, I’ve had a great couple of training sessions.

“The talent is there, and it is all about putting the performances in on the day, which is the name of the game.

“But hopefully we can put in some strong performances and really give it a good crack in the group stage.”

With Stirling joining a batting line up that also includes Josh Cobb, Richard Levi, Alex Wakely and his former Middlesex team-mate Adam Rossington, he feels the Steelbacks are going to be exciting to watch.

“I certainly think so,” he said. “The batting order is looking really strong, and there is so much power there.

“Hopefully we can dovetail and come off at different points, rather than all on the one day. There is definitely the firepower there to score big runs.”

The Steelbacks are two-time T20 winners and Stirling feels they have a great chance of making it a hat-trick.

“It would be nice (to win it), and that is the aim, 100 per cent,” said the attacking batter, who turns 30 next week.

“Before a competition starts, the aim is always try to win it, but first things first we have to put in good performances in the group stage and make sure we get through that.

“You then never know what will happen in the knockout stage, and if, fingers crossed, we can get that far, then you never know, we might go the whole way.”

The weather forecast for Bristol on Thursday afternoon is not looking good though, with rain forecast for most of the day.

Following the Gloucestershire opener, the Steelbacks travel to New Road to take on Worcestershire Rapids on Saturday (1pm start) before hosting Somerset Sabres at the County Ground on Sunday (2pm).