Tim Murtagh: Ireland bowler retires from international cricket

Tim Murtagh
Murtagh acknowledges the crowd at Lord's after taking five wickets against England

Ireland bowler Tim Murtagh has retired from international cricket after making 97 appearances.

The London-born 38-year-old has signed a two-year contract extension with Middlesex and will play in all formats for the county side in 2020.

His final Ireland match was July's historic Test against England at Lord's when he got on the honours' board with a superb 5-13 on the opening morning.

"I've had eight great years playing international cricket," Murtagh said.

"This is a day that I have known has been coming for a few years since the ECB [England & Wales Cricket Board] changed their regulations, but it hasn't made the decision any easier. It's sad that it has come to an end but a decision that I have made my peace with."

Those ECB regulations were changed following Ireland's admission to Test status, meaning that Ireland internationals in county cricket were forced to give up international cricket to remain as "domestic" players at their counties (as Murtagh and Durham's Stuart Poynter have done), re-register as overseas players, or give up county cricket to continue playing for Ireland (as batsman Paul Stirling has done by leaving Middlesex).

Murtagh added: "A Test match at Lord's against England is a great way to finish my international career and a game I will always cherish.

"I wish the lads all the best for the winter tours and very much hope to help out and be involved in some capacity in the future."

Murtagh made Ireland debut in 2012

Murtagh made his international debut for Ireland in 2012 after a conversation with team-mate Ed Joyce about his Irish ancestry led to the Middlesex man declaring for Ireland.

He claimed 142 wickets across all formats at an average of 25.54 and had his best year with Ireland in 2018, when he took 28 wickets in 11 matches at an average of 16.32.

That year also saw Murtagh have the honour of delivering the first ever ball for Ireland in Test cricket at Malahide against Pakistan.

"It's sad to see such a great player leave our ranks, but Tim has been a model professional and a great asset to have in the dressing room," said Ireland head coach Graham Ford.

Balbirnie to captain Ireland in all formats

Andrew Balbirnie to skipper Ireland in all formats after Gary Wilson steps down from T20 captaincy

Murtagh's Ireland retirement came as it was also announced that Andrew Balbirnie will assume the team's Twenty20 captaincy following his recent appointment as Test and one-day skipper.

Balbirnie takes the T20 role after Gary Wilson opted to stand down following 18 months in the post.

"I'm very much looking forward to continuing as a player and working with Balbo in the future," said Wilson.

"I think it will prove to be a great appointment and believe that it is important that he, as a captain, has control of all three sides and gets to take it in a direction that he sees fit."

Wilson steps down after captaining the Irish during their successful T20 World Cup qualifying campaign in the United Arab Emirates in October.

Ireland's head coach Graham Ford said Wilson had been "an exceptional leader of this young squad over the last 18 months".

"It is a mark of Gary's professionalism that he has understood the interests of the team, and wholeheartedly committed his full support to Andrew in his newly consolidated leadership role," said the Ireland coach.

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