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Surprised to see usually ‘flat’ Sharjah wickets play slow in IPL, says Ireland batter Stirling

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By Vishesh RoyNew Delhi [India], October 4 (ANI): The pitches at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium have produced some low-scoring contests in the ongoing Indian Premier League (IPL) 2021, and that is in contrast to the demands of the shortest format of the game. The format calls for slam-bang action and going into the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup, Ireland batter Paul Stirling has also expressed his concern with the nature of pitches on offer.

While Stirling is surprised to not see high-scoring contests at the venue, he is also clear that his side needs to prepare really well to tackle spinners in the upcoming marquee event.

“It is a good question. We have been watching the IPL and seeing how the pitches are behaving. It was a surprise to see the wickets at Sharjah. It is such a small ground, usually, it is one of the flattest wickets in the world. Abu Dhabi tends to be slow but it does not change much,” Stirling told ANI in an interaction organised by International Cricket Council (ICC).

“Definitely, we got to work hard against spin and in nets we got to prepare well but also keep an eye on the fact that something that you have your eye on like while playing spin, don’t forget the seamers as well and the other factors that come into it, so there is a lot of skill needed for playing well against seamers as well,” he added.

The 31-year-old also revealed that he used to look up to Virender Sehwag and Damien Martyn while growing up. Stirling had one thing in common with Sehwag, and that is both batters never really changed their style and the outside noise did not bother them much.

Talking about his mindset, Stirling said: “It is something that you learn as you go on, there would be a lot more noise for Sehwag than there will be for me (laughs). I just think it doesn’t, it shouldn’t affect your performance, it only affects your performance, if you actually take it in from the outside, it doesn’t help in any way.””So for me, I am not the one to read articles or re-watch my innings, anything like that. For me, they are irrelevant, the only thing that matters is the next game I am playing. Cricket is a hard sport especially as a batter so I try to prepare for situations that will come in the future,” he added.

Ireland is placed in Group A of the Qualifying Stages for the upcoming ICC Men’s T20 World Cup alongside Sri Lanka, Netherlands, and Namibia. The top two sides from the group will qualify for the Super 12 Stages.

Ireland will kickstart its campaign in the showpiece event against the Netherlands on October 18 at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium. The next two games against Sri Lanka and Namibia will be played on October 20 and October 22.

“Probably not more than any other match (game against Sri Lanka). We need to prepare for it as we do for any other game. Sri Lanka has great talent, we have to be prepared for anything we come up against. We won’t take Sri Lanka, Netherlands and Namibia for granted,” said Stirling. (ANI)

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