Wicketkeeper-batsman Stuart Poynter has signed a new two-year contract with Durham, effectively ending his Ireland career with immediate effect.
Irish players had previously been able to represent their country and play as local players in county cricket, but with Ireland gaining ICC Full Member status, it was ruled that Irish internationals would have to count as overseas players in English domestic cricket.
The ECB gave a two-year grace period for those currently playing in county cricket to continue as they had been before deciding whether to choose club or country, with Poynter the first to opt for club, extending his stay at the county he has played for since 2014. Of the other Irish internationals to play in the 2019 domestic season as local players, Paul Stirling has chosen to return to Ireland, forgoing his Middlesex contract, while Tim Murtagh has yet to confirm his decision.
Stirling called the ECB’s ruling into question when announcing his decision to leave the Seaxes. “The powers that be have made the decision to change the regulations but I can see it is a strange scenario when you are born British and have entitlement to work as a local in your own country, so I can see why it could be challenged and it would be interesting to see how far it would go if someone did challenge it,” he told Telegraph Sport.
Poynter has played 27 first-class, 20 List A and 37 T20 matches for Durham since making his debut for the county five years ago. He captained the county in nine T20 Blast games in 2019. The 28-year-old has put a stop to his Ireland career having represented the national side in all formats; he played in Ireland’s first away Test, the seven-wicket defeat to Afghanistan in March. His top score across 61 international appearances was 39.
Durham have also announced new two-year deals for batsman Jack Burnham and left-arm spinner Liam Trevaskis.