Balbirnie believes T20 World Cup in USA will be a success

Andrew Balbirnie against Pakistan
Andrew Balbirnie is excited about playing in New York and Florida in the T20 World Cup [Getty Images]

Ireland’s Andrew Balbirnie believes the T20 World Cup will be a success in the United States.

While the hosting duties are being shared with the West Indies, the ICC are hoping to open up a new market for the sport in the USA with games in Texas, Florida and New York.

The USA open the tournament on 2 June against Canada at the Grand Prairie Stadium in Dallas with Ireland’s first game three days later against India at the Nassau County Stadium in New York.

With the NBA Finals due to get underway on 6 June, ice hockey’s Stanley Cup being played for at the same time and the US Open golf a week later, will cricket make a dent against these other major events?

Balbirnie believes the sport is beginning to make an impression in the land where baseball is the national pastime.

“Obviously we've seen the kind of progress of the stadium that's being built in New York, and naturally India playing Pakistan there is going to be a big attraction," he said.

The 33-year-old added: “I think to play the two North American teams there as well, Canada and the USA, is pretty special.

“I think it's going to be a pretty unique World Cup for us."

Ireland toured the USA in 2021 and so have some experience of playing there.

Crowds should swell from the number of expats from each of the competing nations living and working in north America.

“It's a country that is very new when it comes to cricket, but I think it's very passionate at the same time," Balbirnie said.

"I think it's very exciting. We're very excited to go to Fort Lauderdale and New York and, yeah, hopefully we can give the NBA and the golf a run for its money.”

Balbirnie batting against Pakistan
Last week Balbirnie's 77 helped Ireland earn a first win over Pakistan in 17 years [Getty Images]

After losing their recent three-game series to Pakistan despite winning the first encounter, Ireland will complete their preparations with warm-up matches against the Netherlands and Scotland knowing where they need to improve.

“Yeah, I think certainly our fielding wasn't good enough in the second and third games," Balbirnie added.

“It's not easy on a small ground against a batting line-up like Pakistan.

“So when you do create a couple of chances like we did in both games, you have to take them or else you'll be punished and we were punished.

“I think we could have got bigger scores in the last two games, but no, I think we won't fear anyone going into the World Cup against India and Pakistan, Canada and the USA.

“Form doesn't really play a big part in it, but certainly confidence does and I think the guys are pretty confident at the moment and we just want to keep rolling with that confidence going into Scotland and Holland next week.”