Ireland skipper Balbirnie out of Zimbabwe ODI series

Ireland captain Andy Balbirnie has been forced to pull out of the one-day squad playing in Zimbabwe after he was struck on the helmet while batting, the team's medical chief said Thursday.

Balbirnie retired hurt at 121 not out on Wednesday after top-edging a Brad Evans full toss into the grill of his helmet, during the first of three one-day internationals against Zimbabwe.

"He was reassessed this morning, but the decision has been made to withdraw him from the remaining two matches of this series as a precaution." said Mark Rausa, medical services head for Cricket Ireland,

Murray Commins, Munster Reds’ 26-year old, left-handed batter, will join the squad in his place, receiving his first senior squad call-up.

Commins has been playing in South Africa and was due to fly into Harare on Thursday.

"It's extremely disappointing to lose our skipper in this manner, particularly after his outstanding century in his 200th match for Ireland," said national selector Andrew White.

"We all hope his recovery is quick and he is back on the park soon".

White added that in Commins they had a "direct replacement" for the injured skipper.

"We know he has the stroke play, technique and mindset to build big scores and being left-handed, he will also add a new dimension to the top order," he said.

Zimbabwe won the opening ODI, Clive Madande scoring a boundary off their final ball to overhaul Ireland on the DLS in a rain-affected match.

The ODI series continues on Saturday and concludes on Monday.

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