Paul Stirling said he's desperate to back on the cricket pitch after being named Ireland's vice-captain.

Stirling made his international debut back in 2008 and has appeared 282 times for the national side - holding the fourth-highest number of caps for Ireland.

Ireland returned to training last week with discussions still underway over the possibility of the team playing three one-day internationals against England at the end of July.

If the matches proceed, they will be Ireland’s first fixtures as part of the new ICC World Cup Super League, essentially World Cup qualifiers for the 2023 Cricket World Cup.

Ireland's calendar for 2020 has been badly hit during the current crisis with series against Zimbabwe Bangladesh, New Zealand and Pakistan all cancelled.

Furthermore, October’s T20 World Cup, for which Ireland have qualified, is almost certain to be postponed to 2021, with Cricket Australia chairman Earl Eddings admitting that staging a World Cup in Australia this year in the midst of a global Covid-19 pandemic is "unrealistic".

The tournament is scheduled to take place from 18 October to 15 November.

Asked about how he had fared during the lockdown, Stirling said: "I think this break from cricket has affected each individual differently. From a personal point of view, I believe it's given me an opportunity to take a break from the mental side of the game, having been an all-year-round cricketer since the beginning of my career I think it’s a real silver lining."

"On the flip side of that, you never want to have an extended break when you’re in your prime batting years so I’m hopeful I can get back into match sharpness and previous form straight away. I’ve kept in touch with all the coaching staff on a regular basis  - but now it’s time for less theories and more action."

Ireland captain Andrew Balbirnie hailed the influence of Stirling on the team, saying: "I didn’t really hesitate when I was thinking about who could be my vice-captain - he stuck out to me straight away.

"He’s someone that I’ve always sought advice from when thinking about my batting, so to have him as my right-hand man over the next few years is really exciting and one I’m sure he’s excited for as well."

On being given the role, Stirling added: "It was fitting to get a call from Bal [Andrew Balbirnie] to ask me to be his vice-captain. We’ve played together all the way up from when we were kids so I look forward to helping him shape the way this Irish side moves forward in the coming months and years ahead.

"He’s had an excellent start to his captaincy with wins in the Caribbean and the sub-continent, but there is so much on your plate as captain - especially with a younger team than we’ve had in the past - so I am happy just to be a sounding board to bounce ideas off and help implement any changes in the way Bal wants to take this team forward on and off the field."