Dual international: Why has PJ Moor switched from Zimbabwe to play Test cricket for Ireland?
Former Zimbabwe international PJ Moor has been called up to the Ireland Test squad ahead of their tours to Bangladesh and Sri Lanka.
The wicketkeeper-batter made his Test debut for Zimbabwe against New Zealand in August 2016, and last played Test cricket when Zimbabwe toured Bangladesh in 2018.
In his most recent Test performance, he put in a solid knock in the middle order, scoring 83 off 114 in the first innings. However, a collapse around Brendan Taylor’s undefeated 106 meant that Zimbabwe lost to Bangladesh by 218 runs.
Moor signed off with a flourish for Zimbabwe, making an unbeaten 92 off 60 balls against Singapore to earn the Player of the Match award in October 2019. However, he was left out for Zimbabwe’s next assignment, against Sri Lanka in early 2020, and never appeared in a squad for the country of his birth again.
Moor played eight Tests, 49 ODIs and 21 T20Is for Zimbabwe, but holds an Irish passport and became eligible to play in October of last year, three years on from his last cap for Zimbabwe. He also impressed the Ireland selectors whilst playing a key role for Munster Reds in Ireland’s domestic cricket, with whom he joined up in early 2021.
“It goes without saying that PJ Moor’s quality and his broad experience – and time spent previously in Ireland – will be a valuable addition to the Inter-Provincial Series for this season,” said Ireland selector Andrew White. “PJ has performed at the highest levels of the game, and he will offer a great deal to the young Munster squad.”
Moor averaged 42 with a high score of 152 in the 2022 List A season for Munster Reds, but still had to wait his turn for a call-up – he was available for selection for the T20 World Cup and for Ireland’s tour of Zimbabwe earlier this year, but was overlooked.
He has now received a maiden call-up for Ireland’s upcoming Tests against Bangladesh and Sri Lanka, though a white-ball call continues to elude him. Having played eight Test matches Moor has scored 533 runs averaging 35.53 and striking at a rate of 44.97.
Two of those Tests were in Bangladesh where Moor went well, scoring 159 runs at an average of 53.00 and striking at a rate of 41.19.
Ireland’s head coach, Heinrich Malan cited his experience in Bangladesh when assessing his merits for selection, “He’s played a bit of Test cricket in Bangladesh and gives us some experience in that middle order,” he said. “He brings that to the party.
“It’s nice to have someone in the wings that could come in with a bit of experience, with relevant information on what it’s like to just bolster that experience side of things as well. He will be one of those 10 guys, which I mentioned earlier, that hasn’t played for Ireland yet. He has played international cricket and it’s nice to have someone with that calibre in and around our environment.”
If Moor makes his Ireland bow, he will be the second Full Member dual international in recent months, with former England batter Gary Ballance making his debut for Zimbabwe against Ireland.
Whilst Moor has experience in all three formats, he has only been included in Ireland’s Test squads.
During his 21 T20Is he made 364 runs, averaging 24.26 and striking at a rate of 127.27. Whilst in his 49 ODIs Moor scored 827 runs at an average of 20.67 and with a strike rate of 67.51.
Ireland will play three ODIs in Bangladesh starting on March 18 before a three-match T20I series starting on March 27. The Test match in Dhaka starts on April 4.
The team will travel across to Sri Lanka for another Test match in Galle starting on April 18, with two ODIs against Sri Lanka on April 23 and 26.
Andrew Balbirnie will captain Ireland’s red-ball side while Paul Stirling captains the white-ball teams. Ireland continue their journey back into Test match cricket with a third of the year against England on June 1 at Lord’s.