Paul Stirling is hoping to avoid any banana skins as he leads Ireland as full-time captain for the first time in Edinburgh this week, looking to claim one of the two T20 World Cup places up for grabs at the European qualifiers.

It should be a formality for Scotland, the hosts, and Ireland the only ICC Full Members in the tournament but the shortest form of the international game can throw up surprises and Italy, Denmark, Austria, Jersey and Germany will be striving for one.

“There’s a little bit of excitement when you’re playing someone new and unknown,” Stirling said, ahead of his side’s first match of the round robin against Italy on Thursday. 

“It’s something we’ll look to thrive at, playing teams we’re not quite sure about.”

It’s less than a fortnight since Ireland finished a disappointing seventh in the ODI World Cup qualifiers, leading Andy Balbirnie to call an end to his time as white-ball captain, so the new skipper doesn’t envisage immediate changes in style or tactics.

“We’ll just be looking to do the things we do well even better, and try to avoid the real big damage phases of the game,” he said.

“We’re doing a lot of things right but it’s probably the crunch time of games where we’re just missing out, so if we can change that we can start taking games by the scruff of the neck when we get the chance.

“In the past we’ve had periods of winning games and you get used to that, it becomes a habit. Then when you start losing a few, you lose that habit of winning, and we’ll be trying to find it again over the next couple of weeks. No better time.”

The man who made his international debut 15 years ago, is relishing the opportunity to take the reins officially, even if his appointment is only confirmed until the end of September.

“You see with the history of cricket captains that it can go one of two ways, in terms of how it effects your form,” he said.

“I’ve had a little dabble at it in the past couple of years when Balbo’s been unavailable, and I’ve enjoyed that.

“I’m looking forward to the challenge, and although there are always potential banana skins I know if we play our best cricket we’ll come out on top.”

Stirling has also left the door open for a return of his much under-rated off spin, having not bowled for 50 internationals.

“I’ve 100 per cent not given up bowling. We’ll see how it goes. We’re got Harry Tector who gets a lot more bounce than me - I wish I had his height - but I’m not ruling myself out.”