Paul Stirling will return to Birmingham Bears for up to four T20 Vitality Blast fixtures next season on a short-term deal.

The Midlands county has snapped up the Ireland vice-captain as cover for Australian all-rounder Glenn Maxwell who will still be at the Indian Premier League for the Bears first match on May 20.

If Maxwell’s Royal Challengers Bangalore side do not reach the finals, the game against Yorkshire Vikings could be Stirling’s only game, otherwise he will stay on after being granted an Non-Objection Certificate by Cricket Ireland.

The NOC confirms that Stirling will miss both Ireland’s first-class game against Essex on May 26 and the Lord’s Test match against England, which starts on June 1, with Ireland telling their star player to concentrate on white-ball cricket ahead of a probably World Cup qualifying tournament in June.

Stirling made an instant impression with the Bears last year, scoring a century off 46 balls against the Northants Steelbacks, the fastest in England in professional cricket in 2022.