Dublin (AFP) – William Porterfield will captain Ireland in their inaugural Test proud of the years of campaigning that have led to Friday’s match against Pakistan in Dublin.
Ireland, who famously knocked Pakistan out of the 2007 World Cup in the Caribbean, will become the 11th men’s Test nation when the coin is tossed at the Malahide ground.
For Porterfield and his 10 team-mates it promises to be an especially memorable occasion, but he was quick to pay tribute Thursday to all those who had helped make Ireland’s Test debut a reality.
“There has been a lot of banging the drum,” Porterfield told reporters at the Malahide ground.
“It’s going to be a pretty special occasion for the 11 that are lucky enough to take the park tomorrow.
“Every one that’s ever worn the jersey and done things behind the scenes and devoted their lives to it deserve a lot of credit for what’s going to happen tomorrow.”
The opening batsman added: “We’re obviously pretty excited. It’s been quite a while building up to this since it was announced.
“I am sure there will be a lot of different emotions that will flow through everyone over the next 24 hours, but excitement is the main one.”
Although both Ireland and Afghanistan were granted Test status by the International Cricket Council last year, neither of the newcomers can expect to be involved in full-length Test series anytime soon.
But one-off games, as was the case with Sri Lanka at the start of their introduction to Test cricket, could yet be the best way to ease them into the five-day format.
“It is going to be very hard to organise three or five-game series with the cost that is involved in organising them,” said Porterfield, who played English county cricket for both Gloucestershire and Warwickshire.
“It would be great if we could play quite a few Tests a year, but it is not financially viable as it stands,” the 33-year-old added. “That is what it is.”
Ireland now have a first-class structure involving three teams — Leinster, North and North West and Porterfield said establishing a solid foundation at domestic level was central to Irish cricket’s long-term development.
“I think the biggest thing for us is that we need to make our first-class structure — we had a very good game last week — we need to make that sustainable and better and get the volume of fixtures into that and the Wolves system, which is essentially our A team.”