Ireland captain pins his faith on the team’s senior pros, who have a lot of first-class experience, to handle the transition to Test cricket well.
Ireland are set to make their Test debut in less than a week when they play Pakistan in a one-off Test in Dublin starting Friday 11 May.
Having earned Test status alongside Afghanistan last year, Ireland have named a strong, pace-heavy 14-man squad for the historic occasion, with the team will be led by William Porterfield.
Porterfield, 33, believes that the conditions for the match, which teams from the subcontinent typically take time to adjust to, will be an advantage for Ireland.
“It's in Ireland, it's in May, so it's in our own conditions. Historically, when subcontinental teams come to conditions like those, it has taken them a bit of time to adjust,” Porterfield was quoted as saying by The Independent.
Many of the Irish players have featured regularly in the English county cricket – Boyd Rankin has even played one Test for England – and are versed with the rigours of the longer format.
Porterfield has played 127 first-class games himself and averages 30.53, while Ed Joyce has played 254 first-class matches and has 18,414 runs at 48.07.
“We have a lot of experience in the squad of county cricket; we've played a lot of four-day cricket. We've all played with and against a lot of Test cricketers,” pointed out Porterfield. “Now, instead of being up against maybe two Test cricketers, you've got six batters that are all of that standard, and four or five bowlers. That means you've got to be on your game all the time.”
The transition from first-class cricket to Test cricket is something to look forward to, and Porterfield is confident his players will be up to the task.
“You face Test bowlers in Championship games in England, and in white-ball cricket. The biggest difference I found is that they are just a bit more relentless, they don't give you as many bad balls,” he said. “Scoring opportunities are few and far between; you've got to be ready to capitalise when they miss that length. It's the same when you're bowling against top players: They put you under a lot of pressure; you don't have any margin for error.
“But all our batsmen have scored runs against those attacks, and all our bowlers have taken wickets against those batters.”
Despite having represented Ireland in many limited-overs internationals over the years, this is the big one for Porterfield.
“A bit of it is in the name,” he said of Test cricket. “It's the ultimate ‘test’ of everything, the mental side, your technique, your ability as a cricketer - that's why it's still classed as the pinnacle of the game, as much as T20 has taken over.”
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