Porterfield Takes Inspiration From Sri Lanka

Action from the Ireland v Pakistan game at Clontarf in 2013
Action from the Ireland v Pakistan game at Clontarf in 2013
©Cricket Ireland

Ireland captain William Porterfield says his side must be inspired by Sri Lanka, a team that has made the progression that they are hoping to - from Associate to Full Member.

Sri Lanka were awarded Full Member Status in 1981 after winning the 1979 ICC Trophy and went on to win the World Cup in 1996.

They have since reached the final of the World Cup in 2007 and 2011, also repeating the feat at the 2009 and 2012 ICC World Twenty20 competitions.

Sri Lanka will visit Ireland to play two One-Day Internationals against Ireland later this year, and Porterfield sees parallels between the two sides' respective journeys.

"You can't help but marvel at just how successful they've been in the last 33 years since they became a Test nation, and they're definitely an inspiration to all Associate sides," Porterfield said

"I genuinely believe there's the talent and potential in Ireland for us to become an established Full Member international side.

"You only have to look at the growth in participation and popularity of the game throughout the country in the last seven years to see how it's taken off.

"It's fantastic that the Sri Lankans are coming to Dublin and it'll be a great opportunity for fans of both sides to see some of the world's top players in the flesh. The Dublin crowd is always superb, and always get behind the team - they're definitely our 12th man on these big match occasions.

"I've played against Sri Lanka twice - in the 2007 World Cup and in the T20 at Lord's in 2009. We lost heavily in Grenada but it was still a wonderful experience to play against the like of Muralitharan and Vaas.

"We came really close to pulling off a shock in the match at Lord's when we lost by nine runs, and probably should have won it. Alex Cusack bowled superbly to take four wickets and we were well placed at the half-way stage before faltering.

"Our inexperience showed that day - I'm convinced that if we were in the same situation now, we would finish it off."

Sri Lankan captain Angelo Matthews expects his side to be challenged during the two-match series.

"We are very much looking forward to travelling to Ireland for the two match One Day International Series in Dublin this May," he said.

"We have seen Ireland's progress on the world stage and there is no doubt they will be formidable opponents especially in their home conditions.

"It will be the first time that most of us have ever been to Ireland and we certainly anticipate a challenging series with plenty of good cricket."

Clontarf will host both matches, on 6th and 8th May, less than one year after Ireland almost upset Pakistan on home soil. Record crowds attended and Cricket Ireland expect large crowds again.

"Following their popularity last year, Cricket Ireland are delighted to be repeating the Early Bird Specials which offer a 20% discount for all match tickets purchased before March 31st," Marketing Manager Andrew Leonard said.

"We saw last year at Malahide and Clontarf cricket fans supporting both sides in superb numbers and I’ve no doubt there will be a carnival atmosphere again in Clontarf at the start of May as the stars from Sri Lanka come to take on our treble winning heroes who will be fresh from the ICC World Twenty 20 in Bangladesh."

© Cricket World 2014