William Porterfield has so often come across as a picture of Irish Cricket. If ever there is a man who carries the emotion of what it is like playing for Ireland, then it is him. Porterfield knows how big and rare an occasion this is for him and the Irish sporting fraternity and hence he has made it absolutely clear that Ireland will do their best to try and beat India across these T20I games at home.
He was recently quoted saying to SportStar as, "It is a pretty good occasion. We get to play in front of the home crowd, so it is going to be a special couple of days as we would also test ourselves. In terms of T20 cricket, India is right up there in rankings, so it will be a good test for ourselves, to see where we are and where we need to go with our game. Everyone knows that in the game of cricket, anything can happen, so we are preparing to try and win these games. It will be a very good test"
Last time India arrived on Irish shores was in 2007. Porterfield, who has seen the journey of his nation from an associate to a Test country, knows that a lot has changed since then.
"The biggest difference between now and back then is that now, there is a lot more media coverage, a lot of people are coming to watch us play and there is a sell-out crowd. This shows cricket’s progress in Ireland. That will be the chance to show where we have come, not on the pitch, but off the pitch as well, as to where the organisation has gone to and where Irish cricket has gone to"
Ireland hardly gets to play against a top team like India but Porterfield thinks it would nice to play them a lot more often, if not India having separate full tours to the beautiful country as of now.
He said, "Yes, it is great that India is here. The two-game series is great. I think that the way forward is to play everyone. I am not saying that (there should be) a five-game series against India, but we just need to play as much cricket as we can against them. The two-match series will be great for Irish cricket, it will get a lot of youngsters to the game and after that, we should play more and more cricket against anyone"
"As I mentioned before, we are playing against a very good side. They are one of the best, if not the best in the world in T20 cricket, at the moment. So, we have to back our game and back our skills. That’s all we can ask for from the players to the best of their abilities and walk off the field, letting the result take care of itself. That’s how it goes. It is an easy thing to say, but not easy to do that and you can’t get caught up in the moment. We have to play with freedom and trust our game. That’s all we can ask for and let the result take care of itself from there"
Porterfield knows that Ireland has come a long way forward through sheer grit against the tide but the expectations as well, have changed.
"The things (perspective) have changed over the last few years and the performances in the World Cups have been the main thing. That was a chance for years to show what we have got. The full membership has given us opportunities to play games more frequently, it gives large exposure to higher level cricket, so there will be competitive cricketers. If we can make ourselves sustainable, then we can get better. That’s what we need"
Ireland won't be playing the World Cup next year after making the last two editions interesting with their presence and performance. Porterfield talked about how it deeply hurts him and every cricket lover, by stating, "It is a personal opinion. I feel there should be more teams in the World Cup. It happens in four years. It’s a six-week tournament, so it is not a big ask to expand the game. We would not be where we are had we not got that opportunity. Hopefully, in 15-20 years time, we will be a bigger cricketing nation than where we are now. It should not be a closed shop. The World Cup is a great area, where the teams evolve and it helps in growing the game globally"
On a lighter note, the next four days is a wonderful opportunity for Ireland youngsters to see how Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Virat Kohli go about their cricket and Porterfield is excited about it.
He said, "If the opportunity arises and if there’s any cricketer you come across! We will try and win the games, and after the games, if the opportunity arises, it will be great for some of the younger lads to go and meet them. Dhoni has been around the circuit and has played at the highest level for years. Kohli has not been that long, but he is one of the greatest players. That will be a good opportunity for youngsters to speak to them and see how they have done it at such a young age, and how they have dealt with him. Obviously, in India, the expectations are higher than anywhere else. To get an insight from them and speaking to them will be a great experience for the youngsters"