Ireland gear up for England clash
Updated: Monday, 02 Sep 2013 17:05
Ireland captain William Porterfield hopes Boyd Rankin will be one of the last Irishmen to line up against his own country.
Former Ireland fast bowler Rankin could make his England one-day international debut in the RSA Challenge match between the two countries in Dublin this week.
Rankin, like England's stand-in captain Eoin Morgan, switched allegiance to further his career in a country which can offer Test cricket.
But as the game in Ireland advances both on and off the pitch, Porterfield hopes players will not feel the need to move in the not-too-distant future.
The 28-year-old Warwickshire batsman said: "Over the last few years we have lost Moggy and lost Boyd.
"It is frustrating if you lose your best players but credit to ourselves for producing those players - that is the positive we have to take out of it.
"As long as we are producing those players and ticking boxes, and showing we can host events like this, what we are capable of in Ireland - hopefully with that extra revenue, and everything like that, players won't necessarily have to take that step to go and play for England.
"To have international cricket on your own doorstep - that is hopefully what a lot of youngsters will see and in the future won't have any decision to make.
"At the minute Boyd is in that position where he has had to make that decision but in a couple of years' time I hope no-one will have to make that decision, maybe we'll be playing a Test match. You never know."
Ireland's case for Test cricket is advancing with its domestic structure having improved and a growing number of players proving attractive to English counties.
The profile of the sport has also grown considerably since Ireland's impressive showing at 2007 World Cup, upon which the national team have continued to build.
Porterfield hopes this week's game at Malahide, which has attracted a near sell-out crowd, will merely be a foretaste for many big occasions to come.
He said: "This is what I always wanted growing up as a kid.
"To have 10,000 people, to be playing in front of your home crowd in Dublin against England - that is what every Irish cricketer wants. That is where we are going.
"We fly in from England, the county lads. You get into a taxi at the airport and the taxi man is having a conversation with you about cricket.
"Five or six years ago that might not have been the case. Everyone is talking about this game.
"You have got that buzz floating around now. That shows where we are going and how cricket is perceived in Ireland now.
"It is definitely a growing sport and that culture is definitely there."
Morgan's career has blossomed since he switched to England having won 16 Test caps and featured in 79 further one-day internationals on top of the 23 he played for Ireland.
Morgan has no regrets over his decision and, although he remains supportive of Irish cricket, he expects more to follow him.
He said: "I think things have changed since I made my decision to go and play for England but the main factor in deciding where your aspirations are is Test match cricket.
"I think the fact it is still not there, the same subject keeps cropping up.
"If you are a young, ambitious guy who wants to play Test cricket, you are going to look elsewhere.
"It is unfortunate but it is the nature of playing cricket in Ireland and for Ireland."
Ireland famously beat England at the 2011 World Cup in Bangalore and Porterfield has his sights set on another upset.
Yet he insists the possible presence of former team-mate Rankin in the England side will not provide extra incentive.
He said: "Boyd has obviously been a good servant to Irish cricket but now he has moved on to England.
"All the lads have faced him and we know what he has got but we are just playing against someone in an England jersey really. It is no big deal.
"We will prepare for this game as we do any other game and take anything we can into it.
"If we prepare as we prepared for the Pakistan games earlier in the summer we will not be far off."