Duo ready for Ireland’s call

TWO North West cricketers William Porterfield and Boyd Rankin are aiming to help Ireland reach another World Cup, later this year.

The duo played in yesterday’s shock opening defeat to Namibia and need to show a marked improvement in today’s (Wednesday) encounter with Kenya in their second ICC World Twenty/20 Qualifying campaign.

If successful Ireland - who just 12 months ago shocked the cricketing world when they defeated England in the ICC Cricket World Cup when Kevin O’Brien scored 100 off 50 balls, the fastest century in World Cup history, as Porterfield and Co won by three wickets - have the chance to mix it again with the big boys in Sri Lanka.

“It will be a massive tournament because we want to be competing with the best teams,” conceded the former Donemana batsman. “It is part of our long-term goals so all our effort will be channelled towards achieving that dream.

“We have played a lot more cricket against the major teams and have shown that we belong there. In addition, our lads have played a lot of T20 cricket for counties in England so all that experience is going to help the side in the tournament.”

Drawn against Kenya, Scotland, Namibia, Oman, Italy, Uganda and USA in Group B, Ireland hope their rise can continue and they can earn their place at the World T20 in September, where they feel they belong.

For Bready man Rankin, who is now plying his trade with English county side Warwickshire, he like the Ireland skipper is hoping to be bowling a few bouncers against the likes of Mahela Jayawardene, Kevin Pietersen, Gautam Gambhir and Chris Gayle.

“It’s a pretty important tournament and we all want to keep Irish cricket in the spotlight,” admitted the pace bowler.

“We have done well in the last few big tournaments, so hopefully we’ll do enough and qualify for Sri Lanka in September.

“We just have to play to the best of our abilities and it’s important that we play to our strengths.”

The 27-year-old also believes that starting his career in the North West gave him the chance to not only get selected by his country, but also get a move to England to play county cricket and he feels there is more talent coming through.

“I know there is a lot of young talented players currently playing in the North West and if they continue to work hard then I can’t see any reason why they won’t be challenging for a spot both in the Ireland squad and a possible move to England.

“Young Graeme McCarter is doing very well and he along with a few other North West lads are currently in the Irish set-up at under-age level, so you never know in a few more years there maybe one or two others from the North West will be in the Ireland squad alongside myself and William,” concluded Rankin.