Future’s brightinsists Porterfield

IRELAND skipper William Porterfield believes the strategies being put in place by the Irish Cricket Union can only help the next generation of cricketers.

The former Killyclooney guided Ireland to success in last month’s ICC World Twenty20 tournament in Dubai and in doing so booked their place in September’s competition in Sri Lanka.

Porterfield, who is already dreaming of coming up against Australia and the West Indies later in the summer feels Ireland have proved they merited a place at cricket’s top table.

“I know there are a few players from the North West who are knocking on the door of the senior Ireland side and I think it’s good the plans, which Ireland are putting in place, can only help that,” conceded Porterfield.

“They have come out and said that they want to play test cricket, but it’s not just that the steps that they have put in progress they want to have first class structures in place and that will obviously incorporate different unions in different areas in Ireland.

“I think there will be a lot more opportunities for young lads coming through to now progress and we have to bridge that gap in Ireland between club cricket and international cricket, because there is a decent gap there at the minute, but there has to be somewhere for lads to step up between club cricket and international.

“There has to be a stepping stone for them to move onto the international stage and hopefully we can do that. If we can get a first class domestic structure going back home it would be brilliant, because even when I was growing up the amount of talent in the North West, which is still there now and the interest levels have probably moved on further, I feel we have all the ingredients to produce a lot of cricketers from the North West, from Ireland’s point of view we just have to tap into that resource in the right way.

“I think from Ireland’s point of view there will be a lot more cricketers coming from the North West to play at international level and to possibly go onto bigger things.”

Over the years both Porterfield and Boyd Rankin to name but two have moved across to county cricket in England and the duo are now both playing for Warwickshire, however the 27-year-old opening batsman feels that may not need to happen in years to come.

“In the future hopefully Ireland will have a first class structure in place, where lads can make their living, playing and training full-time back home and playing for Ireland as well,” he added.

“Obviously at the minute we have 13 lads, all be it probably half of them are playing county cricket in England and the other half based back home on full-time contracts.

“That’s an incentive in itself to be training and playing, day in day out and making a living at what you love, is a great incentive for any young lad and I think the steps Ireland have made in the last few years have shown that it is possible and who’s to say what they can’t do in the next few years to come, maybe there will be even more lads on full-time contracts.”

Porterfield, who celebrated his 100th time captaining his country during the recent ICC T20 World Cup qualifying campaign in Dubai, like Rankin keeps a close eye on who is doing what and what team is winning trophies in the North West.

“Obviously I keep an eye on Donemana and Killyclooney, since I have moved on they have two pitches now and three teams, so they have progressed as well. They are a pretty young club in terms of their age as they were only formed in 1984, so they have moved on a long way. I have to admit I also keep a close eye on what is happening throughout the North West as well and whenever I get the chance to get back I go to a few games.

“Young Andrew McBrine is doing well; the McBrines seem to breed them well and as long as they keep coming through, then Donemana won’t struggle,” concluded Porterfield.