(Reuters) – Ireland captain William Porterfield hailed the contributions made by the team’s former players as they prepare to make their test debut against Pakistan in Malahide today.
Ireland will become the first team to debut in the longest format of the game since Bangladesh in 2000, after being awarded full member status last June along with Afghanistan.
“It is a massive occasion for everyone involved in Irish cricket,” Porterfield told reporters.
“For the 11 lads who will take the pitch, it will be a fantastic occasion for them and their families but we have to also remember everything that has gone before in Irish cricket in terms of getting us to this stage, over the years.
“You’ve got a lot of past players – some of them are here with us, some aren’t, but we have to remember and recognise what they have done to get us to this stage.”
Ed Joyce, who could become one of the sport’s oldest test debutants at 39, said the chance of taking the field in test whites was still a “pinch me moment” for him.
“I’m in the 14. Hopefully I make the final XI. It’ll be an incredible feeling,” he told BBC.
“I played my first game a long time ago, 20 years ago, so to get to this point, where we’re on the verge of our first Test, is a great feeling, I can’t wait.”
Pakistan captain Sarfraz Ahmed backed Ireland to take their experience from limited-overs matches and thrive in the test format.
“It is a privilege to be a part of this historic Test match and all of us are really looking forward to it,” the 30-year-old said.
“Ireland players feature prominently in the ICC ODI (one-day internationals) and T20I (Twenty20 internationals) player rankings, and I am confident that in due course they will also make their mark in the Test rankings.”