Porterfield glad ‘drum-banging’ has Ireland on Test beat

Ireland’s skipper William Porterfield during the press conference at Malahide Cricket Club, Malahide, Ireland, May 10, 2018. (REUTERS)
Updated 10 May 2018

Porterfield glad ‘drum-banging’ has Ireland on Test beat

DUBLIN: William Porterfield will captain Ireland in their inaugural Test proud of the years of campaigning that have led to Friday’s match against Pakistan in Dublin.
Ireland, who famously knocked Pakistan out of the 2007 World Cup in the Caribbean, will become the 11th men’s Test nation when the coin is tossed at the Malahide ground.
For Porterfield and his 10 teammates, it promises to be an especially memorable occasion, but he was quick to pay tribute Thursday to all those who had helped make Ireland’s Test debut a reality.
“There has been a lot of banging the drum,” Porterfield told reporters at the Malahide ground.
“It’s going to be a pretty special occasion for the 11 that are lucky enough to take the park tomorrow.
“Everyone that’s ever worn the jersey and done things behind the scenes and devoted their lives to it deserve a lot of credit for what’s going to happen tomorrow.”
The opening batsman added: “We’re obviously pretty excited. It’s been quite a while building up to this since it was announced.
“I am sure there will be a lot of different emotions that will flow through everyone over the next 24 hours, but excitement is the main one.”
Although both Ireland and Afghanistan were granted Test status by the International Cricket Council last year, neither of the newcomers can expect to be involved in full-length Test series anytime soon.
But one-off games, as was the case with Sri Lanka at the start of their introduction to Test cricket, could yet be the best way to ease them into the five-day format.
“It is going to be very hard to organize three or five-game series with the cost that is involved in organizing them,” said Porterfield, who played English county cricket for both Gloucestershire and Warwickshire.
“It would be great if we could play quite a few Tests a year, but it is not financially viable as it stands,” the 33-year-old added. “That is what it is.”
Ireland now have a first-class structure involving three teams — Leinster, North and North West and Porterfield said establishing a solid foundation at domestic level was central to Irish cricket’s long-term development.
“I think the biggest thing for us is that we need to make our first-class structure — we had a very good game last week — we need to make that sustainable and better and get the volume of fixtures into that and the Wolves system, which is essentially our A team.”

Algeria ready for ‘match of a lifetime’ — Guedioura

Updated 1 min 28 sec ago

Algeria ready for ‘match of a lifetime’ — Guedioura

  • The Cup of Nations showpiece marks the climax not only of Algeria’s campaign on the field, but of their fans’ recent political campaign in the stands

CAIRO: Algeria midfielder Adlene Guedioura says Friday’s Africa Cup of Nations final against Senegal represents the “match of a lifetime” as his country bids to capture the title for a second time.

The Desert Foxes lifted their lone trophy on home soil in 1990 but coach Djamel Belmadi has reinvigorated a team that crashed out in the group stage two years ago and then flopped in World Cup qualifying.

“I think it’s the match of a lifetime for a lot of players in the team and for Algeria,” said Guedioura, who at 33 is the oldest member of the squad.

The Nottingham Forest journeyman has started five of six games in Egypt and insisted much of the credit for Algeria’s eye-catching performances must go to former national team midfielder Belmadi.

“He really knows the players and what he wants. The good thing is he knows how to get through to the players and how to listen,” said the 48-time international.

“If you don’t have a good cook you can’t have a good recipe. With that we realize we can be all together and it’s important to be a team.

“It’s important for Algeria because we used to have good individuals and now we feel very strong as a team and we want to achieve as a team.”

A Youcef Belaili goal earned Algeria a 1-0 victory over Senegal in the group stage, but Belmadi was quick to point out the statistics were heavily weighted in their opponents’ favor.

“Of course we can lose this match. We have an opponent that is number one in the FIFA rankings for Africa. They were at the World Cup. We were eliminated in the first round in 2017,” said Belmadi.

“If you get to the final, the aim is obviously to win it. The game in the group stage wasn’t decisive but now it is and that’s the difference.”

He added: “The most important is to stay concentrated and determined yet calm at the same time.”

Algeria will have the backing of an additional 4,800 fans for the final.

Some of them will arrive in Cairo on military planes organized by Prime Minister Noureddine Bedoui.

The Cup of Nations showpiece marks the climax not only of Algeria’s campaign on the field, but of their fans’ recent political campaign in the stands.

In April, long-standing president Abdelaziz Bouteflika resigned after weekly Friday protests against his expected candidacy for elections, and football fans have been heavily involved in demonstrations.

“We know what’s happening. The people we represent have been wonderful,” said Guedioura

“It’s magnificent what is happening. We’re focused on football but we want to win the final for the people,” he added.