London : Ireland captain William Porterfield hopes a combination of local conditions and English county cricket experience will work in his side’s favour when they make their Test debut at home to Pakistan later this week.
Both the Ireland and Afghanistan teams were elevated to Test status last year, making them eligible for the five-day format.
But it is Ireland who will become the 11th men’s cricket Test nation when they face Pakistan in a one-off match starting in Malahide, near Dublin.
No side has enjoyed a victory in its first Test since Australia beat England in the foundation Test at Melbourne back in 1877 and it would be an upset were Ireland to get off to a winning start.
Ireland, however, did spring a huge surprise when they knocked Pakistan out of the 2007 World Cup in the Caribbean, although that was in a one-day international tournament.
But what encourages Porterfield ahead of Friday’s game is that early season conditions in Ireland, which can aid swing bowling and present a particular challenge to batsmen, could prove tough for a Pakistan side brought up on slower, lower and more spin-friendly pitches in the sub-continent.
Pakistan, however, have been acclimatising with two warm-up matches against English county clubs Kent and Northamptonshire.
“It’s in Ireland, it’s in May, so it’s in our own conditions,” Porterfield told the Irish Independent.
“Historically, when subcontinental teams come to conditions like those, it has taken them a bit of time to adjust,” he added.
Porterfield is also one of several players in the Ireland squad to have played first-class county cricket giving them high-level experience of a long-form game, albeit that County Championship matches last for a maximum of four days rather than five.
“You face Test bowlers in Championship games in England, and in white-ball cricket,” said Porterfield, a former Gloucestershire and Warwickshire batsman.
“The biggest difference I found is that they are just a bit more relentless, they don’t give you as many bad balls,” he added.
“Scoring opportunities are few and far between; you’ve got to be ready to capitalise when they miss that length.
“It’s the same when you’re bowling against top players: They put you under a lot of pressure; you don’t have any margin for error.
“But all our batsmen have scored runs against those attacks, and all our bowlers have taken wickets against those batters.”
Dreaming high, this 18-year-old wants to be the first Kashmiri to conquer Everest
Srinagar: Known as the youngest professional mountaineer of Kashmir, Rizza Alee is all set to accomplish his dream mission to conquer Mount Everest.
Coming from a middle-class family of Nowlari Pattan in north Kashmir, 18-years-old Alee throughout the winter had prepared himself physically and mentally for the expedition.
While he toiled hard in chilly winters for this mission, the lack of support from government and private sector is leaving him disappointed?
“I have prepared all these years to achieve this dream. Currently, I am not getting any kind of support from government and public, which is disheartening me,” he says.
Much to his disappointment, Alee claims that many firms in Kashmir rejected is idea to scale Mount Everest.
“I went to many people for the sponsorship, which will include the cost of my equipment’s, travel and food. No body showed any interest to help me. If I am not helped financially now then I won’t be able to achieve my dream,” he said.
Unlike other sportspersons, Alee’s journey from an ordinary shy school boy to an emerging trekker has not been a cakewalk.
The interesting thing about him is not necessarily how incredible of an athlete he is but as an aspiring sportsperson he fought all odds single handedly to prepare himself for upcoming challenge.
“I had a problem called Right Bundle Branch Block in my heart and everybody thought I will never do anything like climbing. But fortunately now doctors have acknowledged that my heart is athletic like my physique,” he says.
He says choosing climbing his passion was earlier objected by many within family.
Alee recently attained a feat to climb 6153m Stok Kangri peak in Ladakh last month.
With this success, Alee, who recently finished his 12th from Sri Pratap Higher Secondary School, has decided to set a record to inspire small-town athletes to dream bigger.
In June last year, he took to this expedition with his friend from Delhi Shubham on June 12 at 9:30 am and reached the Camp 1 i.e, 4400m at 12:30pm.
“It was for the first time I was going to summit 6000 m, but I was no stranger to it. It is indescribable how I felt when we conquered 6153m peak,” he says.
Narrating his experience while trekking the Stok Kangri peak, Alee says, “We stayed for the night and left at 8:30am for camp 3, which is at a height of 5118m and reached there at 1:30pm. We made a stop before the final summit push, braced ourselves for the worst,” Alee said.
“I didn’t get any support initially and my parents would always suggest me to forget my passion. But ultimately with my recent success, they are getting more interested in my future plan now. I have made it that one day I will make them feel proud,” he says.
While Alee dreams to achieve bigger in life, he hopes to get sponsorship to fulfill his dreams.
“I am thankful to my mentor Manzoor Mir, who has inspired me all along and has been helping me to achieve what I couldn’t have done alone. I hope now someone will further come forward to help me in conquering mighty Mount Everest,” he says.
Australia face selection headache ahead of Pakistan ODIs
Australia all-rounder Glenn Maxwell may be rested from the first One-Day International (ODI) against Pakistan, as the tourists recover from a stomach bug that has hit the team in the United ArabEmirates.
Maxwell missed training on Wednesday, two days ahead of Friday’s opener in Sharjah.
Spinner Nathan Lyon also missed training on Tuesday with illness, but joined his teammates in their Wednesday session. He is a good chance to be picked in a dual spinning assault with wrist spinner Adam Zampa.
“The stats from here all suggest that spin takes a bigger impact. I’ll expect them to spin,” captain Aaron Finch said in comments published by Cricket Australia’s website (cricket.com.au). “We even saw yesterday, the training wickets looked how we expect the middle to play.”
He added: “You’re never quite sure though, once there’s a bit of traffic on it, they start to slow up pretty quick and spin a bit. I think that will be a feature, especially in the two games in Sharjah.”
Pacer Nathan Coulter-Nile re-joined the squad for the five-match series against Pakistan, after missing the final three ODIs against India to fly home to Perth for the birth of his second child.
After trailing India 2-0, Australia won the next three games in succession against Virat Kohli’s side, to claim their first series victory in the format in over two years and enjoy a timely confidence boost ahead of the World Cup.
Coulter-Nile, who is in the frame for the global showpiece while pacers Josh Hazlewood and Mitchell Starc struggle with injuries, said there is a good mood around the camp despite fierce competition for spots in the World Cup squad.
“Everyone’s performing, that’s why we’re winning, but even when someone has a bad day, they’re really supportive of other blokes who have had a good day,” Coulter-Nile said. “It’s fantastic to see. I don’t think it’s a conscious effort that anyone makes, it is just good mates supporting each other.”
He added: “I don’t think anybody goes out there thinking, ‘I’m not going to worry about selection’. It’s just how everyone is in the squad, as they’re all just good people.”
Kohli’s greatness is in keeping things simple, says Kallis
Only Virat Kohli can answer if he can surpass Sachin Tendulkar’s record of 100 international centuries but Indian captain’s biggest asset is his ability to keep things simple, feels iconic Proteas all-rounder Jacques Kallis.
With 66 international hundreds at the age of 30, Kohli, many believe is a serious contender for breaking all the batting records set by Tendulkar.
“Kohli I believe can go as far as he wants to. He is a world class player. He is hungry. He works hard. He has proved that over the years. The main thing about him is that he keeps it simple. People enjoy watching him bat,” said Kallis, one of the greatest all-rounders to have played the game.
So will Kohli break Tendulkar’s record, Kallis replied: “Only Kohli can answer that. If he is fit enough and willing enough to go but nothing is out of reach for him.” India losing the ODI series against Australia won’t have much of an impact on the World Cup.
“I don’t think Kohli will be under pressure. He has produced the goods time and time again. He is a world class player and the guys follow what he does. He is certainly one of the best in the world.” Workload management has been a talked about topic over last few days but the KKR head coach feels it depend on the individuals.
“All the guys are professionals. They will know when to rest. We have a great support staff, the physios, the trainers who will know how to handle the guys.” Like Sourav Ganguly, the South African all-rounder also predicted an open World Cup.
“I think this year, the World Cup will be more open. The sides have to play good in the key moments,” said Kallis. A depleted South Africa team won’t be favourites, termed Kallis.
“I don’t think South Africa will be considered as a favourite but sometimes when the pressure is less on you it can help. But surely you cannot write them off.” Many South Aricans are signing KOLPAK deals wherein they are choosing county cricket over international cricket.
“I think its unfortunate but it is a living that we do. It will be nice to keep the guys in South Africa,” said Kallis.
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