Hamilton: Ireland captain William Porterfield insisted on Monday his side belonged among the world's elite and said he despised the tag of "Associate" which virtually brands a host of teams as second-class citizens. Non-Test playing Ireland are on course for a World Cup quarter-final place and can ensure a spot in the last eight if they shock defending champions India on Tuesday.
They already have six points from three wins and a defeat in Pool B, seeing off Test sides West Indies and Zimbabwe as well as the amateurs of the United Arab Emirates.
Their only defeat so far was a 201-run wake-up call against South Africa. Victory over either India or Pakistan, in their final group game in Adelaide on Sunday, will put them in the quarter-finals with Pakistan or West Indies heading home.
“I don't like that tag of Associates.”
- said Porterfield, whose team qualified for the tournament as one of four non-Test sides alongside Afghanistan, UAE and Scotland. "I don't think teams should be associated any differently, and putting those tags on us.
"As far as I'm concerned, there is a ranking system in place and that's where we're at," added Porterfield whose team is ranked 11 in the world. Non-Test teams, however, could miss out on the 2019 World Cup with the International Cricket Council (ICC) planning to reduce the number of participating teams from 14 at the ongoing event to just 10.
"Hopefully the ICC will take notice and will start looking at the next World Cup," said Porterfield.
"Obviously, cutting teams in the World Cup isn't the way forward unless that's the vision for the game.
"If you want to progress your game and grow the game of cricket, then cutting teams in world competitions isn't the way forward." Regardless of his fears for future tournaments, Porterfield is relishing the tantalising prospect of making the quarter-finals.
"Yeah, it's a nice position to be in," he said. "We want to be in the quarter-finals, we set ourselves this goal before we came here but it doesn't count for anything if we don't keep getting good performances and good starts to the game." Porterfield, whose team also made it to the second round of the 2007 World Cup in the Caribbean by shocking Pakistan, said they will not be paying India too much respect.
"It's like any other game. We've gotten into each game with two points up for grabs, and tomorrow isn't any different. We've approached each game with great clarity and great professionalism and we've prepared very well." Porterfield said Ireland would like to restrict India's batting, widely regarded as the best in the world.
"Look, obviously, we've got to try and restrict them with the ball and take wickets. It's just like any game of cricket and in this format the best way of restricting teams is taking wickets.
"Whatever we do, the first ten overs is going to be big, if that's with the bat or with the ball, we have to start the game well and get into it." Porterfield relished the publicity his team were generating back home.
"You speak to people who are back home and the stories that you see coming out are great, and that's where cricket is going in Ireland. So, hopefully, yeah, we do make those quarter-finals and keep pushing on as a country ourselves."
Source - NDTV