Ireland lost the first game in 53 overs vs England © Getty Images
Ireland lost the first game in 53 overs vs England © Getty Images

London: Ireland captain William Porterfield insisted his side would be worthy of Test status after their embarrassing One-Day International defeat by England in Bristol. The Irish, in their first match against England in England, were dismissed for just 126 in 33 overs, with leg-spinner Adil Rashid taking five for 27 on Friday. A match scheduled for a maximum of 100 overs was finished in a mere 53. Next month could see Ireland granted Test status by the International Cricket Council. But their recent 7-2 reverse across three formats against fellow Test aspirants Afghanistan in India was an indication of how they are struggling to match the standards of previous Ireland teams that beat major nations at several World Cups.

Former England batsman Steve James, writing in Saturday’s edition of The Times, said that many Ireland players were “a long way past their best, sliding head-long down the other side of their career mountains”.  He added: “Test status for this side as it is will not look right.” But Porterfield, a member of the Ireland side that beat England in Bangalore at the 2011 World Cup, defended the current team. “You do not become bad players overnight,” said Porterfield, a batsman with English county side Warwickshire.

“One bad game, one bad day at the office, doesn’t make us a bad team.” He added: “I think it would be very harsh to judge (Ireland’s) Test status on a one-off performance.

“You only need to look at what’s been done to set up the structure back home. Everything has been set up to be sustainable. It’s more what Test status and full membership (of the ICC) would bring in terms of funding, more games and getting the lads around the fridges involved and a great A-team programme.

“It just needs that extra injection of cash which is hopefully coming. If those extra games come, and the players learn from them, then it will be easier to make the transition into games like today,” Porterfield explained. Ireland will soon have another chance to show that they can do when they face England in the second and final match of the series at Lord’s on Sunday — their first international at the historic ground.

“We’ve lost early in series before and come back,” said the 32-year-old Porterfield. “Losing the way we did isn’t ideal but it’s a mental thing to turn it around. Have an open and honest review, park the game and leave it in Bristol.  I think it should be pretty easy to park it once we get to Lord’s –- if you can’t get fired up for that game at the ‘Home of Cricket’ (there’s something wrong).

“There’ll be even more numbers (of Ireland supporters) come over for Lord’s and it’s something we want to put right. You want to give your fans something to cheer about when they travel to support you.  There’s no reason why we can’t turn it around.”