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New coach, new era for Ireland as near neighbours England visit Dublin

Ireland look to continue where they left off as they return to action for the first time since the World Cup on Friday.

Ireland and England will battle for the Royal London One-Day trophy on Friday.
Ireland and England will battle for the Royal London One-Day trophy on Friday.
Image: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

A CHANGE OF MANAGEMENT will naturally give rise to talk of a new era and on the back of another fulfilling performance at the World Cup, there is now a tangible sense of anticipation and excitement surrounding the Irish cricket team.

A capacity crowd of 10,000 fans at Malahide for Friday’s Royal London One-Day International against England (10.45am) will provide further evidence of the sport’s swelling interest levels as Ireland begin a busy international summer.

It’s the first time the squad have convened since their World Cup campaign ended in Brisbane in March and the side is much the same as that which won three matches in Australia/New Zealand.

“It’s great to be back as a group and we’ve worked hard over the last couple of days,” Captain William Porterfield said, on the eve of the game. “It’s been about reinforcing what we do well and although we were disappointing we didn’t go through to the quarter-finals, we played some good stuff.

“It’s obviously slightly different conditions coming back home but the pricnciples remain the same. We will continue to play a positive brand of cricket throughout the 100 overs and we’re just looking to do much of the same.”

William Porterfield Porterfield will make his 200th appearance for Ireland Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

The appointment of John Bracewell, the former New Zealand player and coach, as Phil Simmons’ successor underlines Cricket Ireland’s ambition and Friday will be the first opportunity for the 57-year-old to cast his eye over his new players.

Bracewell’s regime doesn’t officially begin until next month, owing to work permit delays, but he was a visible presence throughout Ireland’s final practise session on Thursday.

Porterfield, who will make his 200th appearance in a green jersey on Friday, worked with Bracewell at Gloucestershire and feels the new coach’s qualities will help elevate Ireland to the next level.

“He gets the best out of players,” Porterfield continued. “He has the opportunity to take a step back this week and once he gets to know the lads and gets to grips with the set-up, he’ll quickly be able to take us in the direction he, and we, want to go in.”

For now, however, the focus firmly remains on the task in hand. For all of Ireland’s sustained success over the past decade, they have yet to beat a Test nation on home soil and, all things considered, Friday represents an ideal opportunity to right that wrong.

England arrive in Dublin with six new faces in their panel and a head coach under mounting pressure after a dismal World Cup campaign and an underwhelming Test series draw in the Caribbean.

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Peter Moores Many believe England's visit to Dublin could be Moores' last match in charge Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

Neither captain was willing to divulge too much information regarding selection but Craig Young is expected to feature for Ireland after carrying the drinks throughout the World Cup.

Peter Moores has turned to the next generation in search of salvation as he and the ECB desperately search for a spark to reignite his faltering tenure. It says a great deal about both sides that James Taylor, England’s captain, admitted the hosts were probably favourites.

But Porterfield was quick to urge caution, highlighting the quality the visitors still possess in a batsman-heavy side.

“We’re playing against England, the shamrock against the Three Lions and it’s going to be a fiercely competitive game regardless of who’s out in the middle,” the opening batsman said.

“From our point of view we need to be winning games and it’s something we need to put right. We’ve been very competitive in the games we have played but we need to get over the line.”

Cricket Ireland say 9,000 tickets have been pre-sold with Sky Sports broadcasting the game around the world to more than 120 countries. The media centre at the temporary stadium in Malahide will accommodate 80 members of the press as cricket’s standing in Ireland’s sporting conscience continues to soar.

William Porterfield Ireland are in good spirits after another imposing World Cup campaign Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

“It’s great that there is such a buzz about it. Before you couldn’t have a conversation with a taxi driver about cricket but now you come home and they know exactly what’s happening.

“We just need to keep growing and we’re going to have another 10,000 through the gates tomorrow and it’s up to us to put on a good show and keep them coming back.”

Whether fans see any cricket on Friday is questionable. A week of incessant rain left the Malahide ground staff working overtime on the eve of the match and the forecast is rather ominous.

In fact, both sides’ training schedules had to be rearranged on Thursday in an attempt to let the outfield drain.

The weather may be bleak but one thing is for sure, the future of Irish cricket, both immediate and further down the line, is brighter than ever.

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