CRICKET: Ireland skipper playing for Warriors

Ireland captain William Porterfield.
Ireland captain William Porterfield.

Ireland captain William Porterfield looks set to be playing for his home union this weekend.

The North West Warriors are believed to have pulled off something of a coup ahead of their final home Interprovincial of the season by looking to include Porterfield in their squad to face the Northern Knights, at Eglinton on Sunday.

That would obviously require the agreement of Warwickshire and Cricket Ireland are believed to be waiting on a response from the Ireland skipper’s county.

With Gary Wilson having made his debut for the NCU men earlier this week, Porterfield’s addition seems sure to raise the profile of the occasion by some margin.

The 31-year-old is of course preparing for the upcoming games against Pakistan and will see Sunday’s match as an opportunity to get some time in the middle, however for the Warriors, the inclusion of the Ireland captain is a huge boost.

Head Coach Ian McGregor became aware of the Warwickshire batsman’s potential availability in the past couple of days and has been hard at work since to ensure that it happened.

“Once William made himself available it was a bit of a no-brainer to try to make it happen. Of course it’s a huge boost for the squad to have somebody of his quality come into the set-up.

“Hopefully the closer we get to raising the status of the Interpro series’ the more we’ll get things like this happening because it also gives credence to the series and what we’re trying to do.

“Everybody knows how good a player he is and it will be a great experience for the younger lads to play alongside the Ireland captain.

“There has been very little between ourselves and the Knights this season and considering that we were without several front-line bowlers from last year’s squad for much of the summer, we’ve coped really well.

“I’m sure everyone will be looking forward to Sunday a lot more now so here’s hoping for a break from the weather and a decent crowd for the final home game of the season.

The Warriors have yet to announce their full squad for the game however McGregor is unlikely to make too many changes to the side that fought back well against the Knights at Comber this week.

Certainly the Head Coach can’t look past Andrew Austin after his excellent innings while Austin’s Bready team-mate Davy Scanlon would be very unlucky to miss out after a very decent run of form.

Andy McBrine, Stuart Thompson, Craig Young and David Rankin are automatic picks while Ricky-Lee Dougherty and Ross Allen look sure to be included too.

McGregor usually names the permitted two overseas professionals and with Marco Marais unavailable due to injury it will be perm any from Oraine Williams, Danza Hyatt and Coleraine spinner Suraj Randiv.

If Porterfield plays then it means that the only consideration will be whether to go with another batsman in Ryan Hunter or bolster the seam attack with Jarred Barnes.

The North West coach says he will name his full squad on Friday once Porterfield’s situation is clear, one way or the other.