Pakistan v England 2011-12 December 16, 2011

Porterfield leads ICC side against England

ESPNcricinfo staff

A selection of the leading Associate and Affiliate players, led by Ireland captain William Porterfield, will get their chance to compete against England, the No. 1 Test team in the world, next month after it was confirmed they will form part of England's preparations for the Test series against Pakistan in the UAE.

The team, which will be under the banner of an ICC Combined Associate and Affiliate (AM) XI, will face England from January 7-9 at the Global Cricket Academy in Dubai where players from countries below Test level regularly make use of the facilities for training. The team includes three Afghanistan players - pace bowler Hamid Hassan, allrounder Mohammad Nabi and batsman Mohammad Shahzad - while Porterfield is joined by Ireland team-mates Boyd Rankin and George Dockrell.

Rankin has been part of the England Lions set up, and is currently at a fast-bowling camp in Potchefstroom, while Dockrell, the left-arm spinner who plays for Somerset, is also on the England radar after making an impressive start to his Ireland career. Porterfield, Rankin and Dockrell were all involved in the famous World Cup match in Bangalore when Ireland beat England.

"It will be a great honour for me to lead out the Associate and Affiliate team against the No. 1 team in the longer format of the game," Porterfield said. "If you look through their squad they are full of world-class cricketers and it will be a great test for us against whatever XI they put out.

"Another challenge we face is coming together as a group ourselves; we have played against each other a few times but we will have to gel pretty quickly in the few days preparation we have in order to put in a good performance. As this is such a great chance for all the individuals to showcase their talent against the No. 1 Test team in the world, I do not see this being an issue at all."

Staging the series in the UAE, which is Pakistan's 'home' venue while they can't play in their own country, has created the issue of finding suitable warm-up opposition for England. The second game ahead of the Test series will see England face a Pakistan Board XI from January 11-13.

Pakistan, meanwhile, will prepare for the one-day series in February with a one-day international against Afghanistan. England will face their own Lions squad as they did on their previous visit to the UAE in 2010 when they played two Twenty20s against Pakistan. On that occasion the Lions beat the full team and the match saw the emergence of Michael Lumb and Craig Kieswetter as the opening partnership that played in the World Twenty20 in West Indies.

The first of three Tests starts in Dubai on January 17 and the tour also includes four one-day internationals and three Twenty20s.

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Dummy4 on December 19, 2011, 20:44 GMT

    where is ryan ten doeschate ??

  • Srinivas on December 19, 2011, 20:43 GMT

    @clarke501, let me understand this. By playing domestics in England, the standards in Ireland rise….and then what????? The better players are syphoned off by ECB and/or the players decide to have contracts with ECB whichever way you want to put it......and then what??? Where does that leave Irish Cricket? I can wake up a guy who is sleeping but not the one who is pretending to be asleep. I didn't know that the deleterious actions of ECB in syphoning off/facilitating transfer of promising youngsters from upcoming countries will have such staunch supporters. I wouldn't have believed it until I saw it myself. Now, I know. I disagree with you in spirit, word and deed, as we call it in India for a complete disagreement. Goodluck to 'England' and I sincerely hope the Irish players show some pride and loyalty towards their country. A short walk by these talented cricketers in the right direction will be seen as a giant step by their future generations.

  • Cricinfouser on December 19, 2011, 15:17 GMT

    @Dravid_Gravitas - as I have stated in both my previous comments, the player decides which country he will represent. Accordingly, talk of 'syphoning off players' by boards is meaningless. If an Afghan player plays domestic cricket in Pakistan, this certainly assists the development of cricket in Afghanistan, just as Irish cricketers playing in English county cricket have raised the standards of cricket in Ireland. By all means change the rules, but it will cut off the route whereby players in Associate countries can play at the highest level and hinder the development of Associate cricket. I'm very much for real thanks. Irish cricket has made huge strides in recent years, thanks in no small measure to the close ties with the ECB.

  • Alan on December 19, 2011, 11:55 GMT

    @jmcilhinney: fair enough, you're expressing a point of view, as am I, but surely yours is incorrect in a, believing that this view is rarely considered (Ireland hasn't been given test status and so it seems to be the prevailing view among the powers that be as things stand), b, suggesting that from an Irish point of view it's better that Irish players do play for England (many Irish fans aren't happy about this at all). I'm not an Irish fan and don't presume to know what is best from the Irish point of view. From a wider cricketing view however I think it best that the game has the potential to expand, and whether or not Ireland is likely to be given test status soon, it doesn't make sense to undermine that potential by sucking Irish players into England colours. While many suggest giving tests to Bangladesh was a mistake, frankly I think some people are a bit prissy and elitist about standards in test cricket; look instead at the joy Bangladesh's achievements give their fans ...

  • MANU on December 19, 2011, 10:42 GMT

    ICC eligibility rules should be modified such that a player who represented a country or at least associate nations can't play for another country to prevent poaching of Irish and Scottish players by England even if they are willing to play for England for development of cricket.I don't think India will ever pick a Nepali or Pak pick Afghani though I am not fully sure.

  • John on December 19, 2011, 10:26 GMT

    @Dravid_Gravitas - Hey DG. I try to be balanced even if at times I subconsciously get a little too into it. In a perfect world Ireland would play test cricket but until they do I can understand their best players wanting to play for England if it's the only way of them playing tests cricket. Maybe if Ireland became a full test playing nation they might not be so free with letting them play for England. I'm not sure whether India have ever had the same situation (non Indian players playing for India). If someone from Burma or Nepal excelled , could they play for India? Anyway I've enjoyed your views (even if I don't agree with them all) and respect you for sticking with your beliefs even if it incurs the wrath of some of your own countries postees. All the best JG

  • Srinivas on December 19, 2011, 9:26 GMT

    @clarke501, you are grasping at straws. So now, the talk of rules has shifted to the player from ECB. And how do these efforts of ECB and the players acting within the rules help in spreading cricket? IF Afghanistan comes up with say 2 or 3 quality players and IF PCB syphons them off within the rules or if the player decides to play for Pakistan (as per your new defence), THEN cricket is being spread to associate nations??? Are you for real? I would say the rules are hindering development of cricket in associate nations. We make the rules and rules can always be changed. When we talk of development, the first step towards stagnation is to defend the present actions by a board or a player that we are acting within the rules and so it is 'fine'. Nothing can be more meaningless or nonsensical than what you are supporting.

  • Roo on December 19, 2011, 3:18 GMT

    @Paul Rone-Clarke... Andrew Symonds?... lol... Born to a West Indian father & Scandinavian mother in England... Adopted out to new parents who immigrated to Australia when he was 3 months old... I wonder how he would have been treated in the class riddled English society?... At least in Oz he was given a fair go & achieved the highest levels in sport... Why don't you ask him on which passport he travels on... Or even where he has always lived... ... Oz & Qld... lol... Oh... & Tahir moved to SA as an adult in his late 20's... Your point?...

  • John on December 19, 2011, 2:42 GMT

    I actually think that, from an Irish point of view, Irish players paying for England might be a good thing. Despite what some people want to believe, Ireland are some way off getting test status. People say that it's justified because Bangladesh did but that was a mistake. The ICC got burned by that decision and they will be determined not to make the same mistake again, i.e. award test status to a country that is not ready for it. With no first class competition in place, Ireland won't be considered. If Irish players can show that they are good enough to play test cricket though, the ICC will be more likely to give them consideration. Once a first class competition is in place, if several Ireland players have already played test cricket then the ICC is more likely to think that they are up to it as a nation. I'm not lobbying one way or the other; just providing a point of view that not many seem to have considered. It won't help the current Ireland limited overs side though.

  • Dummy4 on December 18, 2011, 23:08 GMT

    @JG2704 thanks for clearing... and for the record i also think its silly to think that an odi series should even mean anything when playing tests... test cricket to me as dravid said is gold standard and england are looking a dominate force right now and are no.1 no one can deny that with a slight caviaet i think england will continue to get this until they play in SC and win against pak, india or SL but as you said the current crop havent had the chance...both WI and Aus did this in there hay day.... BTW 3 T20's talk about overkill

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