Cricket World Cup 2011
Ire eyes end to player drain
Ireland captain William Porterfield. (AFP)
Bangalore - Ireland captain William Porterfield has said he hopes one day that top Irish players will no longer feel the need to qualify for England in order to reach the highest levels of the game.
As an Associate rather than a full member of the International Cricket Council (ICC), Ireland does not play Test cricket, considered to be the pinnacle of the sport.
It also means they have fewer opportunities to play one-day internationals outside of major tournaments such as the World Cup.
As a result, the likes of former Ireland batsman Eoin Morgan have qualified through residency to become England players, after making their mark in English county cricket.
That was a path first trodden by Ed Joyce, now back in the Ireland set-up after being given special dispensation by the ICC to represent the land of his birth again after a brief England career ended following the 2007 World Cup.
Ireland and England go head-to-head in a World Cup Group B match at the Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bangalore on Wednesday.
Porterfield said: "We want to get to a stage where we become a full member (of the ICC) ourselves and are part of the Future Tours Programme.
"We don't want to have players making that call (about whether to play for England)," added the opening batsman.
"We want to be in a position where we can contract 12-15 full-time Irish cricketers," he explained.
"We've got a good few lads involved in (English) county cricket which is developing our game. It's a financial thing, a fixtures thing. But we're now at the stage where this is where we want to be."
Asked if he saw Morgan, who would have been in England's World Cup squad but for injury, as a 'role model', Porterfield said, "Anyone like him - Ed Joyce was one of the first to move across and became a high-profile player in county cricket. A lot of youngsters looked up to that, myself being one of them.
"Once Ed moved across and did well, there are a lot more Irish cricketers (who've done the same). They have goals and believe they can get there.
"Players playing for England has boosted Irish cricket in a roundabout way, Eoin Morgan is still getting publicity for Ireland.
"But in an ideal scenario we want a future of more full-timers back home playing more games and hopefully we'll be a full member ourselves."