Ireland's Porterfield puts Afghan defeats behind him

The Irish were beaten 7-2 by fellow Test aspirant Afghanistan across three formats during a tour that ended last month.

Ireland skipper William Porterfield during the team's nets session.   -  REUTERS

Ireland captain William Porterfield was confident on Thursday his side's recent defeats by Afghanistan would have no lingering effect on this week's one-day internationals against England.

The Irish were beaten 7-2 by fellow Test aspirant Afghanistan across three formats during a tour that ended last month.

But Porterfield said Afghanistan's teenage leg-spinner Rashid Khan, now starring in the Indian Premier League, had effectively been all that separated the two teams.

"There was one difference in the sides and that was Rashid Khan," Porterfield told reporters at Bristol, the venue for Friday's first of two ODIs against England.

"If he played for either side, that side wins. We've seen what he can do and what he's doing out in India at the minute. He's a good bowler and he's just burst on (the scene). He's fresh and it takes a little while to negate that.

"When we did, we won."

Conditions in Bristol may not be so spin friendly and Porterfield said: We've just got to keep the same attitude that we had throughout the six weeks in India.

"We didn't get the results necessarily we wanted but how we approached the games and how we went into them, was really pleasing."

Friday's match will see Ireland play England in England for the first time, with Sunday's concluding match of the short series taking place at Lord's.

For Ireland, who famously beat England in Bangalore at the 2011 World Cup thanks to a whirlwind hundred from Kevin O'Brien, it is another landmark occasion on the road to Test status, which could be granted by the International Cricket Council next month.

"We've played them (England) a few times in Ireland and in world tournaments," said opening batsman Porterfield.

"But to play them in England is obviously going to be special.

"Any Irish-English sporting occasion is a great event. But ultimately it comes down to how we approach the game and not what the occasion is."

With Test status in sight, Porterfield denied there was extra pressure on Ireland.

"Any time we are playing, that kind of external pressure is always lingering there anyway," he said. "We always want to put in big performances because we know where Irish cricket wants to go."

Porterfield has known England's Dublin-born one-day captain Eoin Morgan since they were schoolboy cricketers in Ireland and the pair has remained friends.

The 32-year-old Porterfield tried to play down the impact of their latest meeting by saying: "It's special for Irish cricket, who's flicking the coin, doesn't really matter."

"He (Morgan) did a lot of things for Irish cricket when he was there and he's moved on and he's done really well for himself.

"We played Under-13s together. I think he was 11 and I was 12. We chat a lot, we are pretty good mates."

Friday's match will see Porterfield playing at a ground he knows well from his three years with Bristol-based county Gloucestershire.

Ireland coach John Bracewell also had a spell in charge of Gloucestershire and Porterfield, who joined rival English county Warwickshire in 2010, said: "It's a great little ground and it's nice to be back.

"That will make it slightly easier, knowing the dimensions, what happens with the wind, things like that, it can help."

Reflecting on his time with Gloucestershire, he added: "I just really enjoyed it. It was my first taste of county cricket, walking into a professional set-up.

"I'll always be grateful to Gloucestershire for giving me that opportunity."

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