Captain William Porterfield wants to provide extra “ammunition” to Ireland’s fight to be allowed a place in the next World Cup when they meet Pakistan in Belfast this weekend.
Ireland’s hopes of playing in the next 50-over showpiece are up in the air as the International Cricket Council review their April decision to omit the associate nations from the 2015 tournament.
The ICC’s chief executive committee is due to discuss the possibility of a qualification process in Hong Kong next month which, while not the final stage of any decision, could provide a key indicator to Ireland’s hopes.
This weekend’s two-match series against Pakistan, which begins at Stormont today, are Ireland’s only two games before the ICC heads meet and victory would provide further proof they are establishing themselves as a nation deserving of a World Cup place.
While Porterfield denied that would be the main focus of his team this weekend, he acknowledged it could significantly help their cause.
“We’re looking for positive results from the games. If we do that then it will enhance our chances and give us more ammunition,” he said.
“We’ve looked at these games (against Pakistan) as massive games for ourselves. We’re always crying out for more of them regardless of what is going on at the high table.
“To be honest it’s a great opportunity for us to go out and play against the fifth-ranked team in the world. But from the standpoint of the World Cup, yes it is important.”
Porterfield is confident his side can claim at least one victory against a Pakistan team he feels may struggle in Irish conditions.
The tourists only arrived in Belfast on Thursday and on the back of a six-week tour of the Caribbean where conditions could hardly be more different.
“To come from that heat to Belfast is a quite a climate change. Hopefully that can play to our advantage,” Porterfield added.
“I think we’ve got a good chance. We are playing at home, we are in our own conditions and Pakistan have not had much preparation time. If it takes time for them to adjust then we need to capitalise on that.”
Ireland will be without wicketkeeper-batsman Niall O’Brien, who has been in sensational form with county side Northamptonshire this season, as well as young spinner George Dockrell through injury.
Gary Wilson is set to take over the gloves from O’Brien while Albert van der Merwe, who was unused at the World Cup, is poised to come into the team.