Veteran Porterfield to combine playing career with job as fielding coach
Porterfield, 36, will combine his playing career with a job as consultant fielding coach, working with the men’s and women’s teams and the Ireland pathway system. He has also be named as Wilson’s assistant at the North West Warriors in Ireland’s interprovincial set-up.
Recognised as one of Ireland’s best fielders, Porterfield’s last international appearance came in an ODI in January 2020, having stepped down from the captaincy a few months earlier.
“I’m really excited about these two roles – both working within the national system and within the provincial system in the North West,” Porterfield said. “I had a bit of a taste of coaching with the Birmingham Bears last year, and am looking forward to working with some of Ireland’s most talented players – being able to pass on knowledge and experience from a coach’s perspective. It will be a bit different being a coach while still playing, but it’s going to be a great opportunity and I can’t wait to get stuck in.
“The fielding role with Ireland is something I’m passionate about. I’ve prided myself on my fielding throughout my career, and tried to set high standards, so hopefully I’ll be able to help not only players from the senior men’s and women’s squads, but players from the under-age teams as well.”
Having called time on his professional career to take over as North West Warriors head coach and pathway manager, Wilson has also been given a consultant wicketkeeping role with Ireland, again working across men’s, women’s and age-group teams.
Wilson said: “I’m thrilled to be able to support keepers up and down the Irish pathway in this new role. It’s a great opportunity to get back involved in the international set-up so soon after retirement, and it’s a role I’m looking forward to massively.
“When I was initially discussing the scope of the role, what I really felt added to it was the ability to share my knowledge and experience with the keepers within the women’s game. Ed [Joyce] has been doing such a fantastic job as head coach, and I’m delighted to be able to work with him on bringing on the senior and emerging talent that we have here in Ireland.”
Richard Holdsworth, Cricket Ireland’s high performance director, added: “I’m delighted that we have not only appointed these two roles we have long sought, but to have appointed two world-class players like William and Gary represents a real win for Irish cricket and the players in our performance system.
“For any young player to be able to access and learn from two of the best players Ireland has produced is an immense opportunity. I know both William and Gary have a passion for Irish cricket and are keen to help develop and improve Irish cricketers at all levels. I wish them well, but know they need no additional motivation – they are two of the most self-motivated people I have worked with and I look forward to seeing their work in this new capacity.”
James Anderson thought he ‘wasn’t good enough’ on debut, as he closes in on England caps record
“I thought I wasn’t good enough,” Anderson said, as he recalled how his first over, from the Nursery End at Lord’s, was picked off by Zimbabwe’s openers for 17 runs, including two fours and a three for Dion Ebrahim as he strayed too close to the right-hander’s pads.
“I thought it was a huge step up from county cricket,” Anderson added. “I remember Nasser [Hussain] didn’t have a fine leg for me and I went for quite a few runs. My first ball was a no-ball as well so there were a lot of nerves there and I did feel like this was maybe a step too far for me at that point.”
Anderson soon settled into his spell, however, and after striking in his third over to bowl Mark Vermeulen through the gate for 1, he returned from the Pavilion End to pick off four quick wickets in the final 20 balls of the innings.
He left the field with figures of 5 for 73 to earn the first of his six entries on the Lord’s honours board, and begin his journey towards becoming the most successful fast bowler in history, with 616 wickets now to his name.
“I think I cleaned up the tail in that game,” he said. “Until you play against the best players in the world and you’ve got them out, only then do you feel like you can compete and belong there.”
That process, however, was not a swift one for Anderson, who slipped out of favour after a tough series against South Africa later that summer. He played a total of four Tests in 2004 and 2005 as England, under the new captaincy of Michael Vaughan, finetuned the four-pronged seam attack that would go on to reclaim the Ashes.
Throughout this period, Anderson cut a forlorn figure, often practising alone during lunch breaks at Test matches, and though he played an important role in a famous victory in Mumbai in 2005-06, his progress was further hampered by the diagnosis of a stress fracture in his back – an issue that was partially brought about by the ECB’s efforts to remodel his action, ironically to reduce the likelihood of injury.
“I’m proud of the fact that I’ve overcome little hurdles throughout my career and they’ve made me stronger,” he said. “The stress fracture was like hitting the re-set button I guess.
“I’d gone through a lot of changes in my action before that and that stress fracture was probably a Godsend. It made me go back to my old action and since then I’ve felt really comfortable and got more consistent. That’s really helped me and makes me feel proud I got stronger from that and never looked back.”
“We both look back on that Test with great fondness,” he said. “I think it was a proper starting point in our Test careers. The fact that Peter Moores, the coach at that time, showed that confidence in us, because he left out two senior bowlers who’d been extremely influential in the England side up until that point.
“He brought us in and gave us that responsibility, showed that faith in us. We still look back on that with great fondness and we’ve enjoyed every minute of it. Hopefully there will be a few more memories to come.”
Since that recall, Anderson has claimed 554 Test wickets at 25.17, compared to 62 at 39.20 in the first 20 matches of his career, spread across five years. He went on to play key roles in three consecutive Ashes victories from 2009 to 2013, and was also described as the “difference between the sides” by MS Dhoni when England won in India in 2012-13.
“It took a few years,” Anderson said. “I think it was about putting in some performances against the better sides in the world.
“No disrespect to Zimbabwe, but playing against teams like South Africa and Australia and India, once you put in performances against the top teams in the world, that’s when you can feel like you can actually perform at that level. So it did take a few years and a few tours around the world to make me think I could actually do it.”
Whether he can do it this week will depend on England’s approach to rest and rotation, given that Anderson turns 39 next month, and England are understandably keen not to over-bowl him with big series against India and Australia looming later in the year. His eagerness to get involved, however, has not diminished with age.
“I’m not sure on the team yet,” Anderson said. “Hopefully I’ve got the opportunity to do that on Thursday. It’s been an incredible 15 years really. Knowing how much Cooky played it makes me very proud I’ve actually got to this point.”
One player who could come into the reckoning is the Warwickshire fast bowler, Olly Stone, who made his Test comeback against India in Chennai this winter, after one previous appearance on home soil, against Ireland at Lord’s in 2019.
“I think Olly is a really impressive person,” Anderson said. “I like him a lot as a bloke. He works incredibly hard, he’s got pace and he’s got skills as well, he can swing the ball.
“He’s got character to play Test cricket, we saw that in India briefly. He’s someone I think is very exciting and has a decent Test career ahead of him. He’s got all the attributes to perform at this level and, I would say, the character.”
England could also be sweating on the fitness of James Bracey, who made his debut as wicketkeeper at Lord’s last week. He took a blow to the finger during a drills session on Tuesday, and was reportedly in some pain before resuming light training with strapping on his hand. He will be assessed again in the morning.
In the absence of Ben Foakes, who tore a hamstring in the Surrey dressing room earlier in the month, as well as Jos Buttler and Jonny Bairstow who have been rested after their IPL stints, the uncapped Sam Billings is England’s reserve keeper.
Andrew Miller is UK editor of ESPNcricinfo. @miller_cricket
Peter Siddle cuts short Essex stint for personal reasons
Seamer returns to Australia after playing in six Championship matches
The former Australia seamer, who was awarded his county cap last month, had been expected to play a full season at Chelmsford, after his 2020 deal was deferred by the Covid-19 pandemic. He will not be returning this summer but held out hopes of coming back in future.
“I’m sad to be leaving Chelmsford early as I love playing for Essex,” he said. “I’ve got some great friends in the dressing room and they’re a great bunch to be around and play cricket with. I’ve built some really strong bonds with the guys, so it’s upsetting that I have to go home, but hopefully in the future I can come back and play some more cricket for this great club.
“I know I’m getting to the back end of my career, but I’ve still got some playing time left. We’ll see what happens in the coming months and in the build-up to the 2022 season, but fingers crossed there’s still a little bit more cricket to be played for Essex.”
Siddle had played six games in the Championship, taking 20 wickets at 24.40, but defending champions Essex are currently in a fight to finish in the top two of their group and qualify for Division One later in the year.
Essex’s head coach, Anthony McGrath, said: “Peter is a model professional so it’s obviously disappointing that we’re losing a player of his calibre. He’s a great figure in the dressing room and a leader on the field. He’s been amazing with the younger bowlers and has always offered support and advice, and when playing he’s contributed with some important wickets.
“He’s a fierce competitor and always gives it his all, but we wish him nothing but the best and hopefully we see him back at Chelmsford soon.”
Praveen Jayawickrama, Dhananjaya Lakshan, Charith Asalanka, Ishan Jayaratne in SL squad for England tour
Angelo Mathews was omitted while Nuwan Pradeep earned a recall to bolster the seam attack
Avishka Fernando’s return will create competition at the top of the order. Kusal Perera, Danushka Gunathilaka and Kusal Mendis had formed the top three in the recent ODIs in Bangladesh. But if Avishka makes it into the XI, it is likely that either Kusal Mendis or Perera may move down the order.
With Pradeep back, Sri Lanka have no fewer than six specialist seam-bowling options on this tour, with Dushmantha Chameera, Isuru Udana, Asitha Fernando, Binura Fernando, and Shiran Fernando all picked. Allrounders Dasun Shanaka and Chamika Karunaratne also bowl seam, in addition to Jayaratne and Lakshan.
There were four frontline spinners in the group – Wanindu Hasaranga, Lakshan Sandakana, Akila Dananjaya and Jayawickrama.
Sri Lanka leave for England on Tuesday. Following quarantine, they are expected to play two tour matches, before the internationals start with the first of three T20Is on June 23. Three ODIs will follow.
Andrew Fidel Fernando is ESPNcricinfo’s Sri Lanka correspondent. @afidelf
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