'We are ready to face spin'
Dismissing Bangladesh captain Shakib Al Hasan's suggestion that Ireland will struggle on the spin-friendly conditions in Dhaka, Irish skipper William Porterfield insisted that his team is well prepared to handle any situation when they take on the hosts in their Group B World Cup match on Friday.
"We know what to expect. Spin will obviously play a part in this World Cup and more so in Bangladesh, whose game plan is all about spin. But we feel we are ready," said Porterfield.
"It has been a very good preparation for the tournament where the focus was obviously on playing spin. We want to put in a performance in the World Cup that will make people sit up and take notice again," he added.
Porterfield, however, admitted that hosts Bangladesh start as favourites in Friday's day-night clash at the Sher-e-Bangla stadium.
"They are playing at home, so that is to be expected."
Ireland knocked out Pakistan in the first round of the previous edition of the World Cup in the Caribbean and then beat Bangladesh in the Super Eights round but when Porterfeild was asked about it, he refused to read much into it.
"The 2007 World Cup was a while ago, where conditions were different," the skipper of the non-Test nation, said.
Image: William Porterfield
'We are now getting used to the conditions'
"The last time we played in Bangladesh, we were taken by surprise by the heat, the humidity and the spinners. But this time we will not be found wanting. There is a lot more preparation done and we have spent a week in Dhaka getting used to the conditions," he added.
Going into the match, Ireland would take heart from their two successive victories over Bangladesh in major events -- beating them by 74 runs in the 2007 World Cup and then clinching a six-wicket win in the World Twenty20 in England in 2009.
The current Irish squad looks more formidable with nine players from 2007 World Cup, besides the presence of batsman Ed Joyce, who has played 17 one-dayers for England before opting to return to his land of birth.
Former West Indian batsman Phil Simmons, who is now the coach of Ireland, felt the present side was stronger than the one that played in the previous World Cup.
"The difference this time is that 13 of the 15 players earn their living from cricket, that's practically a full-time squad," said Simmons.
To which Porterfield added, "We may have lost the surprise factor, because most teams know us better now. But we want to test ourselves against the best."
On the other hand, Bangladesh who lost their opening match against India by 87 runs, cannot afford another defeat. So all in all, a keen contest is on the cards.
Image: Ed Joyce