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Porterfield: We're at fault for poor form, not Bracewell


By Ian Callender

William Porterfield has defended under-attack Ireland coach John Bracewell and confirmed he wants to continue as captain.

Porterfield has claimed it is hard to blame the coach when the players are not performing on the field and although the standard of opposition is consistently tougher than when he took over the captaincy nine years ago, he says that Ireland should be doing better.

Ireland have yet to beat a top eight nation outside a global tournament and never at home, the latest three defeats coming in the Tri-series against New Zealand and Bangladesh, who can rise to No.6 in the world with victory over the fourth-ranked Blackcaps in the final match at Clontarf today.

But Porterfield insists the blame cannot be piled on one man and remains happy with the coach's input.

"I don't see why not," he said. "It would be very ballsy for players to question anyone else's input when we haven't been performing ourselves. That's an easy cop-out for a lot of people.

"There's nothing that's been done so outside of the box. You're prepped as well as you can be but you still have to go out there and perform. You've got the bat in your hand, the ball in your hand, you're not told what shot to play, what ball to bowl and we have to take that responsibility and it doesn't come down to one individual."

And Porterfield is even more adamant when asked if it is just coincidence that Ireland have been on a downward spiral since Bracewell took over two years ago - which has yielded a record of just 21 wins in 57 completed matches.

"That does my head in as well, for want of a better phrase," he said. "The games that we have played have been tough cricket and the lads ourselves have to toughen up as much as anything, there are young lads coming in and they are learning quickly.

"People say that we are on a downward spiral but we have played Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Australia, South Africa, England and New Zealand, the top six teams in the world - and they are the top six for a reason - and we have to catch up as quickly as we can on a shoestring budget and with the limited squad we have.

"But we are big enough to do that because there is enough experience in the squad to be better, especially with the bat, and I like how the young bowlers are taking it on and keep coming back. It's not easy when lads go for a few runs to keep coming back but the attitude of the bowlers has been fantastic."

Before Porterfield took over, Trent Johnston had led Ireland in 60 matches - six more than any of his predecessors - but the Donemana-born 32-year-old has now been captain for an incredible 215 games.

"On a personal level, I want to leave things in a better way than they were and if everyone feels I'm doing that then I'm happy to continue," added Porterfield.

"There's a group of lads who are fighting for the same cause but if the selectors feel there is someone better to do that, then I'm more than happy with that too. If Irish cricket is progressing, that's my main aim.

"Hopefully I will play for a lot longer but whenever I leave Irish cricket I want to leave it in a better place, that's what I'm building towards and improving the team."

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