Ireland captain William Porterfield hopes a combination of local conditions and English county cricket experience will work in his side's favour when they make their Test debut at home to Pakistan later this week. "I'm very hopeful that I'll do well in the series".
"We were seeing who was playing well".
Both the Ireland and Afghanistan teams were elevated to Test status previous year, making them eligible for the five-day format.
The Test is also set to be shown on networks in countries including the United States and Australia as part of Cricket Ireland's largest broadcast package deal.
"You face Test bowlers in Championship games in England, and in white-ball cricket", said Porterfield, a former Gloucestershire and Warwickshire batsman.
Imam, whose place in the squad ahead of Fawad Alam was questioned, has looked in fine touch - with the scores of 61, 11 and 59* - in the two practice matches that Pakistan have played against Northamptonshire and Kent. Asad Shafiq's 186 was the highlight, while Shadab Khan claimed a ten-wicket haul, and Imam said the players were confident of rising to the occasion.
Ireland, who were granted Test status past year, will play their first Test against Pakistan in Dublin from Friday 11 May. I will be very nervous, I won't lie - that's what we play for, that's my dream since I grew up, to play Test cricket for your country.
For Porterfield and his 10 teammates, it promises to be an especially memorable occasion, but he was quick to pay tribute Thursday to all those who had helped make Ireland's Test debut a reality. We need to celebrate what is different about each format and understand that they each have a role to play in our sport. But he explained that if Ireland had test status back then, he would have turned down England.
"I think after this Test match, more cricketers will come to play and kids will also come forward to play as well".
Pakistan now sit in seventh place on the rankings, but even though they are going up against a side with no Test experience Imam pointed out that his side can not afford to underestimate Ireland.
The first time the two faced each other was at Kingston in the 2007 ODI Cricket World Cup, when the Irish caused a major upset by defeating Pakistan. It also provides the strongest economic legacy for the game enabling us to invest further in the future of cricket.
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