William Porterfield feels ‘the time is right to be stepping away’ after retiring from international cricket
Former Ireland captain William Porterfield has announced his retirement from international cricket.
he 37-year-old ends his career as the third most capped Irish international and second-highest run-scorer. The top-order batsman earned 310 caps across all formats, with 253 as skipper, after making his international debut against Namibia in May 2006.
Porterfield started out playing club cricket with Donemana, and struck the first of his 18 centuries for Ireland against the MCC in a one-day match at Lord’s in August 2006. He went on to register 9,507 runs for Ireland at an average of 31.07 His highest score was 186 against Namibia in 2015.
The left-hander was involved in some of Irish cricket’s most famous moments, with his his 112 against England in a 2013 ODI at Malahide and 107 in Adelaide at the 2015 World Cup against Pakistan particularly memorable.
He also took 146 catches and 24 run-outs during his international career and also had a successful county career with Gloucestershire and Warwickshire, and will now move into a coaching role with the former.
“It’s been an honour to represent my country for 16 years – it’s something I had always wanted to do since I was a child,” Porterfield said.
“I have to say, though, it’s a little surreal at the moment having made the decision to step away and retire, but I’ve been fortunate to play since 2006 and it’s been an incredible journey.
“During my career, we’ve gone from an amateur team right through to now being a Test nation. From those before me, and along my journey, we have hopefully built an infrastructure that will allow the game in Ireland to continue to flourish. All I ever wanted to do was leave the shirt in a better place and leave the team in a better place, and hopefully I’ve played a part in doing that.
“As I said, it feels a little surreal today, but I also feel the time is right to be stepping away – I’ve been given the opportunity to join Gloucestershire as a Consultant Coach until the end of the season, and these opportunities don’t come around very often. It’s a decision I’ve been thinking long and hard about over the last week or so – and I’d like to thank Cricket Ireland for allowing me to get up and going in the role over the last while. Coaching is something I’d like to be involved in next, and after talking to my fiancé Hayley, my dad and a few other people I have decided to pursue this opportunity.
“There are so many memories that I will take away from my career, but one of my most treasured memories is receiving my first cap from the great Roy Torrens. Roy is a legend in Irish cricket, and up until he unfortunately passed away, he was pretty much at every one of my games in some capacity. He epitomised what Cricket Ireland and Irish cricket was to me, really someone I looked up to.
“Then there’s Sabina Park – where I played my last match for Ireland. It’s the ground where a lot of people say put Irish cricket on the map. That ground holds so many memories for me, right through from the Pakistan win in 2007 to walking off the field back in January having beaten the West Indies 2-1. In the build up to the games, a lot of the younger members of the squad were reminiscing as to where they were when we beat Pakistan on that day, and how that inspired them, and that was a lot of what it was about for me.
“There are so many people I’d like to thank for being part of my cricket journey, my parents for everything over the years, Hayley my fiancé, Lily my step-daughter for their sacrifices over the years, and the many teammates and coaches.
“I have had so many great coaches – right through from junior cricket to now. Brían O’Rourke was one who was there looking after us from a very young age. He took us on a lot of tours, helped us develop – he’s been a great coach and presence in Irish Cricket over the years and helped to mentor many of my age that came through. There’s Adi Birrell who gave me my debut and gave me belief that I could make it as a professional cricketer. There’s Simmo [Phil Simmons] who really helped me through some hard times especially around the leadership after I had taken over at a relatively young age. Bracers who I enjoyed working with at GCCC and Ireland. And then there’s Fordy [Graham Ford] who has had a great impact on the squad that is coming through. And now Heinrich [Malan] who is taking Irish cricket into an exciting stage.
“When I think of all my teammates I played with, there are just too many to thank individually. But to get to play with close mates for so long like Gary Wilson, Paul Stirling Balbo [Andrew Balbirnie] and Scra [Andy McBrine], Kev [O’Brien], Boyd [Rankin], Joycey [Ed Joyce], Murts [Tim Murtagh] but to name a few, having those lads around for so long was brilliant. Then going back to those in TJ’s era – playing with the likes of Kyle [McCallan] and Whitey [Andrew White], as well as John Boy [John Mooney] – really everyone I played with over such a long time I just want to say thanks.
“I would also like to that Cricket Ireland as an organisation for giving me the backing and support to not only play for my country for so long, but captain my country for 11 and a half years.”
Current captain Andrew Balbirnie was amongst those paying tribute, saying; “It’s a huge loss when an absolute pillar of the game calls time on his career. William has been an amazing person to have in the dressing room, as a player and as a person. A lot of the foundations that were laid for this current Irish team were done by him and teams that came before us.
“He always epitomised what we wanted to do as a team – his work ethic, his attitude on the pitch and his passion for the game. He’ll be a huge loss around the senior group, but we wish him well in his next stage of life, and hope he has an amazing time. Undoubtedly he’ll be a success at whatever path he chooses to go down.”