Eoin Morgan says Ireland's maiden Test match is 'huge step forward'
"Ireland have been in the hunt to try and get Test match cricket for about a decade now and that has been justly rewarded. To get to this stage is a huge credit to them"
Last Updated: 10/05/18 11:51am
England white-ball captain Eoin Morgan says Ireland's maiden Test match against Pakistan, live on Sky Sports Cricket from Friday as a "huge step forward" for Irish cricket.
Morgan believes Ireland have been "justly rewarded" for their impressive performances over the last 10 years, which have included World Cup wins over major Test-playing nations Pakistan, England and the West Indies.
Born in Dublin, Morgan played for the country of his birth in the 2007 Cricket World Cup featuring in the sides that beat Pakistan and drew with Zimbabwe.
But the 31-year-old, who made his five-day debut for England in 2010, does not believe a similarly successful outcome is essential in Ireland's first foray into Test cricket.
"It's a huge opportunity; the start of a different journey for Ireland cricket," Morgan told Sky Sports Cricket. "They've been in the hunt to try and get Test match cricket for about a decade now and that has been justly rewarded. To get to this stage is a huge credit to them.
"I don't think the result of the game necessarily matters. The game itself is much more important in terms of Ireland's cricketing history, as it might lead to more fixtures, home and away, and help grow the game.
"I certainly didn't think I'd see it during my playing career, but the run to the Super Eights in 2007 really did create a bit more popularity around the game, and attention around Irish cricket. Since then, they've really done themselves proud and to think that they're playing a Test match on Friday, it's a huge step forward."
While Morgan does not believe the result of the game - live on Sky Sports Cricket from 10.55am on Friday - is particularly important, could the team spring another surprise on Pakistan, like in 2007?
Ireland will have favourable home conditions in Malahide, Pakistan has struggled at times against the seaming and swinging ball on previous tours of the UK and the hosts have numerous, experienced county cricket pros in their ranks.
Morgan said: "In 2007, we turned up to Sabina Park in Jamaica and the wicket was greener than a dodgy day in Dublin; we won the toss and bowled and managed to bowl them out for 132 and then chase it down so, if conditions are in Ireland's favour, then they can cause Pakistan problems.
"It's important that some of those guys are still playing, considering how significant that game was; the O'Brien brothers, William Porterfield, along with Gary Wilson and Ed Joyce, guys who have been around a long time.
"But they're a very strong team Pakistan. On their day, they can beat anybody in the world, and while conditions might be against them, you'd say they're still going in as very strong favourites."
Morgan is set to play for Middlesex in a County Championship game against Gloucestershire at Lord's on Friday but will still be keeping an eye out on how Ireland get on.
Regardless of the result, he does not think it will be long before Ireland adapt to their new Test status, adding: "I think a lot of people will be surprised. When you look back at Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and how they adapted to the pace and nature of Test cricket - it's probably not as long as people think till Ireland make that leap towards being a competitive Test match team."
Watch Ireland play Pakistan in their maiden Test match, live on Sky Sports Cricket and Main Event from 10.55am on Friday.