We are the lucky ones - Ireland remember their past ahead of historic first Test
Ireland are grateful to all those who have helped make the dream a reality ahead of their debut as a Test nation, according to captain William Porterfield.
Granted full member status by the International Cricket Council last June, Ireland will finally get the chance to play in the longest format when they go up against Pakistan in Malahide.
The one-off Test gets under way on Friday, with Porterfield admitting the 11 who start for the hosts will be the "lucky ones" after years of hard work, both on and off the field.
"It's obviously been a long journey, but in other ways it has been pretty quick as well," the former Warwickshire batsman told the media.
"Throughout my career we've gone from not having ODI status to having everything else. Now we go out there to play in the first Test for Ireland.
"Yes, there's been a lot of banging the drum and things like that, and it's going to be a pretty special occasion for the XI that takes the field.
"But, as we have mentioned already ourselves among the squad, it would be pretty remiss of us if we didn't talk what had gone on before us, and not just in terms of the last five or 10 years, which everyone will probably remember the most, but also every cricketer who has ever played for Ireland, plus administrators off the field.
"There have been a lot of people who have devoted a lot of their lives to making this moment happen. I think it just culminates with us being the lucky ones to take the pitch in this first Test."
Tomorow 11 of us will represent the 688 who have gone before us. Thank you for paving the way for us to fulfill our dreams. pic.twitter.com/ahPmpgw9h9-- Andy Balbirnie (@balbo90) May 10, 2018
Visiting skipper Sarfraz Ahmed admitted it will be an honour for Pakistan to be involved in the historic occasion - and believes Irish cricket will benefit greatly from the chance to play Test cricket.
"I think it is a great achievement for Ireland Cricket that they will be playing international cricket," he said at his pre-match press conference.
"First of all, congrats from my side and on behalf of the Pakistan team as well. From here on, more people will pick up the game and more kids will play the game as well. It is a big honour for me and my team to play this historic Test match."
Ireland were forced to make a late change to their squad after seamer Nathan Smith suffered a side strain in training, with Craig Young drafted in as cover.