WILLIAM PORTERFIELD and his team flew out of Colombo airport not so much disappointed at Ireland's early exit from the World T20 as exasperated that they now have no competitive fixtures until March.
Ireland are pressing to be included on the International Cricket Council's Future Tours Programme which would guarantee games against the Test match-playing nations, but so far have not managed to persuade the vested interests that control the world game.
"We want to be playing as much as possible, at as high a level as possible, so to go four or five months without getting together is obviously disappointing," the Ireland captain said.
"Something might come up between now and March but what we really need is to get on the Future Tours Programme and have the next few years lined out in front of us."
Porterfield paid tribute to his fellow northerner Boyd Rankin, who is standing down from Ireland duty to concentrate on his fast bowling career with Warwickshire and chase the dream of winning a couple of Test caps with England.
"Boyd has always been fantastic for us and he gives you a genuine wicket-taking option in all formats," he said. "His height and pace make him unique at our level and he has been a big part of our success."
The captain said Rankin was "gutted" not to have been fit to face the West Indies -- but perhaps he could have chosen a better adjective given that it was a stomach bug that kept him from playing what would have his final game, for at least a couple of years.
"Losing the big man will be a blow but it also opens up an opportunity for someone to come in and take his place," Porterfield added, picking out The Hills paceman Max Sorensen as someone who could fill the role.
"Max has played a fair bit over he past year -- he's keen, he works hard and he's improving all the time. We've also got the experience of Tim Murtagh to call on now and young Stuart Thompson is going to be a very good cricketer in a couple of years' time."