You must be happy with the composition of the squad?

William Porterfield'It's very much a full strength squad, with us having all the county players available. It's good to have everybody fit and raring to go. It's a real bonus to have the likes of Trent (Johnston), and Eoin Morgan in the ranks.'

'There's a lot of experience in it, with five of the guys involved in county cricket, and ten survivors from the 2007 World Cup squad in the West Indies. Also Moggie (Eoin Morgan) will be coming back from an England Lions tour, and that will given us even more experience. Hopefully, when things get tough, having all that experience will stand us in good stead. Gary Wilson, like Eoin, will be joining the training camp a week later, as he'll be in Abu Dubai with Surrey, and he'll have a few games under his belt.'

What did Porterfield make of the balance of the squad – was he happy top have so many all-rounders at his disposal?

'It's great to have so many options as a captain. There are those who would advocate going for specialists, but we have genuine all-rounders, rather than ‘bits and pieces' cricketers. We obviously have the two big lads (Boyd Rankin and Peter Connell) opening the bowling, but I'm a bit spoiled in that we have four or five others who I can call on if things don't go well at the start. We have two quality spinners in the ranks as well, and we pretty much have all bases covered.'

How have the squad and William in particular been preparing for the competition?

'I've been coming back every second weekend for the squad sessions, and myself and the lads have been also working very hard on an individual basis during the week. We've taken every opportunity to get in the nets as much as possible and work on our own individual game and technique. We have a two week training camp coming up, and hopefully everybody will know where their game is at.'

Ireland have also been making strides in the physical side of the things, by employing a full-time strengthening and conditioning coach. How has that gone down with the players?

'This is an area which is of vital importance. You've got to move forward with the times, and we've embraced it.< In olden days we may have lagged behind in this aspect of preparation, but now with a more professional attitude, it's part and parcel of the game. To be competitive now, you've got to be in peak condition to perform to the best of your ability.'

How did he feel about being drawn in Group A, which seems on paper the more difficult of the two?

'It does look the more difficult of the two, but it doesn't matter who we're playing, in that we've got to concentrate more on our own game and worry about our performance rather than the opposition. If we go into games fully fit, firing, and playing the brand of cricket we are capable of, then we should be well placed to progress. Given the format of the competition, all the top sides will be playing each other at some juncture anyway.'

What about South African conditions – would they suit the Irish style of play?

'I reckon we should adapt fine. It worked out well for us when we beat Namibia twice and Kenya towards the end of last year. They should have a bit of pace and bounce in them, and Big Boyd (Rankin) is ideally suited to exploit that. Peter Connell had a great 2008 as well, and if there is any turn then Kyle and Regan are as good as what's about. We have got a strong batting line up, and a lot of guys who like to play their shots, so the extra pace will help them, with the ball coming onto the bat more than in Ireland. There's no doubt we've also got great depth to the batting,< so we're well placed in most aspects.

With so much at stake, how did Porterfield feel his side would< cope with the pressure?

'We've been in pressure situations before and performed well. That's the undoubted benefit of experience – look at the pressure situation we came out of against Namibia when we fought back from virtually the dead to win. I know this time it's a one day rather than a four day format, but we've shown we have resilience. As captain, the onus is on me to keep a clear head when under pressure, and make sure we have a plan. With Ireland you can have 11 captains on the field at any one time, so there's no shortage of advice. The guys know their roles and positions within that plan, and they've got to keep their concentration and focus. The key is not to panic when things aren't going as you would like.'

'With Trent and Kyle both former captains also there, they are always helping, and bringing ideas to the party. Niall O'Brien behind the stumps also chips in, as with his unique view behind the stumps, he sometimes sees things I wouldn't from my fielding position. With so many ideas, the trick is making sure I pick the right one!'

Having sampled the unique atmosphere of a World Cup during their time in the West Indies, was he and the rest of the squad keen to repeat that experience?

'There's no doubt that playing at the very top level against the best players and teams in the world is something everyone wants to sample again. It brings out the best in players, and it's a platform that Ireland wants to be seen on regularly. By playing at that level is only going to improve the Irish game and profile of the sport.'