With the dust now settled on a winter away from home and ultimately a disappointing performance at the World Cup there is still much to be optimistic about.

It was only 4 months ago that the team completed an unprecedented treble of associate trophies and two months since a tied series and a T20 win against the then World Champions.

Unfortunately we couldn't continue the solid winter's work on the sub-continent. Disappointing, no doubt however with the two One day international games coming up against Sri Lanka and the announcement of the change of structure to test match cricket there is plenty for Irish cricket fans to look forward to.

Sri Lanka have decided to rest some of their biggest names for the trip to Dublin. Some people might feel short changed and disappointed at not being able to see the likes of Sangakarra and Jayawardena in action.

My personal opinion is that it is their right to pick whatever side they want to. Looking at it from our point of view it increases our chances of getting a favourable result. That's all we are interested in.

Make no mistake though, it will still be a talented bunch of players that make the walk out to the middle in Castle Avenue and we will need to be at our absolute best to get something from the games.

Ed Joyce comes into the games in just about the form of his life, with three first class hundreds in the space of a month he will want to continue that in the shorter format.

William Porterfield has had a great start as well with two fifties and Niall O'Brien, just this week scored a hundred against Glamorgan. We have players in the runs so we will be looking to put pressure on Sri Lanka right from the off.

I haven't managed to put a score on the board myself in the first two games for Surrey but am working hard in the nets with new coach Graham Ford, whilst also picking his brains on the Sri Lankan players.

He finished just three months ago as their head coach and has been giving me some inside knowledge. The best thing that we can hope for is a freezing cold day in early May in North Dublin, a bit of rain but not too much.

Basically anything that can take the Sri Lankan players as far out of their comfort zones as possible and really look to get the most out of our home advantage. After all, if it was a game in Colombo we would be playing on a baking hot day against a battery of spinners on a raging 'bunsen burner'.

We have to ensure that we stack the odds in our favour and while we obviously cant control the weather, some of the other things we can. I really believe we are playing at a good time and we owe the home fans a good performance against top quality opposition.

Most of our big wins against full member nations have come either away from home or in World Cups, so to give the fans something to shout about at home would really mean a lot. I remember the England game last year when the crowd started singing "come on you boys in green" they were fantastic that day and I have to be honest when I started playing for to think I could hear a home crowd get that involved in a game seemed unlikely!

For the first time ever the possibility of Ireland playing Test cricket is a real one. The idea of a sell out crowd for a five day match at Malahide or Stormont does not seem quite so far away.

This is something that Cricket Ireland and the many executives, coaches, captains, fans and cricketing public have been yearning for- an opportunity. Yes, we will have to jump through more hoops to get there, yes we will have to win another I-cup, no, it probably isn't fair that we have to do it again.

Many people will be asking, "why do we have to prove ourselves again?" The reality is, you continually have to prove yourself worthy of playing international cricket. It looks like it will be a case of playing teams home and away over a two year period, with the winner playing a four game series against the then lowest ranked test side.

If you don't win a competition over a two year period with home and away fixtures, do you really deserve to be playing test cricket? Warren Deutrom said it at the time and he is absolutely spot on. All we have ever asked for is a chance, not to be written off. Well we've got it. 

League Cricket started back home this weekend and I still keep a close eye on my club CSNI who recorded a great win over Belfast rivals Inst.... Nothing better than beating them (a win away at The Green comes close). I've done my fantasy team as well this year so that's more players to look out for. I think I scored well enough after week one. We'll soon see.