Ireland to make Test cricket debut against Pakistan

Ireland make Test cricket debut Pakistan
Photo by Sam Barnes/Sportsfile

Ireland’s cricket team will make its long-awaited debut as a Test playing nation against Pakistan in May 2018.

Ireland will host Pakistan, the Champions Trophy holders, in the historic five-day match after being promoted to full-member Test playing status in June.

Cricket Ireland chief executive Warren Deutrom has said the match should be “a celebration” as they face one of the major cricket nations.

Deutrom said: “It has been our wish to make our Test debut in front of our own fans within 12 months of becoming a Test nation, and against a big team, so I’m delighted.”

The two countries reached an agreement to play a five-day Test in Ireland after a meeting between Warren.

Ireland make Test cricket debut Pakistan
23 June 2017; Ireland players Andrew Balbirnie, second right, and Ed Joyce, right, with Warren Deutrom, CEO, Cricket Ireland and Brendan Griffin T.D, Minister of State at the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport following a press conference at the Irish Aviation Authority Offices in Dublin. Photo by Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile

The fixture was agreed after a meeting between Deutrom and Subhan Ahmed, his Pakistan counterpart, in Auckland this week.

Cricket Ireland to stage the match at Malahide Cricket Club, which for Pakistan will act as preparation for their two-Test series with England which begins at Lord’s on 24 May.

Cricket Ireland hopes to 5,000 spectators to each of the first three days of the Test match, with the game to be heavily marketed to Ireland’s Pakistani community, as well as that in the UK.

“We will do everything we can to bring the public out to celebrate our first Test match,” said Richard Holdsworth, Cricket Ireland’s high-performance director.

“We got almost 10,000 people in to Malahide for the one-day international against England in 2013. Wouldn’t it be great to do the same again? We are certainly aiming high, to make it a memorable occasion for the sport.”

The two sides have met before at one-day international level, with Pakistan winning all three of their limited overs series in Ireland, in 2011, 2013 and 2016.

Ireland famously beat Pakistan in their 2007 Cricket World Cup group fixture.

And Holdsworth added that Cricket Ireland is keen to play a return Test match in Pakistan, as long as the security situation in the country remains stable.

Pakistan have not played a leading Test team on home soil for the past eight years after the 2009 terrorist attack on the Sri Lanka team bus in Lahore, and now usually host matches in the United Arab Emirates.

“No doubt there will be discussions now that international cricket has been played in Pakistan, and we will hope to try and play our part, if we can,” he said.


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