Sports

Ireland to play Pakistan in first test next year

Ireland to play Pakistan in first test next year

Cricket Ireland officials will be travelling to Auckland in New Zealand for the ICC Board meeting this week where they will lobby for global fixtures for the next two calendar years.

The test championship is planned to involve nine countries and be run over a two-year cycle, while a 13-nation ODI league would operate between World Cups and also be used to determine which teams qualify for the showpiece 50-overs tournament every four years.

Ireland played their first one-day worldwide against England in 2006 and qualified for the World Cup the following year, where they beat Pakistan and Bangladesh.

Richardson also said four-day test cricket would be explored on a trial basis.

Both Ireland and Afghanistan had been given full member status earlier this year, paving their way to play the longest format of the game.

"We would like to thank the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) most sincerely for agreeing to be our first opponent in Test cricket", Deutrom added.

Irish, the chief executive of the Federation of International Cricketers' Associations, urged stakeholders of the game not to look at ad hoc solutions to Test cricket.

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The moves are created to add "context" to all test and one-day matches during the cycle of the league, answering concerns that test cricket's popularity has been supported exclusively on existing rivalry between nations.

"This is a significant point in time for ICC members and our collective desire to secure a vibrant future for global bilateral cricket".

ICC said in a media release on Tuesday that Pakistan will play a "red ball" match against Ireland in April before their two-Test tour of England in 2018.

"This means fans around the world can enjoy worldwide cricket knowing every game counts and in the case of the ODI league, it counts towards qualification to the ICC Cricket World Cup". In the first edition of the league each team will play four home and four away series - each comprising three ODIs - and all teams will play each other from the second edition onward.

Reflecting on the move, ICC Chairman Shashank Manohar said, "I would like to congratulate our Members on reaching this agreement and putting the interests of the development of the game first".

"The ICC Board decision means we can now go and finalise a playing schedule.as well as the points system, hosting arrangements and competition terms". A set of playing conditions for four-day Tests is set to be drawn up by ICC management in coming weeks.

"Test matches have witnessed a decline in attendances in recent years, throwing the door open to a number of means to engage fans, including the introduction of day-night Tests".


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