Ireland to make Test debut at home to Pakistan in May


Ireland, the latest entrants in the Test club along with Afghanistan, could be set to play their first official Test against Pakistan in May next year.

Ireland and Afghanistan were granted full Test membership rights after years of lobbying in the Annual General Meeting of the ICC in London earlier this June.

Both countries agreed to face each other during the International Cricket Council (ICC) meeting in Auckland, New Zealand, today.

The ICC, in a media release on Tuesday, said that Pakistan will play a "red ball" match against Ireland in April ahead of their two-Test tour of England next year.

Cricket has been played in Ireland for almost 200 years, but it was not until 1969 that they made the rest of the world game take true notice when they bowled out the West Indies for just 25 at Sion Mills in a televised match.

Ireland Cricket CEO Warren Deutrom is delighted with the announcement and thanked the Pakistan board for accepting the invitation to be their first opponent in the longer format. "The Pakistan team has been a regular visitor to our shores in recent years, and their agreement to be our opponent on this important occasion for Irish cricket is further evidence of their terrific support". While still eight months away, it is still to be seen whether Sarfaraz Ahmed will have been able to build Pakistan up once again.

Ireland captain William Porterfield said: "It's fantastic news for Irish cricket". It's going to be a bit special and it's always great to be a part of history.

"If one looks at the concept in isolation. then it's pretty obvious that traditionalists, which includes many players who consider Test cricket as the pinnacle of the game, are not going to be in favour of a change to four days".