Ireland host Pakistan in an historic first test match next May.
It really is a great day to be a Irish cricket fan. After being in the shadows for so long Ireland are now months away from being involved in the greatest form of the game and the pinnacle of cricket. A format that involves having great mental strength, the ability to bat for hours on end, and patience, when to play or when to leave or block. This is great news for the country and this is the best chance to try and get younger generations involved in the game and for them to stamp their name into the history books. Ireland could easily have a Jimmy Anderson or maybe Joe Root hiding in the wings.
Since Ireland were given Test status by the ICC this summer gone the question was who would face Ireland in their first test match, and with the news coming out this week it will be none other then Pakistan who will travel to Ireland for a test match next May, after an agreement was made by both sides during an ICC meeting this week in Auckland.
Both Ireland and fellow associate member Afghanistan were given Test Status earlier this year by the ICC and both teams are looking for the right team to face. While Ireland have their first test match announced Afghanistan still wait for their first match and hopefully they won’t be waiting too long for that, another side that deserved Test Status.
We wait for the news on the date and venue and I can speak for most fans in saying that Malahide would be the perfect setting for the first test. The venue can hold up to 10,000 people and its location is one of the beautiful places to play a game of cricket in the world.
“We are excited to welcome Pakistan to Ireland for our inaugural Test match next year,” chief executive Warren 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.”
Pakistan certainly fit the bill as a team who were top of the Test match rankings as recently as last year before slipping back after the retirement of captain Misbah-ul-Haq and senior batsman Younis Khan.
“There is a lot of work to do from now to ensure that it will be an occasion to remember but we, and I’m sure our players and fans, can’t wait to rise to it,” Deutrom added.
“We would like to thank the Pakistan Cricket Board most sincerely for agreeing to be our first opponent in Test cricket – 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.”
Irish captain William Porterfield welcomed confirmation of the match saying: “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.
“There’s a special affinity between ourselves and Pakistan going back to the 2007 World Cup and they’ve been regular tourists here over the past decade.
“Test cricket is the pinnacle of our sport and I know how much this game will mean to not only the players but all involved with Irish cricket. It’ll be another step on what has been an incredible journey for our sport in a relatively short passage of time.
“It’s sure to be an incredible and emotional experience for all involved. I know how much this will mean to all the players and just how much we all will forward to our dream of being Test cricketers realised. I’m certain there will be an incredible atmosphere from both sets of fans who will be keen to witness a piece of history.”