Ireland will make their Test debut on home soil against Pakistan in May 2018, it was confirmed on Thursday (October 12) by Cricket Ireland.
Discussions between Cricket Ireland and the Pakistan Cricket Board took place during the ICC meeting held in Auckland earlier this week, and a media release by the ICC did state that Pakistan would play a red-ball game in Ireland ahead of their two-Test series in England, but it didn’t mention whether the game would be a first-class fixture or a Test.
“We are excited to welcome Pakistan to Ireland for our inaugural Test match next year,” Warren Deutrom, the Cricket Ireland CEO, said putting speculation to rest. “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,” he was quoted as saying by cricketireland.ie.
“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.”
The enthusiasm over the confirmation of the historic fixture was echoed by William Porterfield, the Ireland captain.
“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,” Porterfield said.
“There’s a special affinity between ourselves and Pakistan going back to the 2007 World Cup (when Ireland defeated Pakistan to knock them out of the group stages) 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,” he went on. “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.”
The exact dates and venue are yet to be locked in, but a final decision will be made soon.
Ireland and Afghanistan became the 11th and 12th Test nations after a unanimous vote to that effect by the full member boards in June during the ICC’s annual conference in London.