Ireland to host Pakistan for Test debut

Ireland will play their first Test match at home against Pakistan with the dates and venues to be confirmed in due course.

The two countries brokered the agreement to play in May 2008 at the ICC executive meeting in Auckland which got underway this week.

Ireland and Afghanistan were given Test status in June when they became the 11th and 12th Full Members of the ICC.

Since then the hunt has been on to find an opponent for their historic first match.

Ireland CEO Warren Deutrom said: “We are excited to welcome Pakistan to Ireland for our inaugural Test match next year.

“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.”

Deutrom is happy to wait for the first Test knowing the amount of preparation time they will need to get the players and facilities ready.

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He added: “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.

“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.”

Ireland captain William Porterfield was thrilled that Pakistan had been unveiled as their first ever Test opponents.

Porterfield said: “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.”