If everything goes as planned, Irish cricket fans will be witnessing the country’s first Test match staged on home soil as early as next year. This comes after the International Cricket Council confirmed reports that they are finalising the details of the history making Test match this week. According to an ICC spokesperson, Ireland’s first official test match will most likely be held in Dublin against Pakistan. The two teams are currently in talks about a Test match that will either be played in late April 2018 or early May.
While it hasn’t been made official yet, the cat was out of the bag as it were when the ICC sent out a media release saying that Pakistan will play a Red Ball match against Ireland ahead of their two-test tour of England in April 2018. When prompted, the ICC spokesperson failed to confirm whether the Irish-based Test match has been given the green light. If the match is to go ahead, the one thing we can say is that the Irish will have a significant home advantage, especially where the weather is concerned.
While on paper, the matchup seems exciting, Dublin’s average temperature in April sits around eight degrees and climbing to a hand-numbing eleven in May. For the visiting Pakistani team, this is a far cry from what they would be used to in their home games in the balmy United Arab Emirates. Another interesting factor to come into play is the fact that the match could be limited to four days instead of five and this could greatly impact online betting opportunities. According to Cricket Ireland chief executive Warren Deutrom, the team would be more than open the concept of a shorter game, having already excelled in the four-day format at the ICC Intercontinental Cup.
Four Day Format on the Cards
Speaking to the press, Deutrom said that they cannot complain about having to compromise the traditional format of test cricket when they haven’t even played one in the country. It could also prove to be an interesting exercise for players who measure their fitness levels over 5 days rather than 4. He went on to say that the four-day format might just suit the team better, given the familiarity the Irish team has with the game throughout Intercontinental Cup.
Meanwhile South Africa has also announced a cricket first with plans to stage a four-day test against Zimbabwe this coming summer. Cricket South Africa are hopeful that the ICC will grant the upcoming match their stamp of approval and official Test status. At present, the current playing conditions for Test matches dictate that each Test shall consist of five days. However, there have been many instances of shorter Tests being played over the years.
Having received their Test playing status earlier this year, Ireland are yet to play their inguinal match. The Irish are no slouches when it comes to cricket, as shown in their famous upset against Pakistan in the 2007 world cup on St Patrick’s day. The national team repeated the feat against close rivals England at the 2011 World Cup held in Bangalore.