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Ireland to play England in landmark Test match as part of new four-year fixture list

Inclusion on Future Tours Programme a significant moment for Irish cricket.

IN ANOTHER SIGNIFICANT and landmark step, Cricket Ireland has been included on the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) Future Tours Programme for the first time, thus guaranteeing them a stacked calendar against the world’s top sides.

Ireland celebrate Niall O'Brien's LBW to Mohammad Amir Ireland played their first Test against Pakistan in May. Source: Oisin Keniry/INPHO

Following ascension to full membership status of the ICC last June, and a maiden Test match against Pakistan earlier this summer, Ireland’s presence on the FTP schedule for the next four years is a key development for the sport in this country, not just for the progression of the team but in making the game more visible to new fans and stakeholders on a consistent basis.

Ireland will play 12 Test matches, 62 One-Day Internationals and 65 Twenty20s against 10 of the 11 full member nations [Australia being the odd one out] between 2018 and 2023, in what is a packed and exciting schedule for the men’s national team.

Most significantly, Ireland will play England in a hugely anticipated away Test match in July 2019, and while a venue has yet to be confirmed, it’s expected the five-day game will be played at Lord’s.

That will be Ireland’s second Test match next year, and third overall, as they travel to face Afghanistan in February/March 2019, in the first of a four-game series between the countries on a home and away basis.

“From the moment we were granted full membership of the ICC, two of the key priorities for Cricket Ireland were to play our first Test match and to negotiate a multi-format fixture schedule as part of the FTP,” Cricket Ireland CEO, Warren Deutrom, said.

“We have now delivered both — and we believe the players and fans of Irish cricket will be excited by the comprehensive programme ahead.

“All in all, this is a significantly-enhanced programme for players, coaches and administrators, and a feast of regular world-class cricket for our valued fans and stakeholders.”

Fans will have to wait until May/June 2020 for another Test on Irish soil, with Bangladesh scheduled to visit in two summers’ time but the likes of England and Zimbabwe will play one-day fixtures here in the interim.

“While we will typically play one home Test per year in Ireland, we are looking at building that up over time and have two home Tests scheduled in the 2022 season,” Deutrom added.

“In the white-ball formats we are looking at playing all but one of the Full Member nations in ODIs or T20I format across the life of this FTP. This is an incredibly exciting and varied programme that we firmly believe will help make cricket more visible and mainstream in Ireland over the next five years.”

Tom Latham batts Ireland will face 10 of the 11 full member nations over the next four years. Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

In addition to the confirmed fixtures, Cricket Ireland is also pursuing further opportunities against both full and associate member nations as part of the overall schedule, which as of now will see the men’s national team play 180 days of international cricket against top-tier opposition between now and March 2023.

It is an extraordinary contrast to the scraps Cricket Ireland had been forced to feed off in the past, and the type of exposure and experience which will be paramount in the development of Ireland as a Test-playing nation.

After their historic first Test match last month, Ireland host India in two sold-out Twenty20 games at Malahide next Wednesday and Friday, while Afghanistan arrive for a three-game ODI series and three T20s in August.

Cricket Ireland performance director Richard Holdsworth added: “I’d like to acknowledge our colleagues in the 11 other national cricket boards for their welcoming approach and support to Ireland during my numerous discussions in this complicated process.

“This is a scale of cricket unknown to Irish cricket fans and one we welcome as we begin our journey as a Full Member.”

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Full details of the ICC’s FTP available here>

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