CRICKET: Ireland to face top ODI sides

Ireland captain William  Porterfield.
Ireland captain William Porterfield.

Ireland will play both South Africa and Australia next year in One-Day International fixtures.

The games will both take place at Benoni in South Africa, with Ireland playing the hosts at Sahara Park, Willowmoore on Sunday September 25th, before facing the touring Australians at the same venue two days later on Tuesday September 27th.

North West men Stuart Thompson, Andy McBrine and Craig Young along with skipper William Porterfield will all be hoping to be in the squad.

“It’s fantastic news for Irish cricket,” said head coach John Bracewell.

“These are exactly the type of fixtures Irish cricket needs to take the game to the next level. There are fewer tougher challenges than playing South Africa in their home conditions plus the number one ranked side in Australia.

“The players will all relish the challenge and allied with the home fixtures already confirmed against Pakistan and Sri Lanka, we are seeing a much needed increase in the volume of top class cricket that we need.”

Cricket Ireland CEO Warren Deutrom echoed Bracewell’s sentiments and paid tribute to South Africa and Australia for accommodating them in their itinerary.

“Cricket Ireland is most grateful to Cricket South Africa and Cricket Australia for giving us this opportunity,” he said.

“More matches, more regularly, against the best players, in overseas conditions are precisely what we need to make us more competitive on the world stage.

“The recent series played by Ireland and Afghanistan in Zimbabwe plus our ODIs against Sri Lanka and Pakistan in 2016, and now these matches, show that the 12-team ODI structure is beginning to bear fruit. Long may that continue.”