CRICKET Ireland confirmed a two match ODI series against Pakistan, with the games taking place on Thursday May 23 and Sunday May 26, with the venue(s) still to be finalised.
Pakistan will be based in Ireland for a week, using the series to acclimatize ahead of the Champions Trophy which is being held in England starting on June 6, with Pakistan playing their first game in the competition the following day against the West Indies.
Ireland coach Phil Simmons was delighted at securing high profile opposition, saying: “It’s fantastic news for Irish cricket, and we’re grateful to both ICC and the Pakistan Cricket Board for making the series possible. The extra funding we’ve secured through TAPP ensures we’re able to organise additonal matches against Full Members.
“Pakistan are a formidable one-day side and it’s a great way of measuring where we are as a team. We’ve had some wonderful tussles with them in the past, and for many, Irish cricket was born the day we beat them in the 2007 World Cup. That win grabbed the attention of the world and we haven’t looked back since.
“It’s shaping up to be a busy summer for Irish cricket, with in addition to this game, a four-day clash with Australia A as they warm up for The Ashes, a proposed series against Bangladesh and of course the RSA Challenge against England at our new international ground in Malahide.”
Commenting on the matches Pakistan Head Coach Dav Whatmore said: ”We are eagerly awaiting our matches against the Irish team. Irish cricket has been improving consistently and we will be looking forward to some competitive games ahead of the ICC Champions Trophy. The fixtures are a continuation of the PCB’s support to all Associate Member nations, and we are delighted to be returning once again to Ireland.”
The sides last met on Irish soil in 2011 with Pakistan winning both ODI’s despite a brilliant century by Paul Stirling in the second international. His innings of 109 was described at the time by cricketing legend Waqar Younis as ‘one of the greatest he’d ever witnessed.’
Ireland’s only victory against Pakistan in an ODI came in the aforementioned World Cup Cup encounter in Sabina Park, when Niall O’Brien played the innings of a lifetime. The left-hander made a quite superb 72 in difficult conditions as Ireland chased down a Pakistan total of 132 to secure a three wicket win – a result which reverberated around the cricketing world.
Pakistan are sure to draw big crowds for their games with players of the calibre of Junaid Khan, Saeed Ajmal, Nasir Jamshed, Misbah-ul-Haq and Younis Khan in their ranks. Jamshed scored consecutive centuries as Pakistan triumphed 2-1 in their most recent one-day series in India last month, while Khan and Ajmal were in devastating form during the 2011 series in Belfast.
Ticketing details will be released in due course.