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Pakistan in line to become Ireland's first ever Test opponents in 2018
13 October 2017, 08:53 | Anna Jefferson
ICC confirms Ireland to play historic first test against Pakistan
While Ireland has only been admitted to test status this year, cricket has existed in the country since the 18th century and the national team, like its rugby union counterpart, represents both Northern Ireland and the Republic.
While some details remain to be fleshed out, including the points system and the full week-by-week Future Tours Programme, the first two-year Test championship comprising the game's top-nine teams will begin at the conclusion of the 2019 World Cup, with the top two teams by April 2021 to playoff in a championship final in England in June of that year. Since then Cricket Ireland has been looking for the right opponent for the historic first match.
Ireland have since established themselves during the course of several World Cups, recording one-day global wins over Pakistan, the West Indies and England.
The decision was made after the two cricket boards reached a decision at an ICC meeting in Auckland this week.
South Africa will play Zimbabwe in cricket's first four-day test on December 26 and Richardson said that while the concept was still in the trial phase it should help Afghanistan and Ireland, who were granted test status in June, get up to speed faster.
Apart from the above advantage, it is also believed that Test may well be a four-day affair instead of the traditional five-day Test match. "If it was a rain-off yesterday, it would have been very disappointing so I am a fan of that".
Pakistan were top of the test match rankings as recently as past year before slipping back after the retirement of captain Misbah-ul-Haq and senior batsman Younis Khan. It is also believed that Ireland will have a very crucial home advantage against Pakistan if the Test match takes place.
While Ireland is still to have their Test debut and Pakistan has an upper hand of more than half a century in experience, the single game could prove a challenging one for Pakistan.
"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".
Ireland skipper William Porterfield was not hesitant to mention the game either in his response to the announcement.
"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".
While the news is certainly a major moment for Ireland, it will be quite significant for Pakistan as well.
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