Test duo line up Irish mini-series
Published 26/08/2015 | 02:30
Ireland will host one-day international mini-series against both Sri Lanka and Pakistan next summer as elevation to permanent status on the ICC rankings system begins to bear fruit in terms of more matches against the Test-playing nations.
Sri Lanka have agreed to play two matches in June while Pakistan, who have done much to support Irish cricket since famously losing to the Boys in Green at the 2007 World Cup, will also play two 50-over games in August.
Before that, Ireland will travel to Harare in October to play three ODIs against Zimbabwe, with all seven matches counting towards automatic qualification for the 2019 World Cup, no matter how improbable that task may appear.
Ireland are in 10th spot on the ODI rankings but with no compulsion for teams above them to play matches - never mind series - the odds of breaking into the top eight before the September 2017 qualifying cut-off point are slim to non-existent.
A victory over Australia in Belfast tomorrow would help the Ireland cause, though, and local lad Gary Wilson wasn't ruling out an upset in the Hanley Energy Challenge as the squad trained at Stormont yesterday.
"We saw in the T20 qualifiers last month that anyone can beat anyone on a given day," Wilson said. "Our batters have all been in good form for their counties and we know that we will have a lot of noisy home support."