Tuesday, 17 July, 2018

Ireland set for Test debut

Ireland famously knocked Pakistan out of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2007 Ireland famously knocked Pakistan out of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2007
| 11 May, 2018, 04:40

"It's a great achievement for Ireland to play test cricket", Ahmed said. He debuted in the third ODI in Abu Dhabi and anchored a successful run-chase, cracking his maiden global ton while at it. Imam has played four ODIs so far, scoring 149 runs at a strike rate of 73.4 and an average of 49.67, his highest score being the 100 he scored on debut.

"It's a very proud feeling", Imam, who scored a century on his ODI debut, was quoted as saying by ESPNcricinfo. "While not comparing the two bowlers we have come up against a very good legspinner [Rashid] over the last couple of years and we're going to get that again this week".

Pakistan's drawn four-day tour opener against Kent in Canterbury saw two whole days washed out, but conditions in Northampton allowed them to complete a morale-boosting win.

William Porterfield will lead Ireland in their inaugural Test, thinking of all those that have helped make the historic five-day contest a reality.

"I think after this Test match, more cricketers will come to play and kids will also come forward to play as well".

Ireland are set to embark on a new journey, and Pakistan will expect nothing less than a tremendous fight from a team that made name for themselves by humiliating them in the 2007 World Cup.

"We played our first match against Kent and they both played together so we saw who was playing well", Sarfraz said.


"T20 cricket has taken over, but deep down every cricketer wants to play Test cricket", opined Porterfield.

"We've been working hard, as a subcontinent nation it's difficult to perform over here in England and Ireland".

Earlier, the PCB made an offer to New Zealand Cricket to play one of their T20Is in Pakistan later this year. Fans who have supported the Irish team in the shorter formats of the game will turn out in force to watch this historic occasion.

Pakistan captain Sarfraz Ahmed told reporters at the Malahide ground on Thursday that the tourists would field the same side as played in their preceding nine-wicket win at Northamptonshire, in what will be Ireland's first Test match. But he explained that if Ireland had test status back then, he would have turned down England. In between they travel to South Africa.

It was a much-appreciated decision by the ICC to grant Test status to Ireland and Afghanistan, who have been the most consistent performers among the Associate Nations over the years.

The pressure will certainly be on the likes of Imam, Babar Azam and Azhar Ali. We are blessed in our sport to have three fantastic formats and with that comes the challenge for players of where to place their focus, but this week has reminded me of the importance of Test cricket in that mix.

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