Ireland secure Pakistan matches
Ireland have secured more valuable game-time against Full Member opposition, confirming a two-match one-day series against Pakistan in May as part of the visitors' preparations for the Champions Trophy.
The matches will rekindle memories of one of Ireland's most famous days on the international stage when they beat Pakistan at the 2007 World Cup in Jamaica. The sides have met twice since then at the ODI level with Pakistan winning both matches during a short trip in 2011. These latest games will be played on May 23 and 26, with the venues still to be confirmed, during a week-long stay for Pakistan in Ireland.
The matches add to an increasing fixture list for Ireland, which includes a one-day international against England and a tour by Australia A. There are also plans in place to play a series against Bangladesh. Ireland have benefited from extra funding from the ICC that is enabling them to attract more high-level opposition, which is a key part of their long-term plan.
Phil Simmons, the Ireland coach, said: "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 additional 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."
Last week, Pakistan were also confirmed as playing Scotland in two one-day internationals in the build-up to the Champions Trophy.
Andrew McGlashan is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo