New Zealand and Bangladesh to contest tri-series in Ireland in 2017
Ireland's bid to flesh out their competitive engagements in between global events will take another step up next summer, when they host New Zealand and Bangladesh in a six-match tri-series in May 2017.
The tournament has been arranged to help New Zealand and Bangladesh acclimatise ahead of the ICC Champions Trophy, which takes place in England next June and for which Ireland - currently ranked No. 11 in the world - failed to qualify.
"Gone are the days - we hope - of being starved of the matches we deserve," said Warren Deutrom, Cricket Ireland's chief executive. "Rather than getting 9 or 10 ODIs in the four years between World Cups, we aim to play at least that number annually.
"For years now, we have been asking for more matches to test our players, to raise the profile of our sport, to bring in new fans, and to attract more investment - but we've always struggled.
"Now the ICC's new-look ODI table has changed that, and we have the chance to become the team that John Bracewell wishes to shape - one that stays together and tours, rather than prepares purely for one-off games or major events."
For Bracewell, Ireland's head coach, the tri-series is an opportunity to pit his wits against his fellow countrymen. He played 41 Tests and 53 ODIs for New Zealand between 1980 and 1990 and also coached them from 2003 to 2008.
"It should be a fantastic series and one which both myself and the squad will look forward to", said Bracewell. "We are now getting the volume of cricket that the team needs to take their cricket to the next level. We're also getting series against the Full Members rather than one-off games which is great.
"We have ODI's scheduled against Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Australia, South Africa, Bangladesh and New Zealand over the next year at least. Those series will give us an excellent idea of where we at in terms of progression. With home advantage in at least 13 ODIs in that period we'll certainly have plenty of opportunities to test ourselves against quality opposition."
Ireland and New Zealand have faced each other in only two ODIs in the decade since Ireland gained ODI status. New Zealand emerged victorious on both occasions, in Guyana in the 2007 World Cup, and in Aberdeen the following year.
Ireland have met Bangladesh seven times in ODI's, including matches at the 2007 and 2011 World Cups. They last met in Ireland in 2010, when a William Porterfield century helped Ireland to a one-all drawn series.