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Afghanistan to host Ireland in India in March 2017

Afghanistan are currently ranked tenth and ninth in ODIs and T20Is respectively AFP

Afghanistan will host Ireland in a series of nine matches across formats in Greater Noida, their adopted home ground in India, in March 2017. The series, consisting of five ODIs, three Twenty20s and a four-day ICC Intercontinental Cup fixture, will be played from March 8 to 31.

"This will be a great opportunity for our squad to test themselves," Ireland head coach John Bracewell said, according to RTÉ Sport. "It's always good for a team's development to test themselves in different conditions, and there's no better place than India to do that. I'm sure the younger players in particular will benefit from playing in subcontinent conditions."

Both sides have played eight completed ODIs against each other till date, with Ireland winning five and Afghanistan three. The recently-concluded ODI series in Belfast finished at 2-2.

Richard Holdsworth, Cricket Ireland's performance director, welcomed the prospect of playing a bilateral series that has context. "This tour is exactly what we have been pushing for in recent times, where the national team plays across all three formats over a four-five week period, just like the Full Members have been doing for years," he said. "Both sides are aspiring to become Test countries and to organise bilateral tours on a regular basis in series with context, rather than focusing mainly on tournament cricket.

"These matches will not only be part of the pathway to Test cricket for both countries, but also part of the World Cup qualification pathway."