Ireland to host India for three T20Is in August
They will also play three ODIs against Bangladesh in Chelmsford to maximise their chances of qualifying for the ODI World Cup
Ireland will host India for three T20Is in August, but have arranged to play their final ODI Super League series against Bangladesh at Chelmsford in May, in a bid to maximise their chances of automatic qualification for the 50-over World Cup.
If other results go Ireland's way, a 3-0 series win over Bangladesh could be sufficient for them to clinch eighth spot in the Super League, and therefore make the cut for the World Cup in India in October without having to play the qualifier in Zimbabwe in June-July.
And therefore, as revealed by ESPNcricinfo, Cricket Ireland has reasoned there is better chance of good weather in early-season England than in either Dublin or Belfast, where they are reliant on temporary facilities that could further undermine their chances of three completed games. Therefore, Ireland have outsourced the three fixtures, on May 9, 12 and 14, to Chelmsford.
"We need to play and win the three games to qualify," Warren Deutrom, Cricket Ireland's chief executive, said. "After in-depth consideration, it was decided that this approach gave us the best chance of securing automatic qualification, particularly given the fact that the matches have to be played before the World Cup Super League cut-off in mid-May."
"We need a venue where the weather patterns and playing facilities give us the best chance of mitigating any rain impact. Unfortunately, it is likely too early in the Irish season to prepare pitches to ODI standard unless we have a remarkably dry April. This only underscores our determination to accelerate the development of our permanent venue infrastructure, an objective which remains among my most pressing."
John Stephenson, Essex's chief executive, said: "We are incredibly excited to host Ireland and Bangladesh for this series of Men's ODI matches.
"The Cloud County Ground has a long-standing history of staging international sides, and we are proud to have been chosen as the host venue in an important series for both sides.
"We look forward to welcoming supporters to Chelmsford and engaging with our local communities to put on a memorable experience for everyone involved."
The prospect of being involved in qualifiers for both the 50 and 20-over World Cups has further complicated Ireland's home season, with no fixtures scheduled during the window for those tournaments in Zimbabwe and Scotland in June and July. However, India will be returning for three T20Is between August 18 and 23, their second consecutive visit after a two-match stop-over in 2022.
"Summer 2023 will be a feast of men's cricket but will look very different to normal for fans," Deutrom said. "We can today confirm India visiting Ireland for a second consecutive year and confirm the World Cup Super League series against Bangladesh will proceed in early May. This is on top of the already announced Test match at Lord's in June and the three-match ODI series in September against England.
"Making our summer slightly unusual is that we have not been able to look at organising any bilateral cricket between mid-June and mid-July given the potential of our participation in the 50-over Men's Cricket World Cup Qualifier. It won't be until after the Bangladesh series that we will learn whether we are heading to the Qualifier in Zimbabwe.
"Also, in late July we have the ICC T20 World Cup European Qualifier - which is another set of away fixtures. Given the rather different shape to this summer, fans are encouraged to buy their tickets early for home matches given the anticipated interest and demand it will generate. Even if the series against India is half as dramatic as last year's, it will be more than worth the price of admission.
"We extend our grateful thanks to the Bangladesh Cricket Board for fitting in matches rescheduled during the Covid era, as well as to the BCCI and Cricket West Indies for being so flexible given the uncertainties of World Cup Qualifier participation. It certainly hasn't been an easy task to schedule these fixtures, but we have achieved it and are delighted to confirm them today."