Ireland to play Pakistan in first test next year

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International Cricket Council chief executive Dave Richardson has confirmed the proposed test championship as of 2019 and a one-day international league as of 2020.

South Africa and Zimbabwe will meet over four days in the first scheduled four-day Test from Boxing Day.

Pakistan is scheduled to tour England for two Tests, fives ODIs and a solitary T20I in May next year and Ireland hopes to use this window to organize the match at Malahide.

Cricket Ireland has five provincial unions - the newest, for the western province of Connacht, was founded in 2010, the first founded in more than 60 years, with nine teams involved.

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Incidentally, Ireland announced their arrival in worldwide cricket by beating a full-strength Pakistan side in the 2007 cricket world cup.

Any changes to Test cricket must be in line with in with the sport's new global structure, the head of the International Cricket Players' Union (FICA) Tony Irish said. "The ICC Board decision today means we can now go and finalise a playing schedule for the first edition as well as the points system, hosting arrangements and competition terms".

Four-day Tests have also been allowed, although they will not count towards the championship as Richardson said such games are still at an experimental stage.

"Our priority was to develop an worldwide cricket structure that gave context and meaning across global cricket and particularly in the Test arena". But squabbling over formats, and fears that some nations will be disadvantaged, have twice stymied efforts to launch a league structure since 2010.

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"Throughout the discussions about the future of Test cricket it became clear. we must also consider alternatives and trial initiatives that may support the future viability of Test cricket", he said.

"Test matches have witnessed a decline in attendances in recent years, throwing the door open to a number of means to engage fans, including the introduction of day-night Tests".

The team is now coming to terms with the retirements of greats like Misbah ul Haq and Younis Khan after sliding from the top of the ICC Test rankings to a lowly seventh below Sri Lanka after their latest defeat.

Richardson added that a 13-team ODI league would be introduced from 2021 and determine which teams qualify for the World Cup in India two years later.

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