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Cricket: Ireland to play Pakistan in first test next year

Cricket: Ireland to play Pakistan in first test next year

WELLINGTON (Reuters) - Pakistan will be Ireland's first test opponents next May after the two countries reached an agreement at the International Cricket Council (ICC) meeting in New Zealand.

Ireland and Afghanistan were given full test status by the ICC in June, taking the total number of test-playing countries to 12.

Bangladesh were the last team to gain test status in 2000.

"We are excited to welcome Pakistan to Ireland for our inaugural test match next year," Cricket Ireland Chief Executive Warren Deutrom said in a statement.

"It has been our wish to make our test debut in front of our own fans within 12 months of becoming a test nation, and against a big team, so I'm delighted."

Deutrom said a venue and exact date for the test had yet to be confirmed, but the country has played one-day internationals in both Belfast and Dublin.

Captain William Porterfield said it was a massive step forward for the side.

"It's fantastic news for Irish cricket," Porterfield added. "It's going to be a bit special and it's always great to be a part of history.

"Test cricket is the pinnacle of our sport and I know how much this game will mean to not only the players but all involved with Irish cricket.

"It'll be another step on what has been an incredible journey for our sport in a relatively short passage of time."

(Reporting by Greg Stutchbury; Editing by Peter Rutherford)

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