ICC confirms Ireland to play historic first test against Pakistan

South Africa’s Hashim Amla and Faf du Plessis could be set to play in a four-day Test on Boxing Day

South Africa’s Hashim Amla and Faf du Plessis could be set to play in a four-day Test on Boxing DayMARCO LONGARI AFP GETTY IMAGES

Ireland will make their test cricket debut on home soil against Pakistan in May 2018.

Nine of the 12 test-approved countries - Zimbabwe, Afghanistan and Ireland will initially be excluded - will play three home and three away series over the two years that count towards the championship.

The International Cricket Council will meet in Auckland this week, where announcements on separate league structures for Tests and 50-over cricket are expected to be made.

The first ODI league, featuring the game's top 13 limited-overs nations, will commence in 2020-21, running for two years leading into the 2023 World Cup, before converting to a three-year league in each cycle beyond that.

The ICC has also given the go-ahead for a trial of four-day Test matches.

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 approval of both leagues is the conclusion of two years of work from the members who have explored a whole range of options to bring context to every game", he 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".

The ICC has argued for years that a Test championship is needed to boost the format's popularity as crowds and TV viewers flock to the fast-paced, big-hitting Twenty20 version of the game.

"Our priority was to develop an worldwide cricket structure that gave context and meaning across global cricket and particularly in the Test arena".

A recent innovation created to reverse the trend is the introduction of day-night Test matches, which moves playing sessions to more spectator-friendly hours after dark.

"We would like to thank the Pakistan Cricket Board most sincerely for agreeing to be our first opponent in test cricket - the Pakistan team has been a regular visitor to our shores in recent years, and their agreement to be our opponent on this important occasion for Irish cricket is further evidence of their terrific support", added Deutrom. The process for the appointment of the ICC female independent director was confirmed and the recruitment will get underway in the coming week.

JP Morgan Boosts Rating On Canadian Pacific Railway Limite (CP) To "Overweight"