Ireland to play Afghanistan Test match in 2019
Graham Ford’s side will also play three T20s and five ODIs against familiar foes in India
Andrew Balbirnie bats during Ireland’s maiden Test match against India in May 2018. Photograph: Oisin Keniry/Inpho
Ireland’s first ever overseas Test match will take place in India against Afghanistan, after the schedule for their 2019 tour was revealed on Friday morning.
Graham Ford’s side will face their familiar foes in nine fixtures across February and March next year - with three T20 Internationals and five ODIs preceding a tour-ending Test.
It will be the first of two Test matches in the calendar year for Ireland, with a historic four-day Test scheduled at Lord’s against England from July 24th-27th.
The challenge posed by Afghanistan at the Rajiv Gandhi International Cricket Stadium in Dehradun Uttarakhand will be vastly different to the one waiting in London later in the year.
And Andrew Balbirnie sees March’s Test on the subcontinent as major step forward for Irish cricket, as his side embark on their first tour as a Full Member nation.
The 27-year-old batsman said: “It will no doubt be a test for the entire squad - taking on Afghanistan in subcontinent conditions will require a level of adjustment by both our batting and bowling units.
“As we saw here at home in the summer, Afghanistan are a quality side with some world-class players, and will be a great challenge in their ‘home’ conditions.
“We are fortunate that Graham Ford [head coach]has scheduled a batting camp in December which will provide a number of our batsmen with some exposure to those conditions - it will be particularly beneficial for some of the younger guys like Harry Tector and James McCollum who won’t have experienced Indian pitches.”
Following their return from India, Ireland also welcome England back to Malahide for a ODI on May 3rd.
Ireland tour of India (to play Afghanistan) 2019:
February 23rd: 1st T20I - Ireland v Afghanistan
February 24th: 2nd T20I - Ireland v Afghanistan
February 26th: 3rd T20I - Ireland v Afghanistan
March 2nd: 1st ODI - Ireland v Afghanistan
March 4th: 2nd ODI - Ireland v Afghanistan
March 7th: 3rd ODI - Ireland v Afghanistan
March 9th: 4th ODI - Ireland v Afghanistan
March 12th: 5th ODI - Ireland v Afghanistan
March 17th-21st: Test Match - Ireland v Afghanistan