Plenty of excitement and enthusiasm on the cards as Ireland return to the Test fold

Ireland return tothe Test fold

Be sure to watch what might turn out to be an exhilarating contest even as much of the world’s attention may stay rather biasedly towards the entertaining IPL. 

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24 July 2019 was no ordinary date for the Ireland cricket team. As it turned out, it would be the last time that the noted Cricketing outfit from the United Kingdom would feature in a Test match.

Although, despite the contest being held at the spiritual home of the sport called the Lord’s Cricket ground, the outcome wasn’t quite what Ireland would’ve liked.

They’d lose the contest by a whopping margin of 143 runs with the five-dayer ending well within the stipulated number of days that were meant for it. 

It would also mark the third successive defeat for a cricketing outfit that had played exactly that many games in the format.

But that was then; Ireland would take no further part in Test matches hence. 

Though truth be told, a lot has happened in the sport since that time in 2019. World Cricket saw the arrival of Kyle Mayers who with his magnificent double century in Bangladesh excited the entirety of the Caribbean like few others before.

Jason Holder abdicated the Test captaincy and Kraigg Brathwaite took over. The world lost a legend in Warne.

Shreyas Iyer stroked his way to a magnificent 105 against New Zealand in his maiden Test.

Afghanistan continued to play Test cricket whilst the likes of Pujara continued to struggle before hitting big runs again from the onset of 2022.

Rather dramatically, the great Tim Murtagh departed from the international scene.

And now, three years since that very unforgettable Lord’s outing, Ireland are back and in a format that’s considered the litmus test for a talent that wishes to be taken seriously by the world.

In a few hours from now, Ireland, captained by regular white-ball skipper Andy Balbernie will face Bangladesh in a one-off Test.

But the occasion has more importance to it than probably you would have imagined.

On the surface, it may seem like just one of those banal contests but Ireland are fully going for it.

Leaving nothing to chance and sensing the great opportunity to make the most of the interesting Bangladesh challenge, they’re set to debut- if all goes to plan- two new players, both of whom recently visited India in a bit to get a taste of what it feels like to play at the Sub-continent.

It has been reported that the up and coming Irish cricketers who are expected to take the field against Bangladesh were in Mumbai and practicing hard at the Parsi Gymkhana stadium. 

Their names- James McCollum and PJ Moor. 

A former Mumbai batter Vinayak Mane, who was present where the Irish duo were practicing, noted with much enthusiasm the preparations, “They will be facing that in the Tests in Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. They were mainly facing different kind of spinners. Our role was to arrange lots of spinners, and give them a feedback how they approach. I think they are pretty well equipped. They have decent techniques. They are very aware of what they will encounter in Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. They will be facing couple of left-arm spinners and off spinners. Nowadays professionals do have a lot of information about their opposition.”

Surely, Ireland are not going to have it any easy; Bangladesh led by star talents such as Shakib and Tamim Iqbal, two outstanding legends of their game, will come hard at the side that’s a cricketing reborn where Test match cricket is concerned.

But then ditto for the likes of Mehidy and Taijul Islam, two of the most underrated but accomplished spinners in the game at the moment who’d like to test how strong the Irish fortification is when it comes to defence and technique on typically spinning tracks.

Given Ireland have never played a five dayer in Bangladesh, it could well be a lasting lesson from which to draw the right lessons.

Or, who knows- maybe even a lesson in playing a brand of cricket that’s typically Irish brave not brash, since the latter hardly justifies the ethos of a team that constantly likes to improve.

Forget not that Ireland are capable of shaking up the foundations of much stronger opponents; back in 2022, despite not having regular skipper Balbernie, Ireland defeated a powerful Windies ODI side to clinch their maiden 50-over series in the Caribbean.

Back then, they had little going for them.

This time, however, there’s some anticipation and Balbernie is in the mix too.

Be sure to watch what might turn out to be an exhilarating contest even as much of the world’s attention may stay rather biasedly towards the entertaining IPL. 

Ireland squad for Sri Lanka Tests: Andrew Balbirnie (c), Mark Adair, Curtis Campher, Murray Commins, George Dockrell, Fionn Hand, Graham Hume, Matthew Humphreys, Tom Mayes, Andrew McBrine, James McCollum, Paul Stirling*, PJ Moor, Harry Tector, Lorcan Tucker, Ben White.

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