Ireland may have to wait until 2019 for first Test, warns Deutrom

Ed Joyce and captain William Porterfield will get a long-awaited opportunity to play Test cricket for Ireland
Ed Joyce and captain William Porterfield hope to get a long-awaited opportunity to play Test cricket for Ireland

Ireland may have to wait beyond 2018 to make their Test debut, their chief executive Warren Deutrom has warned.

Both Ireland and Afghanistan were granted Test status by being awarded full membership to the International Cricket Council (ICC) last week.

"To be honest there are so many pieces of the jigsaw," said Deutrom.

"We are probably somewhere between not wanting to wait years for our first Test match versus making sure we have the appropriate sense of occasion."

The two countries were voted in unanimously to become the first newcomers since Bangladesh in 2000 and take the number of full ICC members to 12.

Ireland have been playing as associate members since 1993 and have recorded famous victories over Pakistan, England and the West Indies in that time.

Test scheduling proving difficult

Deutrom said last week they were hoping to play England in a Test match at Lord's.

But scheduling a first match may take some organising and Deutrom believes it could prove difficult to arrange around the other nations' full schedules.

"Another consideration is that we are ready to play our first Test match as we haven't played a five-day game yet.

"History would suggest that new full members play their first Test, at home, against a big nation within a year.

"But I know how much busier the full members are with their own schedules so trying to find a gap within 12 months in an already-congested schedule is incredibly difficult.

"We are going to do our best, we will have as many conversations as possible, but I can't put any members on the spot, although quite a few have been generous to say 'let's have a conversation'.

"I don't want to express disappointment if no-one is available because I know how packed those schedules are."

With most Test-playing nations having fixtures planned, it could be that Ireland make their bow against fellow newcomers Afghanistan, with neither Deutrom nor his Afghan Cricket Board counterpart Shafiq Stanikzai ruling out that possibility last week.

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