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Irish are hoping that Sri Lanka will play ball

The absence yesterday of Ireland’s name on the Sri Lanka fixture schedule for their tour of England next summer has not ruled out the possibility of a one-day international between the teams in 2011.

Cricket Scotland are in discussions with Cricket Sri Lanka at the moment and there remains the possibility of a tri-series, probably in Scotland, in July at the end of their tour of England.

It would be a welcome addition to the Ireland fixture list in a year when it could all fall flat after the World Cup ends in March.

Just four months before the start of the new season, Ireland have only one day’s international cricket confirmed, the RSA ODI against England at Clontarf on August 25.

A game against Sri Lanka, whom Ireland last played in Grenada at the 2007 World Cup, is the only other chance of a ‘home’ game against a full member, post-World Cup although the squad will go to Zimbabwe for the second successive year for a multi-day game and three ODIs, as revealed in the Belfast Telegraph in September.

The rest of the international programme will consist of Intercontinental Cup games, with ODIs tagged on either before or after the four-day match. The 2011-12 I-Cup will revert to an eight-team round-robin format with the other five high performance countries (Canada, Kenya, Holland, Afghanistan and Scotland) being joined by the two teams from World League Division Two, possibly Namibia, beaten finalists in 2008, and UAE.

Ireland are due to travel to Kenya and Holland and host Canada, Afghanistan and Scotland, the reverse fixtures in the 2009-10 tournament.

Those dates will not be confirmed until February at the earliest, when a meeting of the chief executives of the high performance countries has been arranged.

Ireland will also be given two or possibly three fixtures in Dubai when they arrive there at the end of January to begin their build-up for the World Cup finals — Ireland’s first match is in Bangladesh on February 25.

With all four associate teams assembling in Dubai, at least one of the games will be against either Canada or Kenya, the two qualifying teams who are not in Ireland’s group at the World Cup.

Belfast Telegraph

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