Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 28 August 2014

Misbah backs Ireland Test claim

Misbah-ul-Haq has been impressed with Ireland's batting line-up

Ireland's long-term ambition to become a Test-playing nation was handed further weight after they narrowly fell short of an RSA Insurance one-day international series win in Dublin.

After the opening match ended in a dramatic tie Ireland looked set to claim a first series win over a full member when Pakistan crashed to 17 for four chasing 230 on Sunday. It took a stunning counter attack from eighth-wicket pair Kamran Akmal and Wahab Riaz, who crashed 93 from 62 balls, to deny them a famous triumph by just two wickets.

After the match Pakistan skipper Misbah-ul-Haq admitted the International Cricket Council needed to consider Ireland for top-flight status, saying: "That's purely on the ICC but they are a better team now so the ICC should think about that. If you look at their batting line-up that is good enough to do well anywhere."

He added: "They may struggle a little bit with their bowling line-up when they go out of Ireland but still they are a really mature side. We were really struggling."

Cricket Ireland's ambitious chief Warren Deutrom has repeatedly stated his desire to do all that is possible to take the country to the top echelon.

Deutrom has, however, previously sought to taper ambition by setting a target of 2020 to gain Test-playing status.

"It is unrealistic in the short term but it is a realistic ambition," he told Press Association Sport.

"It is something that we have aimed for by 2020.

"We are trying to address all of the rationale to be a full-member country. We have a strategic plan about where we are trying to go."

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