Life in the fast lane for Cricket Ireland took on a whole new meaning yesterday when their programme of fixtures for the next five years was released.
The 12 Full Members have signed off on a confirmed fixture schedule up to the 2023 World Cup, and Ireland will play 12 Test matches, 62 one-day internationals and 61 Twenty20s minimum, with the probability that more will be added on a bilateral basis. For example, apart from three games against Netherlands in the 13-team ODI League, no matches against Associate sides, such as Scotland, are included.
Four of the Tests will be against Afghanistan, including Ireland's second, now confirmed for February in Dehrudan, India, while their third is set to be in England in July next year, immediately after the World Cup and before the Ashes.
In 2020, the only home Test match will be against Bangladesh, but New Zealand and Pakistan will both be visitors for a total of three ODIs and five T20s, followed by a three-match ODI series in England in September.
Zimbabwe will be Ireland's Test visitors in 2021, along with South Africa for six white-ball matches, and the following year is the busiest of the period with home Test matches and ODIs against New Zealand and Afghanistan plus two ODIs against South Africa.
Once Ireland have played India in two T20s next week, they are not scheduled to meet again, while Australia are the only other country who could not fit Ireland into the five-year schedule.
This international year continues on Sunday with a testimonial for Ed Joyce, who retired after last month's inaugural Test against Pakistan, an uncapped T20 game at Arundel between an Ireland XI and Sussex, Joyce's last county.
The selectors have recalled North West Warriors captain Andy McBrine, who was left out of last week's Tri-Series in Holland - which was won by Scotland after their 115-run victory over the Dutch in the final match yesterday - and Josh Little, the 18-year-old Pembroke left arm pace bowler.
Ireland Squad (v Sussex): G Wilson (capt), A Balbirnie, P Chase, G Dockrell, J Little, A McBrine, K O'Brien, W Porterfield, B Rankin, J Shannon, S Singh, S Thompson.
IRELAND'S FUTURE TOURS PROGRAMME
Afghanistan (A) - 1 Test, 5 ODIs, 3 T20s
England (H) - ODI
Bangladesh (H) - 3 ODIs
Zimbabwe (H) - 3 ODIs, 3 T20s
England (A) - Test
West Indies (A) - 3 ODIs 3 T20s
Sri Lanka (A) - Test
Afghanistan (A) - Test, 3 T20s
Zimbabwe (A) - Test, 5 T20s
Bangladesh (H) - Test, 3 ODIs, 3 T20s
New Zealand - 3 ODIs, 3 T20s
Afghanistan (H) - 3 T20s
Pakistan (H) - 2 T20s
England (A) - 3 ODIs
Afghanistan (A) - Test, 3 ODIs, 3 T20s
South Africa (H) - 3 ODIs, 3 T20s
Netherlands (A) - 3 ODIs
Zimbabwe - Test, 3 ODIs, 5 T20s
Afghanistan (A) - 3 T20s
West Indies (A) - 3 ODIs 3, T20s
Zimbabwe (A) - Test, 5 ODIs, 3 T20s
New Zealand (H) - Test, 3 ODIs;
Afghanistan (H) - Test, 3 ODIs, 3 T20s
South Africa (H) - 2 ODIs;
Bangladesh - Test, 3 ODIs, 3 T20s
Sri Lanka - 2 ODIs
South Africa - 2 ODIs