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Chiefs deny ICC claims over Ireland's first Test duel

 

By Ian Callender

Cricket Ireland insist the date and opponents for Ireland's first Test match are still not confirmed - despite the International Cricket Council saying that "Pakistan's next red-ball game would be in Ireland in April".

The declaration, unusually by the ICC, came in a media release following Pakistan's 2-0 series defeat by Sri Lanka, which concluded in Dubai on Tuesday, but Cricket Ireland's response yesterday was that it was "all speculation".

Performance Director Richard Holdsworth said: "We are in discussions with the PCB about hosting the Pakistan team for our inaugural Test match in Ireland, but as yet nothing is confirmed, despite speculation out there."

Cricket Ireland chief executive Warren Deutrom and chairman Ross McCollum are in Auckland this week for ICC meetings and they will be keen to nail down not just Ireland's first Test but also other fixtures for 2018.

What is confirmed is that Ireland will not be playing a home Test match in April as the club season does not start until the last Saturday, and the Ireland squad - only Boyd Rankin has Test match experience - would also need red-ball match preparation after returning from the five-week World Cup qualifying tournament in Zimbabwe, which is not due to begin until March.

Meanwhile, Simi Singh dominated the first day of Ireland Wolves' first-class game against Bangladesh 'A' in Sylhet.

The 30-year-old YMCA all-rounder, who made his senior debut against Bangladesh in the Tri-Series at Malahide in May, turned his maiden first-class 50 into a century as Ireland were bowled out for 255.

Singh was ninth out for 121, the third victim of off spinner Mahadi Hasan, having faced 159 balls and hit 10 fours and four sixes.

The only meaningful support he received was in a fourth-wicket stand of 79 with Sean Terry, and it was only thanks to Andy McBrine that the Wolves got past 250, the North West Warriors skipper dominating a last wicket stand of 38 with Nathan Smith (five not out).

Smith then took a wicket with his seventh delivery, but that was to be the Wolves' only success in the 13 overs left in the day, eight of them bowled by the three spinners selected.

Jacob Mulder was the one to miss out and also, more surprisingly, sitting out the unofficial Test were John Anderson and Peter Chase, along with Lorcan Tucker and Barry McCarthy, ahead of the five-match one-day series starting next week.

Shane Getkate, the Wolves' one-day captain last summer, was the surprise inclusion, but he was out for a seven-ball duck and will hope to impress with his bowling today.

His Instonians club-mate James Shannon, opening the batting with Jack Tector, and George Dockrell also failed to score while Stuart Thompson faced 30 balls for four.

Scores: Ireland Wolves 255 (74.5 overs, S Singh 121, A McBrine 57, S Terry 20, J Tector 18, S Poynter 12, A Balbirnie 10; Mahadi Hasan 3-47) Bangladesh A 38-1 (N Smith 1-7). Today 4.30-11.30am BST

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