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Ireland must enter bubble to start busy year in UAE

 

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Ireland will return to one-day international action on Friday, January 8 with the first of four games against the United Arab Emirates in the Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi. (stock photo)

Ireland will return to one-day international action on Friday, January 8 with the first of four games against the United Arab Emirates in the Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi. (stock photo)

Ireland will return to one-day international action on Friday, January 8 with the first of four games against the United Arab Emirates in the Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi. (stock photo)

Ireland will return to one-day international action on Friday, January 8 with the first of four games against the United Arab Emirates in the Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi.

The hosts confirmed the dates yesterday for the ODIs which Ireland will use as match preparation before the World Cup Super League games against Afghanistan in the same stadium.

The remaining ODIs against the UAE will take place on January 10, 12 and 14 and Ireland are also hoping to fit in a practice match before the first of the three games against Afghanistan on January 18. The other games are on January 21 and 23.

The Ireland squad, which leaves on December 27, will remain within a bio bubble for the duration of the four-week trip with regular testing and strict protocols. The Emirates Cricket Board have also confirmed all the matches will be livestreamed.

The Dublin-based players are back in training after the Covid-19 test on a player returned a negative result.

Meanwhile, the Cricket Ireland board met on Wednesday and were given a provisional list of fixtures for the next two years, with confirmation that this year's visits by Bangladesh, New Zealand and Pakistan will all be rearranged.

It is hoped to fit in the two T20s against Pakistan next year, but the World Cup Super League series against Bangladesh and New Zealand are unlikely to be played until 2022.

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Ireland are due to return to Zimbabwe in March for the ODIs and T20s which were cancelled by Covid-19 last April, and their summer programme will begin with the away Super League games against the Netherlands in Amsterdam in early June.

That will be followed by a visit from South Africa for three ODIs and three T20s, and, hopefully, Pakistan in July, with Zimbabwe also due to travel in August for three ODIs and five T20s.

The year will end with the T20 World Cup in India, with Ireland scheduled to play Afghanistan in three T20Is immediately before the tournament.

It has also been confirmed by the ICC that the 2023 World Cup qualifying tournament will be held in Zimbabwe from June 18 to July 9 that year, just three months before the finals in India.

The qualifier will involve teams who finish ninth to 13th in the World Cup Super League, plus five teams who have come through regional qualifying tournaments.

If Ireland can manage a top-eight finish in the WCSL, however, they will automatically go through to the finals.


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