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Ireland warm up for India with T20 series

By Ian Callender

Ireland have agreed to take part in an annual Twenty20 Tri-series with Netherlands and Scotland, with the inaugural tournament taking place in June.

The Netherlands will host this year's series from June 12-20 with Ireland playing the hosts in the first two games, and facing the Scots on Saturday and Sunday June 16-17.

It will be Ireland's first T20 action since they lost the three-match series against Afghanistan in Greater Noida 13 months ago, defeats which left Ireland at the bottom of the international T20 rankings in 18th place.

Ireland's commitment to an annual tournament against their two closest Associate teams underlines their determination to improve in the shortest format - and time is on their side because, as a Full Member, they are excused from playing in the European qualifying tournament for the next World Twenty20 in 2020 - despite the Dutch and Scotland both being ranked higher. Ireland will go straight to the final qualifier which is also still two years away.

For Ireland coach Graham Ford, it will be his first sight of Ireland in T20 action and the start of five games which the squad will have ahead of the two glamour games against India, the world's third-ranked side, at Malahide on June 27-29. The other game will be against Sussex, at Hove, on June 24 in a testimonial for Ed Joyce who, ironically, no longer plays in the helter-skelter of T20 cricket.

"T20 cricket is such an enjoyable, intriguing and unpredictable product, and a series between these three very evenly matched teams promises to be extremely exciting," said Ford.

Ireland defeated Scotland in the last T20 game between the teams, an emphatic 98 runs win at the Desert T20 in Dubai in January 2017, but their last encounter with the Netherlands was defeat and exit at the first stage of the last World Twenty20 in Dharamshala in March 2016.

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