Pakistan, Ireland historic test begins in Dublin today

Noel Cummings
May 13, 2018

With five uncapped players in their squad, the team includes Azhar Ali, Imam-ul-Haq, Sami Aslam, Haris Sohail, Babar Azam, Fakhar Zaman, Saad Ali, Asad Shafiq, Usman Salahuddin, Shadab Khan, Mohammad Amir, Mohammad Abbas, Hasan Ali, Rahat Ali and Faheem Ashraf.

"It would be great if we could play quite a few Tests a year, but it is not financially viable as it stands", the 33-year-old added.

No longer just constrained to the one-day game however, Ireland's enthusiastic fans will at least get four more shots at enjoying Test cricket for the first time.

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A howling wind did not help, with umpire Richard Illingworth struggling to keep hold of his umbrella when he and his fellow English official Nigel Llong made an inspection before taking the predictable decision to abandon the first session without a ball bowled. But the sport's reputation suffered from being seen as the creation of English "colonisers", with native games such as Gaelic football and hurling holding sway.

Visiting skipper Sarfraz Ahmed admitted it will be an honour for Pakistan to be involved in the historic occasion - and believes Irish cricket will benefit greatly from the chance to play Test cricket. Although no one knew it at the time, Ireland's win perversely damaged the cause of aspiring cricket nations.

"First of all, congrats from my side and on behalf of the Pakistan team as well".

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"Are we favourites? No".

William Porterfield has thanked those that have paved the way for him and his Ireland colleagues to make Test history on Friday. So, all those little factors only add to giving us a better chance of winning this game.

In Boyd Rankin they have a strike bowler good enough to play for England and, while it is seven years since he scored his last hundred for Ireland, Kevin O'Brien has a worldwide reputation after his batting exploits in the World Cup.

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The likely starting XI have played 1,103 first-class games, which is 304 more than the Pakistan line-up, although they do boost 226 more Test caps.

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