Irish hopes intact as rain derails Test debut

Umpires inspect the pitch ahead of the first test cricket match between Ireland and Pakistan at The Village, Malahide, Ireland on May 11, 2018. (REUTERS)
Updated 11 May 2018

Irish hopes intact as rain derails Test debut

  • There are records of cricket being played in Ireland as early as 1731
  • Ireland knocked Pakistan out of the 2007 one-day international World Cup tournament with a stunning St. Patrick’s Day win at Sabina Park in Kingston, Jamaica

DUBLIN: When you’ve waited as long as Ireland have to play your first Test match, another day’s delay may not seem that significant.
Yet there was no denying the disappointment at a wet and windy Malahide ground in Dublin as rain meant play was abandoned without a ball bowled on Friday’s opening day of Ireland’s inaugural Test, against Pakistan.
By the time the umpires bowed to what had long made seem inevitable at 3:00pm local time (1400 GMT), there were just a few hardy souls at a ground where temporary stands had increased the capacity to 6,300, with 5,100 seats pre-sold for the day.
With cruel irony, no sooner had Richard Illingworth and Nigel Llong, the two English umpires, called off Friday’s proceedings then the sun broke through the grey skies, although so wet were conditions under foot that any prospect of Test cricket in Dublin on Friday had seemed forlorn from the moment the match failed to start on time at 11:00am (1000 GMT).
Yet there was also a sense it would take a lot more than howling wind and rain to dampen the pride felt within Irish cricket as their side stood on the brink of becoming just the 11th nation to play Test cricket.
That this match had captured the attention of an Irish public used to Gaelic sports, racing, rugby and football holding sway, could be seen from the fact that a preview of the match was the main item on Thursday’s evening television news bulletin on RTE, Ireland’s national state broadcaster.
It was all a far cry from the time when Ed Joyce, arguably the country’s greatest batsman and set to play in this match, was physically attacked as a boy just for carrying a cricket bat.

Friday’s Irish Times proclaimed: “Truly historic sporting occasions don’t come around too often but today, for 11 men wearing white sweaters embossed with shamrocks, what unfolds at Malahide will be truly momentous.”
“I’ve dreamed of being a Test cricketer for as long as I can remember. I must have dreamt the dream 100,000 times,” Ireland wicket-keeper Niall O’Brien wrote in an accompanying column.
Yet while many Irish sports fans are starting to get acquainted with cricket, the sport has deep roots in the “Emerald Isle.”
There are records of cricket being played in Ireland as early as 1731.
But the sport’s reputation suffered from being seen as the creation of English “colonizers.”
Ireland first made the rest of the cricket world sit up and take notice when they skittled out the touring West Indies, reputed to have enjoyed some typically generous Irish hospitality the night before, for just 25 on their way to a win at Sion Mills in 1969.
They made an even bigger global splash when they knocked Pakistan out of the 2007 one-day international World Cup tournament with a stunning St. Patrick’s Day win at Sabina Park in Kingston, Jamaica.
But the joy in defeating Pakistan — as well as Bangladesh — in 2007 was eclipsed four years later, when England were beaten in a World Cup match in Bangalore.
That success redoubled Irish ambitions to play five-day Test cricket, still regarded as the sport’s supreme format.
If conditions in Malahide remain cold and overcast they could yet favor Ireland, although neither side will relish batting first under cloudy skies.
“We’ve always got a chance, it’s sport,” said Ireland captain William Porterfield on Thursday.
“Are we favorites? No. But we’ve as much chance as anyone if we do the basics right, in our own conditions we will give ourselves a very good chance,” he added.


Pakistan wins toss, bats in 1st ODI against Zimbabwe

Updated 30 October 2020

Pakistan wins toss, bats in 1st ODI against Zimbabwe

  • Babar Azam, who leads Pakistan in Twenty20s, will be captaining for the first time in the ODI format
  • The top seven teams in the league will directly qualify for the 2023 Cricket World Cup in India

RAWALPINDI: Pakistan captain Babar Azam won the toss and elected to bat Friday in the series-opening one-day international against Zimbabwe at the Pindi Cricket Stadium.

Both teams are opening their World Cup Super League campaigns after the International Cricket Council has introduced the competition to bring context to ODI cricket.

The top seven teams in the league will directly qualify for the 2023 Cricket World Cup in India. The league features 13 countries playing four home and away three-match ODI series.

Babar, who leads Pakistan in Twenty20s, will be captaining for the first time in the ODI format. He was appointed ODI captain during the lockdown for the COVID-19 pandemic.

Pakistan gave an ODI debut to fast bowler Haris Rauf, who received his cap from bowling coach Waqar Younis before the toss.

The home team has packed its playing XI with four fast bowlers, with allrounder Faheem Ashraf getting a nod ahead of uncapped leg-spinner Usman Qadir.

Zimbabwe, led by Chamu Chibhabha, left out experienced batsman Elton Chigumubura for the first match of the three-match series. Fast bowler Blessing Muzarabani returned to ODI format after nearly two years.

Lineups:

Pakistan: Babar Azam (captain), Imam-ul-Haq, Abid Ali, Haris Sohail, Mohammad Rizwan, Iftikhar Ahmed, Faheem Ashraf, Imad Wasim, Wahab Riaz, Shaheen Afridi, Haris Rauf

Zimbabwe: Chamu Chibhabha (captain), Sikandar Raza, Brian Chari, Tendai Chisoro, Craig Ervine, Wessley Madhevere, Carl Mumba, Richard Ngarava, Blessing Muzarabani, Brendan Taylor, Sean Williams.