The 12 white-ball fixtures are to be played across three Irish venues, with Clontarf – Ireland’s fourth international venue – still unavailable in 2021.
Ireland v South Africa series
11 July: Ireland v South Africa, 1st ODI (Malahide)*
13 July: Ireland v South Africa, 2nd ODI (Malahide)*
16 July: Ireland v South Africa, 3rd ODI (Malahide)*
20 July: Ireland v South Africa, 1st T20I (Malahide)
22 July: Ireland v South Africa, 2nd T20I (Stormont)
25 July: Ireland v South Africa, 3rd T20I (Stormont)
Ireland v Zimbabwe series
6 August: Ireland v Zimbabwe, 1st ODI (Stormont)*
8 August: Ireland v Zimbabwe, 2nd ODI (Stormont)*
11 August: Ireland v Zimbabwe, 3rd ODI (Stormont)*
15 August: Ireland v Zimbabwe, 1st T20I (Bready)
17 August: Ireland v Zimbabwe, 2nd T20I (Bready)
20 August: Ireland v Zimbabwe, 3rd T20I (Bready)
* Matches form part of the ICC World Cup Super League
A further two-match T20 International series against Pakistan is still in discussion with the Pakistan Cricket Board and England & Wales Cricket Board, with an announcement to be made in due course.
Cricket Ireland will work with Sport Ireland, Sport Northern Ireland and the Sport Expert Group to ensure all fixtures comply with the COVID-19 protocols in place as the season rolls out.
AWAY SERIES CONFIRMED
Cricket Ireland can also confirm a three-match men’s ODI series against Netherlands will precede the home calenda. The fixtures will also be part of the World Cup Super League
4 June: Netherlands v Ireland, 1st ODI
7 June: Netherlands v Ireland, 2nd ODI
9 June: Netherlands v Ireland, 3rd ODI
Venue and match details will be released shortly.
Warren Deutrom, Chief Executive of Cricket Ireland, said:
“The year 2021 is certainly full of optimism, but of course we can’t ignore the great uncertainties still in the world, and our planning is trying to factor that in as much as possible. We need to plan for matches to proceed but with the background knowledge that circumstances might see further postponements. We have some massive targets this year, whether it’s men’s World Cup Super League matches and building towards the T20 World Cup in October, or else the Women’s World Cup Qualifier, and regional qualifying for the next Women’s T20 World Cup. Our international and domestic match planning needs to be tailored to preparing for those major milestones, as well as reacting as quickly as possible to the likely setbacks COVID-19 may present.”
“Given the significant changes to the Future Tours Programme due to the postponement of home series’ from 2020 – and all other countries having to reschedule fixtures over the period 2020-2023 – it has truly been a jigsaw puzzle for world cricket administrators to try to make the pieces fit. We look forward to the season ahead and thank our touring opponents for working with us on this restructured season.”
“For our senior men, there are six World Cup Super League matches included in the schedule, in which we welcome back South Africa who last played here 14 years ago, while we shall be resuming our competitive clashes with Zimbabwe, who played a great series here in 2019.”
“In relation to other international men’s fixtures, we are still in discussions with the Pakistan Cricket Board about the timing and location of playing the two T20Is postponed from 2020. As in 2020, we won’t have access to one of our four internationally-accredited grounds with Clontarf still unavailable to host international matches. Given the constraints on the number of fresh pitches available, and needing to cater for at least 12 men’s matches, we are looking into hosting matches in England, as we did with Bangladesh last year. This makes additional sense as the touring side will already be operating in a bio-bubble in England, which would smooth other complications around visas, quarantining and other COVID-related conditions that will arise in moving countries. We will provide an update on that series as soon as possible.”
“With regards to venue allocations, we brought a number of proposals and options to our Match Allocation Group (comprising representatives from the Provincial Unions and Cricket Ireland). As part of this we had detailed discussions with the North West Cricket Union about Bready, which included the recommended implementation of an independent pitch assessment outlining necessary work on the outfield to improve drainage, as well as hearing about investments already made by Bready and NWCU to enhance the venue. While as much work as possible has been undertaken over the last year given the pandemic constraints, some further work is required, so the venue will be focusing on hosting the T20 format later in the season to give the works as much time as possible to bed in.”
“Fans may also recall that the original FTP included a Test match against Zimbabwe in 2021. Unfortunately, due to the fixture rescheduling of the international cricket calendar, and twin financial constraints brought about by COVID and the fact that we do not have a dedicated cricket stadium yet, we are simply unable to afford a home Test in 2021. Test cricket is still a highly-revered format of our sport that we will be seeking to play more frequently in future years, however, given the reasons stated, and the fact it is a T20 World Cup year, the Board felt our priority should be white-ball cricket this season to give our squad the best chance of success on the world stage.”
“For our fans, it’s still unclear at what stage we will be able to invite spectators back into grounds, but we hope that regardless of the conditions in place, fans will still be able to enjoy the international itinerary that features three renowned opponents on TV or livestreamed.”
“The next task of the Match Allocation Group is to work with the Provincial Unions in allocating fixtures for our new Men’s Inter-Provincial competition structure and the women’s Super Series – further announcements will be made in due course.”
“I want to thank everyone for their support – particularly clubs, venues and spectators – as we try and put some shape on the season with COVID still causing chaos to our lives. It’s likely there will be more bumps in the road in the weeks to come, but we’ll do our best to consult with everyone as early as possible, and we ask for everyone’s ongoing patience as we try to navigate through the uncertainties.”
WORLD CUP SUPER LEAGUE
Matches played as part of the inaugural ICC Cricket World Cup Super League (2020-2023) are essentially World Cup Qualifier matches, as the League will serve as part of the 2023 Cricket World Cup Qualification process.
The WCSL features thirteen teams, the twelve Full members of the International Cricket Council (ICC), and the Netherlands (who won the 2015–17 ICC World Cricket League Championship to qualify for this competition). Each team will play an ODI series against eight of the twelve opponents, four series at home and four away. Each series will consist of three ODIs. For the World Cup, the hosts (India in 2023), and the top seven-ranked sides thereafter, will qualify automatically. The remaining five teams will play in a qualifying event along with five Associate sides, from which two sides will go through to the final tournament.
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