The full three-format series, which was supposed to get underway on February 23 in India, will now commence on February 21.
The boards of the two countries put out releases stating that the series, which will significantly feature the maiden Test between the two new full members, has been brought forward by a couple of days to avoid a clash with the start of the 2019 Indian Premier League.
Afghanistan and Ireland, who were granted Test membership in 2017, have both played one Test each. Ireland faced Pakistan at home, while Afghanistan had played India in India. Both lost their maiden Test, and will be on the hunt for their maiden victory in the format.
The series, all matches of which will be hosted by Afghanistan at Dehradun’s Rajiv Gandhi International Cricket Stadium in India will start with the T20I leg.
After three T20Is, the teams will battle it out in a five-match one-day international series, starting February 28 before the Test gets underway on March 15.
The ODIs will serve as vital preparation for Afghanistan ahead of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019. If offers both teams to accrue valuable rating points in a bid to scale up in the MRF Tyres ICC Men’s ODI Rankings.
Commenting on the change in dates, Afghanistan Cricket Board CEO Shafiqullah Stanikzai said, “initially, we planned to conclude the series on 23 March but keeping in mind the dates of the Indian Premier League in which three of Afghanistan’s main players will be participating, the dates were slightly adjusted and I would like to thank Cricket Ireland for honouring our request.”
“The series will be important for Afghanistan as we are in the preparation stage of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 and we are certain that both sides will play competitive cricket.”
Ireland and Afghanistan have shared a healthy rivalry in the recent past and this series offers them a chance to add another dimension to that rivalry in the form of Test cricket.
“The importance of this series to both nations cannot be understated,” said Warren Deutrom, the Cricket Ireland chief executive, “so it was important that we could ensure the fans did not miss out on a clash that will see best v best in terms of players available.
“We hope this slight amendment to playing days does not impact too much on the travel bookings of any fans attending the series. We look forward to a great series – which will include Ireland’s first overseas Test match.”