Pakistan captain Sarfraz Ahmed says he is privileged to be part of the historic Test against Ireland as the European nation takes to the field for the very first time in a five-day match in Dublin on May 11.
Ireland will play against Pakistan at Malahide in Dublin from Friday in what will be a momentous first Test match for a country with a rich tradition of cricket.
The European side will become the first team to debut in Tests, after being awarded full member status last June along with Afghanistan, since 2000 when Bangladesh played against India in their first-ever Test.
The match will be Ireland’s first step towards being ranked on the International Cricket Council (ICC) Test Team Rankings, while also providing their players with the opportunity to make an entry into the individual rankings with strong performances against the seventh-ranked side.
And Sarfraz, who is confident of his side putting in a strong showing against the debutants, has showered praise on his opponents.
“It is a privilege to be a part of this historic Test match and all of us are really looking forward to it. Ireland, who have a great tradition of cricket, are playing at home and I wish them all the best in this big moment,” said Sarfraz. “Ireland players feature prominently in the ICC ODI and T20I player rankings, and I am confident that in due course they will also make their mark in the Test rankings.”
Ireland captain William Porterfield, meanwhile, says everyone has been looking forward to this moment.
“It is a massive occasion for everyone involved in Irish cricket. This is something that we have looked forward to since a long time. Everyone has been looking forward to this week, so it is a big occasion for all involved,” he said.
“For the 11 lads who will take the pitch, it will be a fantastic occasion for them and their families but we have to also remember everything that has gone before in Irish cricket in terms of getting us to this stage, over the years,” he added.
Pakistan will gain one point with a win against Ireland and reach 87 points, while a draw will see them slip to 84 and a loss will take them to 81 points.
The table is led by India at 125 points with South Africa placed second at 112. Australia (106) and New Zealand (102) are placed third and fourth, respectively.