Ireland set to return to Tests after three-year absence with one-off encounter against Bangladesh

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Cricket Ireland on Monday announced that the nation would be playing the fourth Test match in its history against Bangladesh as part of an all-format tour in March-April. The Europeans last played a Test in 2019 but would be participating in the format more frequently as per the incumbent FTP.

The small cricketing nation of Ireland would get another opportunity to showcase its pedigree in a format that has long been considered the pinnacle of cricket, with the announcement of a one-off Test against Bangladesh in April to end an all-format tour. The encounter is scheduled to take place in Dhaka beginning April 4, shortly after three ODIs in Sylhet and as many T20Is in Dhaka. The white-ball leg of the tour would span from March 18 to 31, making it 12 white-ball matches for the Tigers at home in the month considering a six-match tour by England as well.

"We are delighted to confirm Ireland men's seven-match, multi-format tour of Bangladesh - and thank the BCB for their cooperation and support in agreeing this month-long tour. Since the two sides first met in 1997, there has been a great on-field rivalry formed and we look forward to what looks set to be another competitive series," Cricket Ireland chief executive Warren Deutrom was quoted saying by ESPN Cricinfo.

Ireland were granted Test status by the International Cricket Council in 2017 and made their debut next year against Pakistan, giving them a scare before succumbing to a five-wicket defeat. Over the next 15 months, it faced off against Afghanistan and England as well, losing by seven wickets and 143 runs respectively. However, the Green in Whites had a golden opportunity to record their maiden win in the latter encounter that concluded on July 26 2019. The hosts bowled out neighbouring England for 85, only to fold for 38 themselves in a manageable fourth-innings chase. Nevertheless, the team would have a chance to exact revenge courtesy of a reverse encounter at Lord's starting on June 1, as a part of the ICC's push to develop the latest Test nations Afghanistan and Ireland with a greater number of games.

"Of particular interest to players and fans alike will no doubt be the last fixture on the schedule - the match marks Ireland's return to playing Test cricket. It will undoubtedly be a challenging experience in Asian conditions for our squad, but it will be invaluable to our players' development knowing that we will be playing a great deal of cricket in Asia over coming years," Deutrom added.

Bangladesh is scheduled for a tour of Ireland in May as well, involving three One Day Internationals and four T20Is.

"Ireland's visit to Bangladesh is another exciting event in our home season after the series against India and England. The BCB and Cricket Ireland have a cordial and strong relationship and the two boards have worked very closely to arrange this bilateral tour despite the challenges of a busy international calendar. This is also a statement of the BCB's commitment to the ICC FTP," Bangladesh Cricket Board chief executive Nizamuddin Chowdhury said on the announcement.

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