Pakistan internationals may yield TV cash boost

Cricket Ireland could be set for a TV cash boost after agreeing to play two one-day internationals against Pakistan in May.

Phil Simmons’ team will face the World Cup semi-finalists on Thursday, May 23 and Sunday, May 26.

Pakistan will spend a week in Ireland as part of their preparations for the 2013 Champions Trophy, which takes place in England in June.

The games are likely to take place at a single venue, either Belfast’s Stormont Ground or at Clontarf in Dublin, and could be shown live on television in the UK, Ireland and Pakistan. Sky Sports hosted coverage of Ireland’s one-day international against Australia last summer, and is likely to be keen to show the game against Pakistan ahead of their Champions Trophy coverage.

“Our television rights deals are arranged in conjunction with the England and Wales Cricket Board, and we try to keep away from England matches,” Cricket Ireland’s high performance director Richard Holdsworth said.

“So it wouldn’t be a coincidence that the first game against Pakistan does not clash with an England fixture.”

Ireland last played Pakistan in 2011, when they went down in both games of a two-match ODI series, but famously beat them in the 2007 World Cup in the West Indies.

The captain that day in Jamaica, Trent Johnston, feels that Ireland are capable of causing another upset when the teams meet in May.

“I feel we will be a lot better prepared than we were for the series in 2011,” he said.

“We have a month away in the United Arab Emirates in March for two World Cup 2015 qualifiers, then the Irish-based players will start playing interprovincial cricket.

“Even though Pakistan are playing some good cricket at the moment, we will be much better for that run of games.”

Ireland coach Simmons feels that the International Cricket Council’s decision to award Cricket Ireland an extra €1.5 million of funding through the Targeted Assistance and Performance Programme (TAPP) will help his side compete against the Test-playing full member countries.

“The extra funding we’ve secured through the TAPP ensures we’re able to organise additional matches against full members,” he said.

“Pakistan are a formidable one-day side and this match is a great way of measuring where we are as a team.”

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