USA Cricket’s Men’s team will host an ICC Full Member for an official international contest for the very first time, as Ireland will travel to Lauderhill, Florida for two T20i and three ODI matches in late December. The tour comes as Ireland prepare for three World Cup Super League ODIs against West Indies in January.
USA last hosted Ireland in 1973, in California, and the two teams last matched up in 2015 in a T20 match, prior to international status being granted for all T20 matches played between ICC member nations. Though the teams have faced off a few times in various formats (twice in 50 overs aside, and four times in T20), the 1973 three day match remains the only “international” match between the two nations. USA won that match by 42 runs.
Along with the five matches (two T20i and three ODI) from December 20 through December 30, Ireland’s Men’s U19 team will fly over after Christmas to compete against USA’s Men’s U19 team as Ireland prepare for the ICC Men’s U19 World Cup in the West Indies. Details of the U19 series have yet to be released.
“The progress of USA Cricket has been commendable over recent years, and we hope that not only will this opportunity allow our players to build towards the World Cup Super League Series, but that our involvement may also be a boost for USA Cricket as they work hard to develop the game across the United States.” Ireland CEO Warren Deutrom was quoted in the announcement.
“As an added bonus, we will be flying our Men’s Under-19s World Cup squad to the US later in December to provide a preparation camp and a series of matches for those players ahead of the tournament. We are delighted with the opportunity to play what is likely to be a tough series of matches against the USA Men’s U19 national team.”
USA Cricket CEO, Iain Higgins, spoke on how the series helps illustrate USA Cricket’s vision. “We hope that this series helps to showcase the potential in American cricket with it being the first ever home series of international matches against a Full Member,” Higgins said. “We will be announcing ticketing details next week and hope that the timing of the series will give people a great opportunity to come along and see high-class international cricket in the flesh next month in Florida.”
“This announcement also sends a signal to the international cricket community that cricket in the USA is moving in a very positive direction and that we have aspirations to compete against the best teams in the world on an increasingly regular basis on home soil. It adds great context to the Men’s 50-Over National Championships that will be played later this month, with selection for this exciting Ireland series on the line, and we are thrilled to be able to reward our Under-19s team with some serious international competition after they missed out on the opportunity to qualify for the ICC’s Men’s U19 Cricket World Cup earlier this year.”
The Men’s 50-Over National Championships, to be held immediately following the current 2022 ICC T20 World Cup Americas Qualifiers, between November 15 through November 19, should be a platform to help selectors choose an ODI squad for Ireland. Minor League Cricket, having wrapped up on October 3, should provide the measuring stick for the T20 team selection as well, though the top rated domestic batter and bowler in the league weren’t included in the T20 team for the ongoing T20 World Cup Qualifier in Antigua. USA currently lead the table in Antigua after defeating Canada and Bermuda this week, and have clinched a trip to the Global Qualifier.
Those who are selected to compete against Ireland stand to gain priceless experience against top competition. “I think the boys are pumped up to hear that we’re going to play against a test nation,” USA ODI captain Saurabh Netravalkar said in a social media post shared by USA Cricket. “Ireland’s journey has also been a historic one, and we’ve been following it through the years, of how they started as an associate nation. So that’s an inspiring step for us as well, for us to follow their footsteps. I think we also are on the right track, and we are really excited to see where we stand, and to host a team that’s ranked higher than us.”
The Fixture Schedule:
D/N = Day Night Floodlit Fixture
20 December: T20 Warm-up match (details TBC)
22 December: USA Men v Ireland Men – 1st T20I (Florida; start 2pm local time)
23 December: USA Men v Ireland Men – 2nd T20I (Florida; start 7pm local time) D/N
26 December: USA Men v Ireland Men – 1st ODI (Florida; start 10am local time)
28 December: USA Men v Ireland Men – 2nd ODI (Florida; start 2.30pm local time) D/N
30 December: USA Men v Ireland Men – 3rd ODI (Florida; start 2.30pm local time) D/N
U19 schedule is yet to be announced.