MALAHIDE, IRELAND - MAY 13: A general view of Ireland's second innings during the third day of the test cricket match between Ireland and Pakistan on May 13, 2018 in Malahide, Ireland. (Photo by Charles McQuillan/Getty Images)

Ireland vs India: T20I Preview

You would not be at fault if you were found scratching your head when I asked you when was the last time India and Ireland played a T20 International. The way internationals are being planned and have been planned for some time now means that apart from the world tournaments, you will hardly see teams down the lower half in the rankings play the ones at the top or the rich ones at least! Gone are the days when India used to play teams like Kenya and Bangladesh with some regularity in the nineties. Hence, when India are going to play against Ireland in Ireland at the beginning of a long European summer it is bound to be news.

India last played Ireland in the World T20 event of 2009 where they comfortably beat them by 8 wickets. Since then though a lot of things have changed for Ireland, Test entry being the most notable one. For India too only three players MS Dhoni, Rohit Sharma and Suresh Raina remain in the squad that played them back in 2009. But the similarity ends there, for journey of both the teams since then have been completely different. While Indian players have gained in tremendous experience by playing in the IPL, Ireland have had to rely on sporadically scheduled T20 Internationals here and there for their exposure in the cricket’s newest format.

However, the importance of the series can’t be stated enough for both the sides for different reasons. For Ireland, India is the cricket box office. India will bring in crowds and money. Ireland know they won’t get many chances to play against them so what better than testing their players against the cricket’s blue-eyed boys in their own turf. They know if they can surprise India in the series it will go a long way in them getting noticed. What would also inspire Ireland is that any loss would hurt India a great deal, on a tour where they are favouring themselves to get more successes than failures.
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India on the other hand would want two seamless, comfortable games to ease into the more marquee affairs in their eyes. India would want to use this rare opportunity of getting acclimatised before a long English tour to their advantage. This series also gives them the opportunity to test other quicks like Umesh Yadav, who bowled like a dream in the IPL. India would like some of their others pacers to come good and lower the burden on Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Jasprit Bumrah, who are going to bowl a lot of overs in next eighty days or so. It would also be interesting to see how spin twin of Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal goes in this part of the world knowing how crucial they are going to be not only for this tour but also for the World Cup next year. On a tour where bowling is going to be key to their success, this short series gives India a good starting point.

Keeping everything aside as well, this series on its own provides a great opportunity for cricket loving crowd of Ireland to see some of the biggest superstars in their own country. It would not only provide some much-needed game time to their team but also it would inspire youngsters to pick up the bat or ball seeing the likes of Virat Kohli, MS Dhoni go about their business. The cricketing world may not remember this series for a lot of reasons but for the crowd that will turn up for these games it is going to be quite an unforgettable experience.

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