Whatmore welcomes Irish clashes

21 January 2013 07:19:22 EST

Pakistan will warm up for this summer's Champions Trophy with two matches against Ireland.

The venues for the two one-day internationals, on 23rd May and 26th May, are yet to be decided but the Pakistanis will use the week for acclimatisation and practice ahead of the last-ever Trophy.

Pakistan open their tournament campaign against West Indies - winners the last time it was held in England in 2004 - on 7th June.

Coach Dav Whatmore, whose Pakistan team are 1212/1 to win the Champions Trophy, said: "Irish cricket has improved massively over recent years and this will give us exactly the kind of competitive action we need ahead of the Champions Trophy."

For Ireland it will be a rare chance for ODI action against a full member nation - their only other match on the horizon this year is England's visit to their new Malahide base on 3rd September.

"Pakistan are a formidable one-day side and it's a great way of measuring where we are as a team," said Ireland coach Phil Simmons. "We've had some wonderful tussles with them in the past and, for many, Irish cricket was born the day we beat them in the 2007 World Cup. That win grabbed the attention of the world and we haven't looked back since."

Niall O'Brien's 72 was the cornerstone of Ireland's win over Pakistan in the Caribbean six years ago. But their outings against top-level opposition remain limited - their last one against Australia in Belfast in June 2012 was abandoned due to rain with the hosts 36-3 in the 11th over.

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