HARARE – Ireland star batsman Paul Stirling wants to see his team finally play Test cricket against Zimbabwe after bad weather forced an one all ODI-series draw on Monday, the latest of the two rivals’ closely-fought shorter format contests.

The third deciding match was abandoned due to rain at Harare Sports Club with the series level 1-1, although the host team won the T20I contest 2-1 in another hard-fought series.

Zimbabwe, with a much richer heritage in cricket of the two nations, were granted Test status back in 1992 although their participation in the premier format of the game has been interrupted by inconsistent fixtures and an self-imposed exile they emerged out of over a decade ago.

Ireland only became a Test nation in 2017, and have only played just three matches in this format since joining the elite group of cricketing nations five years ago.

 32-year-old opening batsman Stirling, captaining in the absence of the injured Andy Balbirnie, believes the Irish side and Zimbabwe should now test each other’s strengths following their mounting short version rivalry.

“Absolutely, I’d love to see that,” Stirling told reporters after the abandoned match.

“It seems we play so much white-ball cricket these days. It will be an amazing experience to play against Zimbabwe in Test matches. So hopefully that happens and I’m sure the two boards are chatting together. Hopefully that comes to fruition and see how it goes.”

Stirling, while conceding defeat in the T20s, believes there is very little to separate the two teams.

“Yeah, I really enjoy every time we come here to Harare, to Zimbabwe, it seems to be a classy series every time we play. As soon as we rock up, we expect it to be a close series,” said Stirling.

“There were a few people missing from each side as the (ODI) series went on, so we sort of tested each other’s strength and depth. But I still think we put a pretty good show particularity on Saturday (when Ireland equaled the series). I think the wicket is so good here (in Harare) that the best side on the day will win. Whereas in Ireland the toss might be slightly important because the pitches lean towards seam bowlers in the morning.  I think it’s just two teams (Zimbabwe and Ireland) who don’t have much between them. It’s quite hard to call. Certainly if feels that way from a player’s point of view.”


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