Stormont to host Zimbabwe Test but Australia series off

Paul Stirling in action for Ireland
Ireland will play their first Test match in Belfast against Zimbabwe [Inpho]

Stormont will host its first Test match when Ireland host Zimbabwe in July.

The Belfast venue will be the 123rd cricket ground to hold a men's Test match as Ireland face Zimbabwe in the format for the first time.

However, the proposed men's Twenty20 and one-day international series with Australia in August has been postponed.

Cricket Ireland CEO Warren Deutrum said this "difficult decision" was down to a lack of permanent facilities and the cost of temporary infrastructure to host the series.

As Ireland's fixtures for 2025 were released, the senior women will host ODI and T20 series with Sri Lanka and England in August and September.

Ireland will also look to qualify for the T20 World Cup, with their opening qualifier against the UAE on Thursday, 25 April.

The Irish men have qualified for the T20 World Cup in the USA and their opening match takes place against India in New York on 5 June.

Ireland will also face South Africa in a multi-ball series in Abu Dhabi in October and November.

'A little piece of history'

Deutrum said Cricket Ireland will be "creating a little piece of history" when Stormont hosts Zimbabwe.

"We look forward to seeing fans coming along to support the men’s Test squad as they seek to follow up on the terrific inaugural Test win over Afghanistan in March.”

Deutrum added the respective fixture schedules attempted to "strike a balance of competitive, high quality cricket across multiple formats whilst addressing the challenges we face with respect to our current infrastructure constraints".

He called for a long-term solution to improve Ireland's facilities, which includes advocating to the Irish government.

“We know we’ll have to explore ways to creatively increase our capacity to host an ever-increasing schedule in the short term.

"Continually reviewing how best to optimise our hosting arrangements for cricket in Ireland and playing a few of our home matches in neutral venues overseas is something we must continue to explore, as we have done with the South Africa series this year."