Pakistan tour possible, says Cricket Ireland chief

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But Irish cricket has become successful on the worldwide stage initially, punching above our weight, and we are using that to hopefully become a mainstream sport in Ireland.

Imam, whose place in the squad ahead of Fawad Alam was questioned, has looked in fine touch - with the scores of 61, 11 and 59* - in the two practice matches that Pakistan have played against Northamptonshire and Kent.

"Obviously it will be my first Test match, my first pressure match".

"We were a bit unsure about how many temporary seats to put up (in Malahide for the Test), as we are trying to bed down an unfamiliar format to many in Ireland, but we settled on 6300".

In case you didn't know.

. The pressure of being the nephew of the great Inzamam was the first of many challenges he had to cope with in his maiden series. He maintains a decent average of 35.61, having scored 1923 runs including four tons and 11 fifties, in 36 matches so far.

Imam has already played four ODIs, scoring a century on debut against Sri Lanka previous year, and he is set to slot into the top three of the Test side.

Although this is the first Test in the history of Irish men's cricket, it is not the first time that long format worldwide cricket is being played in Ireland.

Pakistan captain Sarfraz Ahmed backed Ireland to take their experience from limited-overs matches and thrive in the Test format.

Ireland had caused the first truly big flutter in world cricket when they beat Pakistan in the 2007 ICC World Cup in Jamaica.

"But they're a very strong team Pakistan. We hope they will play good and be a very good side in future". However, since then, they have slipped in the rankings and are now placed a lowly seventh. The hosts won two of them while other three matches ended in a draw. For Pakistan, this is a chance to get some red ball cricket under their belt prior to their tour of England that comes right after this match.

"We've been working hard, as a subcontinent nation it's difficult to perform over here in England and Ireland".

Ireland, who along with Afghanistan were granted the Test status by the International Cricket Council a year ago, will become the 11th nation to play the longest format of the game.

The pressure will certainly be on the likes of Imam, Babar Azam and Azhar Ali.

As the Irish team prepares to make that first official step for a test nation, we were joined by 2007 Cricket World Cup squad member Ed Joyce, who is part of the team that will face Pakistan.