Ireland captain Andre Balbirnie was excited to return to Test cricket, saying that they want to enjoy the big occasion and won’t hold any fear of losing the match, reports BSS.

After securing a place in cricket’s elite format in 2017, Ireland played only three Test matches, with the last in 2019. They lost all of those three matches duly as their lack of experience was widely exposed.

Ireland has just four survivors from their last test in 2019 and included nine uncapped players in their Test squad for Bangladesh. Three of them have never played first-class cricket. Opposite them are Bangladesh, with 473 caps in their Test squad.

Going by the records and performance, it is believed Bangladesh would make the one-off Test, starting tomorrow (Tuesday) a completely one-sided affair.

“It is not many times in recent history that there’s going to be a lot of Test debuts. It only happens to the new nations. It would have happened to Bangladesh in the early 2000s. We are going to have a bit of a get-together tonight to do some presentations. I think if we do it in the morning, it will take too long,” Balbirnie said.

 “A lot has happened. We have been through a pandemic. There have been so many changes. Players have gone. Players have come in. It was a memorable occasion in 2019 for a lot of Irish cricket people.”

“This is memorable as well. This is a big cricketing nation, playing against a top team. A lot of good teams have come here and got unstuck. The message is to go out and play, not hold too many fears. There’s not a lot to lose in a one-off Test. So we want to enjoy it,” the Irish skipper said.

Ireland's players attend a practice session at the Sher-e-Bangla National Cricket Stadium in Dhaka on 3 April, 2023

Bangladesh won the three-match ODI and T20 International series between the two sides earlier by 2-0 and 2-1 respectively. Barring the last T20 which Bangladesh lost by seven wickets, they dominated the Irish thoroughly and created some sort of records in every match.

Balbirnie stayed too practice, knowing that the hosts would also come up with ruthless performance in Test cricket.

“It is an exciting group. Certainly get the whites back on, dust off the white pads. We know how good Bangladesh are in Test cricket, particularly here. It will be challenging but exciting,” he said.

“We are currently not playing any red-ball cricket. Since Covid happened, we focused all on white-ball cricket. That was fair enough. We didn’t have any Tests in the pipeline. Certainly now with Test cricket becoming more available to us, it is something we have to look to change. “

Balbirnie also stressed playing a lot of Test cricket to get used to this format.

“You learn the fundamentals of the game in first-class cricket. We have players brought up on white-ball cricket. That’s fine. But if we are going to four or five Tests a year, we will need a first-class structure so that our players can get used to playing a lot for a long period of time.”

“Bangladesh is the fourth country against whom we will play Tests. England in England was tough. Pakistan was our first Test. Afghanistan away. It is always nice to play a new nation in Tests. It will be in history books. They have some really good players. They brought in some Test specialists. We have a good look at couple of their seamers and spinners,” Balbirnie said.

“We will know what to expect. Test cricket is a different challenge. I think the overwhelming thing is excitement. You want to play the best Test teams, and Bangladesh has a really good Test team.”