Cricket Ireland are in negotiations to tour either Zimbabwe or Bangladesh at the start of 2014.
Neither full member country has any cricket matches scheduled for January 2014 ahead of the ICC World Twenty20 in Bangladesh, which takes place in March and April.
Cricket Ireland have therefore approached both Zimbabwe Cricket and the Bangladesh Cricket Board in the hope of arranging a tour.
“Both Bangladesh and Zimbabwe have a gap in the Future Tours programme in January and February. Approaches have been made and we are waiting to see,” Cricket Ireland high-performance director Richard Holdsworth told Setanta Sports.
Zimbabwe have no cricket scheduled in the six months before the ICC World Twenty20. Holdsworth is confident that a tour early next year is viable, and says that cricket’s governing body, the International Cricket Council (ICC), is keen to facilitate a series between Zimbabwe and Ireland.
“Both Cricket Ireland’s chief executive Warren Deutrom and the ICC have been in touch with Zimbabwe Cricket, and they would be keen to play as they have no cricket between October and March,” he said.
Ireland were due to play Zimbabwe in three ODIs and a five-day unofficial Test in October and November 2011, but the matches were cancelled when New Zealand opted to tour Zimbabwe then, having postponed their original scheduled matches of May and June 2011.
Bangladesh in January is also another option for Ireland. Bangladesh were set to tour Ireland in August of this year before negotiations between the countries broke down.
Zimbabwe will host Sri Lanka towards the end of the year for two Tests, three ODIs and two T-20s.
But thereafter have no action lined up until mid-year when they host Australia in a scheduled three-match ODI series before they entertain South Africa in a series that features all three formats of the game.
Hosting Ireland would be ideal for Zimbabwe’s preparations for the ICC T-20 World Cup and it would also help fill the gaps that have hampered consistency.
After a home whitewash defeat to India in a five-match ODI series recently, batting coach Grant Flower said the solution to the teams shortcomings can only be corrected with more matches for the national team.