London: Ireland will begin their preparation for this year's ICC World Twenty20 in Sri Lanka with a three-game series against Bangladesh in Belfast next month, it was announced on Saturday. "It's great news that we're taking on Bangladesh and the games will give us valuable preparation as we build towards the World Cup in Sri Lanka," Ireland coach Phil Simmons said in a Cricket Ireland statement.
"We played an exciting brand of cricket in winning the recent qualifying tournament in Dubai and we're now eighth in the world rankings in this format of the game," the former West Indies batsman added.
"In Paul Stirling we have one of the most exciting players in international cricket at present and I'm sure the Belfast public will relish the opportunity to watch him on home soil." The matches, which form part of a nine-day Bangladesh tour, will be staged at Stormont on July 18, 20 and 21.
Bangladesh allrounder Shakib Al Hasan said: "We are always looking for tough challenges as professional cricketers and I am sure the tour of Ireland would test our skills and resolve. This will be wonderful preparation for both teams heading into the ICC World T20.
"Ireland are a very competitive side and in their conditions they will be formidable. However, we have a team that is brimming with confidence. We have proven match winners and some fresh faces who are tailor-made for the demands of T20 cricket. This promises to be an exciting contest."
Ireland have met Bangladesh just once before in the shortest format, when they were six-wicket winners during the 2009 World Twenty20. Ireland have been drawn against Australia and West Indies at this year's World Twenty20 in Sri Lanka, which starts in September.