Cricket Ireland are expected to disappoint players and fans alike today by controversially scrapping this summer’s Test match against Zimbabwe, which was pencilled in for Belfast at the end of July.

The CI board needs to compensate for a shortfall in their funding from the International Cricket Council, and what would have been the first Test hosted in the north - and only the second on Irish soil - is the easy target.

A visit from Australia has already been axed to reduce costs and if the Test is also cut, the home calendar will be left with just the still unconfirmed three-match T20 international series against Pakistan in May, and six white-ball games against Zimbabwe.

The loss of the Belfast showpiece would be a bitter blow coming less than a month after Ireland’s historic first Test win against Afghanistan in Abu Dhabi.

After leading his side to a six-wicket victory, skipper Andy Balbirnie left no-one in doubt about just how much he and his team enjoy playing the five-day game, and how they want more fixtures.

“We are a new Test nation and absolutely love playing it,” he said. “Having tasted our first victory it’s like a drug you want to get that again as soon as you can and get into it.

“We want to play as much as we can but as players it is out of our power. We can talk to the people above us and let them know how keen we are to play but there is not a lot else we can do.”

There are no easy answers, but one cost-cutting alternative that could be discussed at today’s CI board meeting is cancelling the two white-ball ‘home’ series against South Africa scheduled for Abu Dhabi at the end of September.

Meanwhile, the first representative match by an Irish side in Nepal ended in a six-wicket T20 defeat for the Wolves yesterday as the home side chased down the visitors’ 121 all out in only 16.1 overs in Kathmandu.