The subcontinent team might not play another Test until the proposed clash with Ireland next year.
Ireland and Afghanistan were granted full Test membership rights after years of lobbying in the Annual General Meeting of the ICC in London earlier this June. However, it'll be changed to a three-year cycle with teams battling it out in eight series - four at home and four away series - with a maximum of three ODIs in one series.
Shashank Manohar, the ICC chairman, said that member countries had moved with the times by accepting the need for greater context for global cricket, responding to the demands of broadcasters, sponsors and fans.
South Africa announced plans to play Zimbabwe in the first four-day Test starting on Boxing Day in Port Elizabeth, as part of their home summer calendar for the 2017-18 season. "I would like to congratulate our members on reaching this agreement and putting the interests of the development of the game first", he said.
Ireland Cricket CEO Warren Deutrom is delighted with the announcement and thanked the Pakistan board for accepting the invitation to be their first opponent in the longer format.
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Irish, the chief executive of the Federation of International Cricketers' Associations, urged stakeholders of the game not to look at ad hoc solutions to Test cricket.
While Ireland has only been admitted to test status this year, cricket has existed in the country since the 18th century and the national team, like its rugby union counterpart, represents both Northern Ireland and the Republic.
"The trial is exactly that, a trial, just in the same way day-night Tests and technology have been trialled by members".
The Test championship will consist of nine countries and will begin after the 2019 World Cup, followed by the two-top teams playing each other in a championship final in 2021.
Numerous questions remain about how the new league structures will unfold, particularly around the fraught issue of bilateral cricket ties between India and Pakistan.