Ireland will return to international cricket against England in three ODIs
Cricket Ireland today confirmed that a three-match men’s One Day International series against England will be held between 30 July and 4 August 2020 at the Ageas Bowl in Southampton.
The matches represent Ireland’s first fixtures as part of the new World Cup Super League – the qualification process for the 2023 ICC World Cup.
Ireland Men’s cricket team last played internationally when it beat Afghanistan in a dramatic T20I Super Over finish on 10 March. The fixtures against England were originally planned for September, however, at the request of the England & Wales Cricket Board (ECB), Ireland agreed to bring the games forward.
To comply with public health directives in England and satisfy requirements of public health authorities in the Republic and Northern Ireland, the three fixtures will be held within a bio-secure venue, with the squad leaving on 18 July from Dublin airport on a special charter flight. The team will be transferred to a hotel that is within the grounds of the Ageas Bowl and stay until their departure on 5 August. The players and support staff will be tested a week before departure, on arrival and regularly during their stay. This testing complements the current regime already in place since the squad resumed training three weeks ago.
The Irish players, support staff and Irish Cricketers Association received a briefing from the ECB last week on the bio-secure protocols, and all players and coaches have subsequently confirmed that they will make themselves available, if selected.
The tour schedule
- 18 July: Squad departs from Dublin for ODI Training Camp
- 22 July: Practice match
- 26 July: Ireland v England Lions (warm-up match)
- 30 July: 1st ODI v England (day/night, starts 2pm)
- 1 August: 2nd ODI v England (day/night, starts 2pm)
- 4 August: 3rd ODI v England (day/night, starts 2pm)
- 5 August: Squads returns to Dublin
- All three ODIs will be available to watch live on Sky Sports Cricket in Ireland/UK. Please check local guides for countries outside of this.
- BBC Sport will be providing Test Match Special commentary, BBC2 will provide TV highlights and BBC social media will feature video clips during play.
World Cup Super League
Matches played as part of the inaugural ICC Cricket World Cup Super League (2020-2022) are essentially World Cup Qualifier matches, as the League will serve as part of the 2023 Cricket World Cup Qualification process. It will feature thirteen teams, the twelve Full members of the International Cricket Council (ICC), and the Netherlands (who won the 2015–17 ICC World Cricket League Championship to qualify for this competition).
Each team will play an ODI series against eight of the twelve opponents, four series at home and four away. Each series will consist of three ODIs. For the World Cup, the hosts (India in 2023), and the top seven-ranked sides thereafter, will qualify automatically. The remaining five teams will play in a qualifying event along with five Associate sides, from which two sides will go through to the final tournament.
Andrew Balbirnie, Captain of Ireland Men’s cricket team, said:
“It’s a great relief to the squad and coaching staff that the games are able to proceed, and despite the challenges over the last four months, the lads are in good shape and good spirits. Returning to training was a great first step in the return to cricket, and we have all enjoyed getting back into the nets to brush out the cobwebs.”
“However, playing international cricket is a huge honour - and not only do we have that to look forward to now, but we’ll be taking on the World Champions in their own backyard. That is the ultimate challenge – and we’ll be ready.”
“On behalf of the squad, I would like to thank officials at the ECB for creating a safe, bio-secure environment to play and stay in, and to Cricket Ireland for being flexible and consultative throughout the process. Also, we would like to acknowledge the health professionals and frontline workers in Ireland and the UK whose tireless work has allowed us to be able to return to play.”
Warren Deutrom, Chief Executive of Cricket Ireland, said:
“Go back a few months and we were staring down the potential loss of the entire season – we certainly didn’t expect to be preparing to take on the world champions in July. But here we are and the prospect has certainly given a lift to the Irish cricket community, and I believe will indeed give a lift to the wider Irish public when they see one of their national sides back out on the field of play.”
“It has been a while in the planning, but we are delighted to finally confirm the series and – as always – relish the chance to take on England. While playing our near neighbours will be motivation enough for our players, with these being World Cup Super League matches, there is more than just pride on the line – there is a possible World Cup qualification at stake.”
“Our thanks to Tom Harrison and the whole ECB team who have pulled out all the stops to make this happen. Their collegiate approach has always been appreciated, and fans will soon be able to enjoy international cricket at its best and most competitive. And we hope the spirit of Day One of last year’s Test at Lord’s may inspire similar on-field heroics!”