With England playing hosts at the 2019 World Cup next month and also welcoming the Australian Test team for the Ashes in July, a bummer summer awaits them. Jofra Archer will be the focus.
For Ireland, the times are just as exciting as they host West Indies and Bangladesh for a tri-series with Zimbabwe paying a white-ball visit later. They also play a historic one-off Test at Lord’s against England.
The talks ahead of England’s visit to their neighbours largely revolve around Jofra Archer’s rise and Eoin Morgan’s home-coming of sorts. While England may look at the one-off ODI and the Test as a preparation for major tournaments, it allows them to assess their depth, particularly after losing Jason Roy, Sam Billings and Alex Hales to either injuries or other reasons while resting the IPL stars.
For Ireland, the game is not only paramount to hit the ground running ahead of a busy summer but also an opportunity to showcase their skills against the number one ranked side in limited overs cricket.
Finally, the man for all seasons, Jofra Archer is set to make his first English bow after qualifying for England courtesy the ECB reducing qualification period from seven to three years.
The ODI in Dublin will be seen as an opportunity to try out their fringe players such as Chris Jordan, David Malan, Joe Denly and others. In the absence of Jason Roy and Jonny Bairstow, James Vince and one of Dawid Malan and Ben Duckett will be opening the batting. The middle order will have regular limited-overs stalwarts Eoin Morgan and Joe Root taking their usual spots. Joe Denly, having been named in the preliminary World Cup squad, will be preferred to join Ben Foakes, a likely debutant, to complete the batting order.
The bowling attack will be spearheaded by the likes of Adil Rashid, Tom Curran, David Willey and Jofra Archer. Who makes way for Jofra- Liam Plunkett or Chris Jordan-remains to be seen with both the bowlers coming on the back of a consistent run in the Royal London One Day Cup.
After drawing the ODI series against Afghanistan in India, the Irish squad bears a look of familiarity with experienced campaigners back along with a potential ODI debut to look forward to for the likes of left-arm seamer Josh Little and wicket-keeper batsman Lorcan Tucker. The latter coming on the back of a strong knock in the Inter-Provincial Limited Overs Cup and also having finished as Ireland Wolves’ leading run-scorer against Sri Lanka A with a century in Hambantota.
The batting looks complete with William Porterfield and Paul Stirling holding fort at the top. Andrew Balbirnie will be oozing confidence into the middle order on the back of some skilful knocks against the Afghans including a ton. Gary Wilson will be back behind the stumps after recovering from a condition which affected his vision and is in line to play his 100th ODI.
One of two spinners- George Dockrell and Andy McBrine- will form the bowling attack dominated by the veteran quicks Boyd Rankin and Tim Murtagh. Bowling all-rounder Mark Adair will be in contention for a spot along side Barry McCarthy and Josh Little.
Conditions: Mild showers are expected but are not likely to threaten the game. The conditions will largely favour the seamers as indicated by the larger presence of fast bowlers in comparison to the spinners in each squad.
When the teams last met in 2017:
In the first ODI at Bristol, Adil Rashid spun England to victory with a 5-for as Ireland were skittled out for only 126 runs. The English batsmen were mildly threatened by Peter Chase before Alex Hales’ scored an entertaining half-century to steer the home side to a victory in 20 overs.
In the second ODI at Lord’s, Jonny Bairstow mauled the Irish bowling attack with an unbeaten 44-ball 72 before Joe Root and Eoin Morgan stitched a third-wicket partnership of 140 to post 328 runs on the board. Barring William Porterfield’s enterprising knock of 82, Irish batsman never got going and slumped to a 0-2 defeat.
What the players said:
“England have been playing some great cricket over the last few years but I think it provides an opportunity for us to go out and showcase ourselves and try to turn them over in our own back yard. So we see it as an opportunity rather than just about playing the number one ranked side in the world. They play a positive brand of cricket but with that it brings opportunities. We have a lot of lads who have played with and against a lot of the England side, so we all know each other very well.” – William Porterfield, speaking to RTE Sport.
“Over the last two years, being close to world No.1 and then being No.1 hasn’t changed us a lot. Getting there is a huge acknowledgement of the work we’ve been doing and going in the right direction, but how we got there remains the goal and the desire to continuously improve remains one of the aspects of our team. Continuing in that vein does create a lot of expectation, but the expectation is there for a reason, because we have played well.” – Eoin Morgan speaking to City A.M .