The England & Wales Cricket Board (ECB) on Monday confirmed that England will host Ireland in a three-match ODI series in July and August this summer.
The three-match ODI series will begin from 30th July and will culminate on 4th August with all matches being played in the bio-secure confines of The Ageas Bowl, Southampton.
The limited-overs series will be held after the conclusion of the Test series against the West Indies, which is slated to begin from 8th July. The limited-overs series between England and Ireland will be held behind closed doors, although it would be televised live.
The series comes as a welcome boost for the Irish men's team considering their cricketing calendar for 2020 has gone terribly awry due to the pandemic.
During the ongoing crisis, Ireland's series against Zimbabwe, Bangladesh, New Zealand and Pakistan have been cancelled.
The Ireland men's cricket team had also qualified for the T20 World Cup that was scheduled to be held in October in Australia.
However, reports have indicated that the World Cup Down Under might also be postponed indefinitely, meaning that the series against England could provide the Irish some much-needed cricketing action.
Andrew Balbirnie excited to face England
Ireland limited-overs skipper Andrew Balbirnie sounded optimistic about the matches and said that the players were in good shape.
“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,” said the Ireland skipper, Andrew Balbirnie.
However, Andrew Balbirnie also seemed aware of the daunting task facing his side, with him terming a series against England as the 'ultimate challenge'.
“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.” added Balbirne.
England vs Ireland fixture list
1st ODI: Thursday 30th July, The Ageas Bowl (2.00 pm BST)
2nd ODI: Saturday 1st August, The Ageas Bowl (2.00 pm BST)
3rd ODI: v Tuesday 4th August, The Ageas Bowl (2.00 pm BST)