Ireland will travel to play world champions England in three one-day internationals (ODIs) after the English Cricket Board gave the green light to the matches against Eoin Morgan's side
England, who beat New Zealand in a thrilling World Cup final at Lords in 2019, will take on Andy Balbirnie’s squad with the first match on Thursday, 30 July, followed by two 50-over games on Saturday, 1 August and Tuesday, 4 August at the Ageas Bowl in Southampton.
The three matches, which follow England’s Test series against the West Indies, are likely to take place behind closed doors, but televised live.
England’s first Test against Pakistan is due to be played at Lord's the same time as the ODIs against Ireland, meaning that the hosts will have two squads in action at the same time.
The news will come as a relief to Cricket Ireland, who have seen their men’s and women’s sides lose all their summer games, with Balbirnie’s outfit not having played a game since the three-game ODI series against Afghanistan in India in March.
Ireland’s men's international cricket calendar for 2020 has been badly hit during the current crisis with series against Zimbabwe, Bangladesh, New Zealand and Pakistan all cancelled.
Furthermore, October’s T20 World Cup, for which Ireland had qualified, is almost certain to be postponed until 2021, with Cricket Australia chairman Earl Eddings admitting that staging a World Cup in Australia this year in the midst of a global Covid-19 pandemic is "unrealistic".
There is a possibility that a limited number of spectators will be allowed into England’s games as the summer progresses with Balbirnie and his squad eager and ready to get back into international cricket.
The Ireland Women’s team are also suffering from a lack of fixtures this year.
Ed Joyce’s side are looking to next year’s 50-over World Cup in New Zealand if they come through the qualifier tournament, which was scheduled to take place in July in Sri Lanka, but was postponed due to the global pandemic.
A new date has yet to be decided, with the ICC due to provide an update on the tournament’s status soon.
England v Ireland Men's series
Thursday, 30 July – England v Ireland 1st ODI, Ageas Bowl
Saturday, 1 August – England v Ireland 2nd ODI, Ageas Bowl
Tuesday, 4 August – England v Ireland 3rd ODI, Ageas Bowl