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Ireland players return to training, bolsters chances of England ODI series

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With the COVID-19 situation improving in a few nations and the lockdowns easing up, there’s been quite a bit of positive news for cricket fans. West Indies are travelling to England for their three-match Test series. Players from a few countries have started training and things look good.

The Irish players have resumed training this week as well. The centrally contracted players were back on the park amidst strict health protocols after the government’s approval. That means that the possibility of Ireland touring England for a three-match ODI series looks very possible as well. Reports have emerged that Cricket Ireland have been in constant touch with the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) about moving the series which was originally planned for September to the end of July. But that’ll go ahead only after the pending approval from the United Kingdom government.

However, the Ireland cricketers got back on the part and are training at the various places in the country. Cricket Ireland High-Performance Centre in Dublin, the Civil Service ground in Belfast and Bready CC were deep cleaned before training resumed at these venues.

Cricket Ireland’s high-performance director Richard Holdsworth said that they wanted to keep up with the England players on training if the series goes ahead in the last week of July. The England cricketers have started training a couple of weeks ago and hence, Ireland didn’t want to stay behind.

We are still in discussions with the ECB. In terms of getting ready for those matches should the approval come, with a six-to-eight-week period regarded as essential from the standing start of lockdown to being ready for international cricket – particularly for our bowlers – it was crucial that our players did not lose any more time with the England squad already back to training,” Holdsworth said.

Moreover, there are a couple of ICC events that Ireland are hoping for. The ICC T20 World Cup in Australia which is scheduled to take place in October and the ICC Women’s World Cup qualifiers which was supposed to be played in July.

In addition, there is also still the outside prospect of the men’s T20 World Cup in late 2020 – so it may still be a big year for the men’s squad. The women’s squad are looking at a rescheduled World Cup qualifier tournament which, if it proceeds this year, will require a lead-up programme,” Holdsworth added.

Training in Ireland is going to go ahead under severe restrictions and guidelines. It will be similar to that followed by England. The players are expected to arrive in their training kits and with no privilege of using the change rooms or the storage facilities.