Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 27 December 2014

England stars to miss Irish clash but Rankin may return

Handed a recall: Boyd Rankin is back in the Lions squad
Handed a recall: Boyd Rankin is back in the Lions squad

Ireland fans are set to be disappointed when England arrive next May for the one-day international in Malahide after the ECB confirmed that the game will take place just three days after the Test match against West Indies is due to finish in Barbados.

England will play three Test matches immediately after next year's World Cup finals, but with the last one taking place from May 1-5, there is no chance of any of the Test squad taking a quick flight to Dublin for a one-off international.

The one consolation for supporters is that, unlike the Ireland squad, a number of the England players are one-day specialists anyway so will not be travelling to the Caribbean from Australia and will be available to face Ireland, such as former Ireland international Eoin Morgan and Ravi Bopara, who beat Ireland with a world record partnership in last year's game.

Tickets are due to go on sale next month and are expected to be similarly priced to last year (€40) but Cricket Ireland will still be expecting another bumper crowd to fill the new international venue. Last year 10,000 people watched the action.

Boyd Rankin, another former Ireland player who made his England ODI debut in last year's game, could be involved again as he was this week recalled for England duty in the Lions squad for the Tri-Series against Sri Lanka A and New Zealand A. The Lions' first match is at Taunton today.

Meanwhile, 200 days before the start of the World Cup, the ICC have confirmed Ireland's itinerary for their four-week acclimatisation tour of Australia and New Zealand in September and October.

The squad, which leaves on September 23, will play eight 50-over games against State sides, the highlight being a game against a New Zealand XI in Hamilton on October 18.

Ireland meet world champions India there in March so it will be an ideal opportunity for the squad to get used to the ground conditions, and they will also have two games at the Manuka Oval in Canberra, the venue where they will play South Africa in the finals.

Cricket Ireland performance director Richard Holdworth confirmed a total of 18 players will be on tour – the county professionals will miss the first game as the Championship does not finish until September 26.

The three players who don't make the cut will be reserves for the duration of the World Cup, playing club cricket in Australia.

Ireland fixtures: Sep 30 v Queensland Bulls, Gold Coast, October 2 v Bulls, Brisbane, October 7 and 9 v Comets/NSW 2nd XI, Canberra, October 16 v Northern Districts, Hamilton, October 18 v New Zealand XI, Hamilton, October 21 v Canterbury, Lincoln, October 23 v Otago, Lincoln.

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