ECB confirms schedule for Pakistan, Ireland visits

England have confirmed Emirates Old Trafford and the Ageas Bowl as the venues for fixtures against Ireland and Pakistan this summer. Ireland will visit later this month for three ODIs, while Pakistan have already arrived in the country ahead of Test and T20I series.

The ECB has been working to salvage as much of its home international programme as possible after the Covid-19 shutdown, and said that discussions remained ongoing about the possibility of Australia touring, and a proposed women’s tri-series featuring England, India and South Africa.

Ireland had been due to play their series, part of the World Cup Super League, in September but agreed to move the games forward, with all three ODIs to be held behind closed doors in Southampton from July 30 to August 4.

The first Test against Pakistan will begin a day later in Manchester, with the teams then moving down to Southampton for the second and third matches at the Ageas Bowl, starting on August 13 and 21. They will return to Manchester for T20Is at Emirates Old Trafford on August 28, 30 and September 1.

“Confirmation of these matches against Ireland and Pakistan is another important step for our game as we begin to safely stage international cricket again, but also to minimise the impact the Covid-19 pandemic has had, and will continue to have, on cricket at all levels,” ECB chief executive Tom Harrison said.

“It has taken significant effort and expertise to allow us to reach a position where cricket is now ready and able to return to the field of play from the elite level to recreational cricket.

“We owe a significant debt of gratitude to the players, staff and administrators of the Cricket West Indies, Cricket Ireland, and the Pakistan Cricket Board for their willingness and co-operation to get international cricket back up and running and allow these matches to be staged.

“Sports fans across the world will benefit as international cricket returns to our screens while it will also provide much-needed financial aid at all levels of cricket in England and Wales as we aim to withstand the challenges in front of us.

“It must be reiterated that there is still much work for the ECB and the cricket network to do as we try to plot a path through this pandemic. Chief amongst our priorities is to build on our commitment to support and grow women’s cricket and at the elite level discussions continue to progress to determine the best and safest way to host a tri-series against India and South Africa.

“We also continue to explore options for our England men to play white-ball series against Australia this summer and hope to have news on those series soon.”

The majority of Pakistan’s 29-man squad flew to the UK in late June, despite disruption caused by a number of positive Covid-19 tests. Ten players did not take the initial flight, but all but one have now returned the two negative tests required to participate in the tour.

Like West Indies and Pakistan, Ireland’s players are expected to given an ‘opt out’ by the selectors in case any have concerns about Covid-19 in the UK.

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