The England and Wales Cricket Board have today released an updated schedule that will see more live cricket played this Summer in addition to the three games already planned against the West Indies.
Behind-closed-doors matches against Ireland and Pakistan have been confirmed, with Lancashire's Emirates Old Trafford and Hampshire's The Ageas Bowl the grounds chosen to host the games, which will see three one-day internationals against Ireland as well as three Test and T20 games against Pakistan.
Discussions are still ongoing to try and arrange a tri-series for the Women's team against India and South Africa, whilst there are also hopes to reschedule the planned men's ODI white-ball series against Australia - which was going to see three ODIs and T20s played between 3-16 July - for later in the year.
Schedule in full:
Royal London ODI Series
- 1st ODI v Ireland: Thursday 30 July at The Ageas Bowl (2.00pm start D/N)
- 2nd ODI v Ireland: Saturday 1 August at The Ageas Bowl (2.00pm D/N)
- 3rd ODI v Ireland: Tuesday 4 August at The Ageas Bowl (2.00pm D/N)
- 1st Test v Pakistan: 5-9 August at Emirates Old Trafford (11.00am start)
- 2nd Test v Pakistan: 13-17 August at The Ageas Bowl (11.00am start)
- 3rd Test v Pakistan: 21-25 August at The Ageas Bowl (11.00am start)
Vitality IT20 Series:
- 1st IT20 v Pakistan: Friday 28 August at Emirates Old Trafford (6.00pm start)
- 2nd IT20 v Pakistan: Sunday 30 August at Emirates Old Trafford (2.30pm start)
- 3rd IT20 v Pakistan: Tuesday 1 September at Emirates Old Trafford (6.00pm start)
Plenty of preparation
The revised itinerary will see Ireland arrive in Hampshire on Saturday 18 July, where they will be based for the duration of their time in the country. Their tour was supposed to involve matches on 10 September at Trent Bridge, 12 September at Edgbaston and 15 September at Kia Oval.
As for Pakistan - who landed on Saturday 28 June and currently in the midst of a 14-day isolation training period at Blackfinch New Road, Worcester - they will move across to Derbyshire's Incora County Ground on Monday 13 July in order to allow them to ramp up their practice prior to the first Test, which will be preceded by two four-day internal warm-up matches.
ECB Chief Executive Tom Harrison was delighted with the news, and thanked the collaborative efforts of many that allowed these games to be scheduled.
“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.
“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.
Hopes for more
Given that, in any normal sporting year, there would be a host of more games staged, there are still wishes to try and get more matches on.
With two-match T20 and four-match ODI series' originally planned for the Women's side against both India and South Africa, attentions have now turned to trying to incorporate all three teams in one tournament.
Harrison is hopeful of being able to host such an event, although is still wary of the uncertain future posed by the current pandemic.
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.”