SOUTHAMPTON-England and Ireland are set to play a three-match one-day international series with the first game starting today (Thursday) in Southampton.

The series will be the start of the much-awaited ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup Super League that will see 13 teams contest for direct qualification to the 2023 ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup in India. Despite the short turnaround time between the Tests against West Indies and this ODI series, there are no workload concerns with England fielding a completely different outfit to that from the Tests.

Regulars Ben Stokes, Jos Buttler, Joe Root, Jofra Archer and Chris Woakes are absent as World Cup-winning skipper, Eoin Morgan returns to lead the team. Openers, Jason Roy and Jonny Bairstow, and leg-spinner Adil Rashid are the others from the 2019 World Cup final XI who are likely to play in the first ODI.

In Reece Topley, Saqib Mahmood, Tom Curran and David Willey, England have a completely different pace attack. Liam Dawson and Rashid are the spinners in the 14-man team. Joe Denly, who moved from the Test camp to the ODI one, could also be considered in the middle-order in Root’s absence.

Ireland have a good mix of youth and experience in their side. All-rounder Curtis Campher and middle-order batsman, Harry Tector could be in line for debuts. George Dockrell and Gary Wilson are in the reserves while Mark Adair is still nursing an injury. Andrew Balbirnie will lead the side with Kevin O’Brien, Boyd Rankin, Barry McCarthy and William Porterfield lending experience to the side. 20-year-old left-arm pacer, Joshua Little, who picked up four wickets the last time these two teams met, and leg-spinning all-rounder Gareth Delany are the youngsters to watch out for.

England and Ireland have played nine ODIs against each other with Ireland’s only win – a rather famous one – coming in the 2011 ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup when they chased 328 with three wickets to spare. The last time these two sides met was in Dublin in 2019 when England scraped through for a four-wicket win after struggling at 66 for 5 in the chase of 199. Ireland recently played a warm-up game against England Lions and lost by seven wickets.

Eoin Morgan, England captain: “Ireland are a talented team who have shown over the years that they can beat the best on their day. We look forward to what promises to be an interesting series.” Kevin O’Brien, Ireland all-rounder: “It’s up to them [youngsters] to bring Cricket Ireland forward when myself and a few of the older boys hang up the boots. We’ve brought it as far as we can, and it’s up to the younger guys to bring it even further.”