England certain to field two teams: 22 players are highly likely to represent England on two consecutive days next month.
England Cricket Board has announced the fixtures of the men’s national team for their upcoming series against Ireland and Pakistan. With Pakistan already under a 14-day quarantine period in England, they were already expected to play three Tests and as many T20Is.
Ireland, who were originally expected to tour England in September, will now arrive this month itself for a three-match ODI series. Given how the COVID-19 pandemic has affected the English summer, such changes in the schedule haven’t come as a huge surprise.
Ireland tour of England 2020:
1st ODI: July 30 at The Ageas Bowl
2nd ODI: August 1 at The Ageas Bowl
3rd ODI: August 4 at The Ageas Bowl
Pakistan tour of England 2020:
1st Test: August 5-9 at Emirates Old Trafford
— Lancashire Cricket (@lancscricket) July 6, 2020
2nd Test: August 13-17 at The Ageas Bowl
3rd Test: August 21-25 at The Ageas Bowl
1st T20I: August 28, Emirates Old Trafford
2nd T20I: August 30, Emirates Old Trafford
3rd T20I: September 1, Emirates Old Trafford
England certain to field two teams to play Ireland ODI and Pakistan Test on consecutive days
The development means that the English selectors are almost certain to name two totally different teams for the ODIs against Ireland and Tests against Pakistan. With only a day’s difference between the last day (July 28) of the third Test against West Indies and the first ODI against Ireland, the same was bound to happen.
With the third ODI (August 4) against Ireland and the first Test (August 5-9) against Pakistan scheduled to be played on consecutive days, one doesn’t expect same players to be risked in a season which hitherto demands the English players to play non-stop cricket to make optimum use of whatever time is left in their summer.
Another reason behind England fielding 22 players on consecutive days is that both matches will be played at different venues, i.e., The Ageas Bowl and Old Trafford. In times of playing under bio-secure bubbles, it would be impossible to make players travel on the same day as the match to play a Test match the next day.
While other nations are expected to take notes from England who will become the first nation to host international cricket after the COVID-19 outbreak, the manner of fielding 22 different players for varying formats might also be followed by other teams in the next few months as schedules will be hectic to make up for individual losses.
It is worth mentioning that Australia had attempted a similar ploy in 2017 when a T20I team led by Aaron Finch had played against Sri Lanka in Adelaide on February 22 and a Test team led by Steve Smith had faced India in Pune on February 23.