Ian Callender (Belfast Telegraph)
IRELANDíS three one-day internationals against England this summer are set to be moved from Manchester to Southampton and played over a six-day period from July 30-August 4.
The England and Wales Cricket Board are due to make an announcement on Thursday but they are still waiting on Government approval for their summer schedule, which also includes Test match series against West Indies and Pakistan, to proceed.
Cricket Ireland are happy to fit in with the ECBís planning and senior players and staff, including coach Graham Ford will be involved in a Zoom call with their hosts in the next couple of weeks to confirm they are happy with the arrangements.
The switch in venue has been made to give both the Ireland and England ODI squads the best possible preparation at the Ageos Bowl site which includes a hotel and a nursery ground, while the England Test match squad conclude their series against West Indies at Old Trafford.
Although the Ireland players will not have to quarantine because they are coming from a common travel area, they will be tested on arrival and confined to the biosecure site for the duration of their stay which is likely to begin 12 days before the first match.
As of now, residents in the Republic cannot travel more than 5km from their homes and although that is due to be extended to 20km on June 8, only essential travel is permitted and Cricket Ireland will have to make a special request to allow the squad to travel to England ďto go back to international competition in the UKĒ.
Like the ECB, neither Sport NI nor Sport Ireland have given dates for a return to play protocol but it is hoped that training in small groups can begin at Phase 2, which is June 8 in the Republic, and that would give the Ireland players six weeks before they are due to head to England.
The ODIs, which will be the first games in the World Cup Super League, are Irelandís only fixtures remaining this year, following the cancellation of their home series against Bangladesh, New Zealand and Pakistan, and on Thursday they should find out if the T20 World Cup, scheduled for Australia in October/November is going ahead.
The ICC board is meeting this week and it is likely a decision will be taken on whether the 16-team tournament will get the go-ahead or be postponed, probably until the same window in 2021. The Future Tours Programme, which has been severely disrupted by the pandemic, will also be discussed.