IRELAND will have two warm-up games ahead of their three-match one-day international series against world champions England, which has been confirmed by the ECB.

The ODIs will all be day/nighters, starting at 2pm and will take place at the Ageas Bowl, Southampton on July 30, August 1 and August 4. The Ireland squad, to be selected tomorrow, will have a practice intra-squad game on Wednesday July 22 and a 50-over game against England Lions on Sunday July 26.

To comply with public health directives, the squad will leave Dublin Airport on Saturday week, July 18 on a special charter flight and then be transferred to a hotel within the bio-secure venue and stay there until their departure on August 5.

The players will be tested a week before departure, on arrival and regularly during their stay. As a result, an enlarged squad, to include reserves in case players test positive for Covid-19, will travel. They will all be involved in the practice game with a few local players making up the 22.

The games will all be behind closed doors but the ODIs will be televised live by Sky Sports with ball by commentary on BBC radio and highlights on BBC television plus video clips during play.

The games will be Ireland’s first ODIs since they lost the three-match series in the Caribbean in January, when Ireland came within one wicket of winning the second game in Barbados. Their last action was in Greater Noida in March when they won the final Twenty20 international against Afghanistan after a Super Over, after drawing the T20 series against West Indies 1-1.

Speaking last night, Ireland captain Andrew Balbirnie said: “It’s a great relief to the squad and coaching staff that the games are able to proceed and despite the challenges over the last four months, the lads are in good shape and good spirits. Returning to training was a great first step in the return to cricket.

“However, playing international cricket is a huge honour and not only do we have that to look forward to now but we’ll be taking on the world champions in their own backyard. That is the ultimate challenge – and we’ll be ready.

Balbirnie also paid tribute to the health professionals and frontline workers “whose tireless work has allowed us to be able to return to play”.