England-Ireland series kicks off World Cup qualification
Watch England v Ireland live on Sky Sports Cricket at 1.30pm on Thursday, July 30
Last Updated: 28/07/20 9:18am
England's one-day international series against Ireland, live on Sky, will kick off 2023 Cricket World Cup qualification as part of the ICC's new Super League format.
The 12 full member countries plus the Netherlands, who won the ICC World Cricket Super League 2015-17, will play four home and away three-match ODI series in the one-day format as part of a newly-created Super League, of which the England-Ireland series, which features three day-night ODIs at Southampton, starting on Thursday, July 30 and live on Sky, will be the first part.
The top seven teams will automatically book spots at the 2023 World Cup in India.
ICC general manager of cricket operations Geoff Allardice hopes the league "will bring relevance and context to ODI cricket over the next three years" and "gives cricket fans around the world even more reasons to watch as the drama of league cricket unfolds".
International cricket resumed this month after the lockdown with England hosting the West Indies in a three-Test series played in bio-secure bubbles at venues in Southampton and Manchester. The West Indies squad had to quarantine for two weeks after arriving in Britain for the series.
Eoin Morgan, captain of England's one-day international squad, said fans around the world would be excited to see white-ball cricket resume.
"Given the situation, it will be quite different to the last time we played at home, when we lifted the World Cup at Lord's, but its nice to be starting our journey for the next edition of the tournament," Morgan said.
"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."
Ireland skipper Andrew Balbirnie accepted his team faced a difficult return to international cricket and said: "It is obviously going to be a huge challenge taking on the team that won the World Cup just a year ago but we have prepared well and have taken confidence from our form over the early months of 2020.
"What is important is that we are getting back on the field. I hope international crickets return is steady during these challenging times."
Last week the ICC rescheduled the World Cup in India to late 2023 so countries could get more time to schedule any games lost because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Allardice said the delay was to preserve the integrity of the qualifying process and decide the qualification on the field of play.