England hope to avoid more embarrassment as they face Ireland in ODI
England cricket is on the decline in all formats of the game, and something drastic needs to be done to ensure that the current generation of talent in the country are not wasted.
Since Peter Moores’ return to the England job just over a year ago, he has suffered much disappointment, most recently including a highly unsuccessful World Cup campaign and drawing with a depleted West Indies side in a three-match Test series.
Now, England (odds-on 4/11 favourites with Coral) face one of the most improved nations in cricket in Ireland (21/10), who managed more points at the finals Down Under than Moores’ men, in a one-off ODI fixture in Dublin.
The Irish has shocked England before in this format of the game at the 2011 World Cup, and that was against a team featuring the likes of modern greats Andrew Strauss, Kevin Pietersen, Jonathan Trott, Graeme Swann and James Anderson.
This time, Moores has decided to pick a very youthful squad, with James Taylor the captain in Eoin Morgan’s absence.
While the likes of Taylor (7/2 to be top England batsman), and other call-ups Alex Hales (3/1) and South Africa-born Jason Roy (7/2) are exciting and highly-talented players, there is barely any experience.
Moores will no doubt believe that Ireland are a ‘lesser cricketing nation’, so has gone with a youthful set-up to try out players, but has he underestimated his upcoming opponents and ultimately dug his own grave?
Just bowlers Tim Bresnan (3/1 to be top bowler for his team) and Steven Finn (11/4) have earned more than 50 ODI caps, with the rest of the squad having made far fewer appearances.
Players waiting for their 50-over international debuts are batsmen Roy and James Vince, wicketkeeper Sam Billings and all-rounders Lewis Gregory, David Willey and Zafar Ansari.
However, given Moores’ inexplicable reluctance to blood players such as Yorkshire trio Adam Lyth, Liam Plunkett and Adil Rashid, who is in the ODI squad, against the Windies, it remains to be seen who he’ll pick in Dublin.
For Ireland, meanwhile, they will be able to call upon a strong-looking side, including Kevin O’Brien, who smashed 113 off 63 balls against England at the 2011 World Cup. He is a tempting 8/1 chance to get the highest score for his country again.
Former England batsman Ed Joyce (7/2) and William Porterfield (4/1), who is set to earn his 200th international cap, are also available for the hosts.
Bowler Tim Murtagh has had to pull out due to injury, meanwhile, so George Dockrell and John Mooney will lead the attack, and are both 3/1 shouts to be best with the ball for Ireland.