3 Englishmen capable of turning Ireland cameo into regular role


Ordinarily, returning to ODI cricket so soon after the World Cup debacle would be a painful experience for both the England cricket team and its fans.

However, the squad selected to face Ireland in a one-off 50-over clash contains so many players earmarked for the future that there’s enough of a clean slate in place to boost the intrigue in the encounter.

As many as six ODI debutants could be picked to face Will Porterfield’s side at Malahide, with only James Taylor, Steven Finn and Alex Hales the only returning cast from the massacre Down Under.

Despite being relatively green in the international game, England’s youthful side remain 2/5 favourites to seal victory which, if achieved, could stand a few of them in good stead to become national-team regulars.

Here are the three best placed to just that:

Sam Billings – Keeper-Batsman – Kent


Like England’s current inventive gloveman, Jos Buttler, Kent’s version can hit the ball out of any part of the ground.

Billings shot into the public’s consciousness with a blistering campaign in the domestic 50-over competition last season, where he scored 458 runs at an average of 114.50

He is 8/1 to be England’s top scorer against the Irish on Friday.

David Willey – All-rounder – Northants


Of the many things England will be looking to bring into the ODI setup after the World Cup, two of them – power-hitting and left-arm bowling – are provided by Willey.

England were found out for the monotonous makeup of their attack during the World Cup and can no longer rely on Stuart Broad to provide lower-order runs.

Willey showed his love of the big-stage with a man-of-the-match performance for Northants against Surrey in the 2013 T20 final.

James Vince – Batsman – Hampshire


Vince has been pinpointed as the future of England’s middle order in all formats for what seems an eternity.

A regular in the England Lions setup, the 24-year-old captains Hampshire’s limited-overs sides and has three List A centuries to his name.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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Matt Wiggins

No idyllic sound comes close to leather on willow for Matt, whose previous experience includes stints with Spin Magazine and Surrey County Cricket Club. It's not just cricket that interests him though, with football, golf, tennis and any American sport not played on ice all high on his list of favourites.