WORCESTERSHIRE star Moeen Ali has been confirmed as Eoin Morgan’s vice-captain for England’s three-match Royal London Series against Ireland.
The series will take place behind closed doors in a bio-secure bubble at the Ageas Bowl in Southampton, with the first Royal London International taking place on Thursday, July 30.
England’s squad for the series itself will be confirmed next week after two intra-squad matches (Tuesday, 11am and Friday, 2pm) and a warm-up match for England Lions against Ireland on Sunday, July 26 (2pm).
The intra-squad fixtures will be live-streamed on ecb.co.uk.
Moeen’s elevation comes as his New Road team-mates begin the final stage of preparations for a return to action at the start of next month.
A vastly-reduced four-day cricket tournament will begin on August 1 with counties such as Worcestershire looking to reach a Lord’s final and the chance to lift the Bob Willis Trophy, in memory of the former England pace ace and TV pundit who passed away earlier last year.
Counties are expected to play a month of county cricket before a reduced Vitality Blast programme in September. A full fixture list is expected to be revealed by the ECB later this week.
Pears skipper Joe Leach revealed his side are itching to start playing again, having been training within the current social distancing guidelines at New Road since the end of June.
They then continued their build up at Kidderminster for two weeks during Pakistan’s spell in Worcester before returning to their headquarters this week.
The 29-year-old said the opportunity to train again at Blackfinch New Road and Chester Road was a welcome tonic for everyone.
“It’s been a challenging period for everyone at the club with the severe winter flooding followed by COVID-19 which sadly has claimed so many lives and puts everything into perspective,” Leach said.
“You gear up through the winter period for being ready to hopefully fire on all cylinders in early April. We have put a lot of emphasis on red ball work from earlier than normal which everyone bought into.
“But the lads have been excellent in continuing the voluntary training of the past two-three months, showing that discipline to do what is required on their own to stay as fit and prepared as possible.”