After a much-changed England team wrapped up a 2-1 series victory over Ireland in their three-match ODI series, Henry Clark selects Wisden’s combined XI based on the best players from both sides.
It took until the final game of the series but boy did Ireland’s danger man Paul Stirling eventually produce. His match-winning innings of 142 gets him a place in this side, with Jason Roy underperforming and Gareth Delany still finding his feet. He’s joined by Jonny Bairstow at the top of the order who, despite crashing a typically brutal 82 in the second game, also had a largely quiet series. Another tidy series behind the stumps sees the Yorkshireman also take the gloves.
The middle order
Until the third game of the series Ireland captain Andrew Balbirnie and England’s James Vince were battling it out for the most underwhelming combined XI No.3 spot in history, with Vince edging it for his bowling. Ireland’s skipper, however, hit a true captain’s knock of 106 alongside Stirling to help steer his side to a magnificent victory in the denouement to fully earn his place.
The ever-reliable Eoin Morgan walks into the middle-order as captain alongside one of England’s big positives from the series in Sam Billings. Billings only got his chance after an injury to his Kent teammate Joe Denly but grabbed it with both hands, playing two exceptional innings in the series and only being dismissed once.
Curtis Campher was the find of the series for the visitors. Born in Johannesburg, the 21-year-old all-rounder hit fifties in both his innings and also chipped in with some key wickets with his skiddy seamers. One to keep an eye on.
The other standout performer for England, David Willey has recovered from the heartbreak of missing out on selection in England’s World Cup side and is back to his best with both bat and ball. A solid start, too, for Saqib Mahmood in his first series on home soil. Bowled with real pace after being charged with replacing the absent duo of Jofra Archer and Mark Wood.
Ireland’s seamers suited pitches that tended to be on the slower side at the Ageas Bowl and both Craig Young and Josh Little led the visitors’ attack well. Young’s excellent bowling up-front accounted for the dangerous Roy in all three games too.
Arguably the best white-ball spinner in the world right now, Adil Rashid continues to spearhead the England attack. Full of the variations we have been accustomed to over the years, and with a strengthened shoulder giving his googly renewed zip, Rashid is captain Morgan’s go-to man in the middle overs and invariably produces for his country.
Wisden’s England-Ireland combined XI
1. Jonny Bairstow (wk)
2. Paul Stirling
3. Andrew Balbirnie
4. Sam Billings
5. Eoin Morgan (c)
6. Curtis Campher
7. David Willey
8. Adil Rashid
9. Saqib Mahmood
10. Craig Young
11. Josh Little