Test summer finally gets underway on Wednesday in wake of World Cup triumph.

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The second phase of one of the biggest summers in English cricket history gets underway on Wednesday as the men’s squad at last don the whites to take on Ireland at Lord’s.

Fresh from an unforgettable World Cup victory, the players’ attention has turned to one of sport’s great rivalries as they look forward to facing old rivals Australia in a home Ashes series.

To prepare for what will be a significant challenge, the Three Lions will host close neighbours Ireland in a one-off four day game at the home of cricket – the first ever Test match to be played in that format.

England’s team for Ireland’s first ever Test at Lord’s has been named by Joe Root with Surrey’s Jason Roy and Warwickshire’s Olly Stone confirmed to make their Test debuts. Somerset’s Lewis Gregory – who has led the PCA Overall MVP for much of this season – misses out after making the initial 13-man squad last week.

Roy, 29, was not a surprise inclusion in the team after his fine World Cup form – combined with him producing the goods in white-ball international cricket for four years – made selection all but a certainty.

The big-hitting batsman recorded more MVP batting points than any other England player over the course of a highly successful ODI summer, as well as averaging the most points-per-game (15.20) of any squad member to have appeared in at least 5 ODIs. He finished third in the final Rankings after appearing in four fewer games than eventual winner Chris Woakes.

He’ll be joined by Stone, who returns to the England fold after missing the West Indies tour and much of the domestic season so far through injury. The 25-year-old will attempt to claim the England speed king crown in the absence of Jofra Archer and Mark Wood.

Gregory will disappointed to miss out on the Ireland game after England opted for an extra spinner in the form of domestic teammate Jack Leach.

The former has been an absolute revelation for Somerset this year, leading the Overall MVP for 79 of the 109 completed days of the domestic season so far. No player from any of the 18 first-class counties has won more Man of the Match awards in 2019 than Gregory’s six.

Leach, however, gets a deserved recall after a series of impressive performances in Sri Lanka late last year. He will most likely form a spin bowling partnership with the most recent Englishman to win the Test MVP: Worcestershire’s Moeen Ali.

Ali was the standout performer of England’s tours of Sri Lanka and West Indies. His 32 Test wickets across the two series helped him to claim 118 MVP bowling points – the most of any player. He eventually finished 25 points clear of nearest challenger Ben Stokes in the Test Rankings.

The MVP was designed by the PCA in conjunction with the players to reward match-winning performances, and recognises the importance of the genuine all-rounder.

Players such as Ali benefit as bonus points are given for scoring a high proportion of your team’s runs, taking top order wickets and claiming dismissals in the field, amongst other disciplines taken into consideration.

The 32-year-old will be hoping to make it two Test MVP wins from two as England gear up for a seriously challenging summer in the longest format.

In terms of the Overall MVP, Test skipper Joe Root and seam bowling all-rounder Woakes will resume their battle for the main prize. The top two are separated by just three points, and will both be expecting to feature in each of England’s remaining fixtures so far this summer.

The race for the individual awards could go down to the wire, but team success will be at the forefront of every player’s mind as cricket’s most storied rivalry is set to resume.

Full England team to face Ireland on Wednesday 24 July: Joe Root ©, Moeen Ali, Jonny Bairstow, Stuart Broad, Rory Burns, Sam Curran, Joe Denly, Jack Leach, Jason Roy, Olly Stone, Chris Woakes.

View the England Overall MVP Rankings here.

Keep up-to-date with all the latest MVP news by following the @pcaMVP on Twitter.


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