Ross Adair will make his Ireland debut in the same side as younger brother Mark in Harare today as one of two new caps in the first of three T20 internationals against Zimbabwe.

The big-hitting former Ulster rugby union professional will open the batting with skipper Andy Balbirnie, with fellow debutant Stephen Doheny, the Merrion wicketkeeper batsman, at first drop for the Boys in Green.

“Ross has done some really impressive stuff at InterPro level,” Balbirnie said. “He has earned a chance, and our message to him is to play no differently - he’s unorthodox, he hits the ball a long way and it’s kind of exciting to see how well he does.

“Stephen has been around the squad for the guts of a year without getting a game before now but the way he’s trained and carried himself has been really impressive, and I’m sure he’ll be chomping at the bit to get in and show us what he can do.”

Adair and Doheny get their chance in the top three in the absence of Paul Stirling and Lorcan Tucker who, along with left-arm quick bowler Josh Little, have been given leave to play in franchise tournaments before returning next week for the ODI series.

Balbirnie addressed an issue that will become more of a headache for Ireland in the months and years ahead: the loss of players to lucrative opportunities like the €500,000 that Little will earn from his Indian Premier League contract.

“It’s something we have to adapt to,” the skipper said. “We only have a small pool to pick from but when the top players are missing it gives others a chance to come in.

“Exposure in those big tournaments is invaluable and in Josh’s case it’s a life changing contract. I’ve watched him come through the system at Pembroke and was so pleased for him.”

Along with Adair and Doheny making their debuts, Ireland will be playing a T20 international for the first time in Zimbabwe, and expect slow pitches favouring spin and the weather to play a part with rain interruptions.

Meanwhile, Ireland lost their final warm-up game ahead of the U19 World Cup by just one run to Rwanda, failing to chase down 104 in Pretoria, despite a battling 41 from skipper Amy Hunter.