Ireland have named a familiar 15-strong squad for the three one-day internationals in England later this month but will make a key tactical change with Andy Balbirnie promoted to open the batting with new skipper Paul Stirling.

Balbirnie’s preference when captain was always to bat at No 3, and this led to all-rounder Andy McBrine being asked to open during Ireland’s doomed World Cup qualifying campaign in Zimbabwe earlier this summer.

The experiment was not a success and now Stirling will have his good mate and long-term colleague at the other end, with Curtis Campher asked to fill in at first drop despite McBrine’s excellent showing in that position in the Caribbean early last year.

“Andrew and Paul have a great understanding and we believe they can develop into a longer term opening option in the 50-over game,” Andrew White, the chair of selectors, said.

“Curtis has the technique and aptitude to succeed at No 3 – he plays pace as well as anyone in the squad, and has the capability to bat higher up the order and have a really positive impact.”

Why Campher can’t be left in the middle order, where he made two half-centuries against England on debut in 2020, only the selectors know, especially as McBrine was Player-of-the-Series batting at three in Balbirnie’s absence when Ireland beat the West Indies 2-1 in Jamaica.

As to the longevity of the new opening partnership, Stirling, who turns 33 tomorrow, and Balbirnie, 32, will both be well into the twilight of their careers, if not retired, when the next 50-overs World Cup rolls around in 2027. 

IRELAND SQUAD: Paul Stirling (capt), Mark Adair, Andrew Balbirnie, Curtis Campher, Gareth Delany, George Dockrell, Graham Hume, Josh Little, Andy McBrine, Barry McCarthy, Neil Rock, Harry Tector, Lorcan Tucker, Theo van Woerkom, Craig Young.