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Brendon McCullum
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England v Ireland preview: Harry Brook could star at Lord's

With the Ashes just over the horizon, England's Test team has one last chance to prepare for the visit of Australia with a standalone four-day match against Ireland at Lord's.

The Test gets underway on Thursday and is just the second time that these teams have met in the format with England having won the previous meeting at the same venue back in July 2019.

WhatEngland vs Ireland
WhereLord's, London, England
When11:00, Thursday 1st June
How to watchSky Sports Main Event / Cricket
OddsEngland 1/8, Draw 7/1, Ireland 22/1 


England gearing up for key summer

England were sent home after their last Ashes series with their tails between their legs, having been thumped 4-0 in the 2021/22 tussle, but there is great optimism in the camp ahead of this summer's encounter, with the hosts 11/10 To Win Outright. 

Since the appointment of former New Zealand international Brendon McCullum as head coach and Ben Stokes taking the reins as captain, England have undergone a transformation, adopting an ultra-aggressive style of play which has yielded results. 

Going into Thursday's clash with Ireland, England have won 10 of their last 12 Tests matches and look in excellent shape ahead of the visit of Australia, who are 4/6 To Retain the Ashes. 

There are not really any doubts when it comes to the likely result of this contest, with the hosts priced at 1/8 to beat an Ireland team who have lost all six of their Test contests since playing their first match in the format in 2018. 

This one-off fixture will act as a great opportunity for the England selectors to assess their options before picking their team for the first Ashes Test in June and there will be fringe players looking to show why they should be involved. 

In terms of the squad picked for the Ireland contest, the selectors decided to leave out Ben Foakes with Jonny Bairstow returning to the side after a lengthy injury lay-off. 

Zak Crawley, meanwhile, has retained his spot at the top of the order, while Dan Lawrence has been named as a spare batsman. 

Ireland made the controversial decision to leave out star bowler Josh Little, who requested a break after his involvement in the Indian Premier League.

Brook looks to build on superb winter campaign

The attacking philosophy England have developed under McCullum has benefited the careers of numerous players but perhaps none more so than Harry Brook, who has made a scintillating start to his Test tenure. 

After six Test matches, Brook is averaging 80.9 and has a strike rate of 98.77. The Yorkshireman was named player of the series for his performances during February's tour of New Zealand, scoring 143 and 186 in the two matches. 

There have been concerns that the 24-year-old, who operates at number five in the England batting line-up, is at risk of burnout after an underwhelming campaign with Sunrisers Hyderabad in the IPL but a first summer of Test cricket should act as a fresh start. 

He has looked right at home in England's Test team and this will be a good warm-up for his first Ashes series. 

England's top order has not been entirely convincing and runs are often spread throughout the team, so Brook could offer a bit of value at 9/2 to top score for his team against Ireland at Lord's. 

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