England v Eire: Josh Little absence for Lord’s Check defended by guests

Josh Little

Little will not be part of the Ireland squad to face England at Lord’s

Cricket Ireland has defended the absence of star bowler Josh Little from next week’s Lord’s Test against England, declaring that the match is not “a pinnacle event”.

The 23-year-old left-arm seamer is one of Irish cricket’s hottest properties and landed a deal worth more than £400,000 with Gujarat Titans in this year’s Indian Premier League.

But he will be conspicuous by his absence when his country play only their second Test against England, having requested a break.

Little’s sabbatical follows his busy schedule in limited-overs cricket.

Champions of Test cricket will see that as a worrying signal at a time when the most prestigious form of the game is being squeezed from all sides by franchise tournaments, but for Ireland the matter is more clear-cut.

The World Cup Qualifier in Zimbabwe in June and July is a clear priority for the visitors, who are looking to qualify for the World Cup in India later this year, and…