So Australia's northern tour begins. In the past, the short trip to Ireland was a bit of fun, known for things such as six-hitting exploits and so on. This time it is a full-status ODI, the first between the two teams outside a World Cup. (I think it even counts for the ICC tables.)
Ireland are in some ways like the Socceroos - not necessarily living up to their past unexpected exploits. Of course, it doesn't help to be losing players to a more prestigious neighbour. Some more creative thinking is needed here - perhaps if more players were retained, Ireland wouldn't still be using Australian and other second -string players. In any case, it is a long way from the days when SR Waugh lined up for the Irish.
This is a strange tour - an unusually seroius warm-up match, yet another long ODI series, some modern stuff, and as a climax, an 'away' Test series against a team with all sorts of internal problems. The islands off north-western Europe are a long way from the North West Frontier - let's see what happens!