Saturday, March 25, 2023

Recharged England face Pakistan problem in long-awaited Take a look at collection


RAWALPINDI: A recharged England, enjoying swashbuckling cricket below skipper Ben Stokes and coach Brendon McCullum, will get their first style of Pakistan situations in 17 years when the primary Take a look at begins in Rawalpindi on Thursday.

Beneath Stokes and former New Zealand nice McCullum, England have remodelled their recreation — successful six of their final seven Assessments at residence enjoying what has been dubbed “Bazball” after the coach’s nickname.

That got here after a dismal sequence of only one win in 17 Assessments — together with a 4-0 humiliation within the Ashes in Australia — leading to head coach Chris Silverwood being sacked and Stokes taking up as skipper from Joe Root.

However low and gradual pitches in Pakistan — the place England final performed a Take a look at in 2005 — pose a distinct problem, McCullum admits.

Safety points have meant Pakistan have needed to play most of their residence Assessments of the final twenty years on impartial grounds, often the United Arab Emirates.

“We perceive the scale of the problem in entrance of us — however that is nice, and that’s why you wish to play the sport,” McCullum informed a press convention.

“However on the identical time, if we’re given the chance to attempt to play aggressive and attacking cricket, we’ll attempt to take that possibility.”

England’s new method noticed them chase down targets of 277, 299, 296 and 378 with ease to win Assessments this 12 months.

However they’ve gained solely two of the 22 Assessments they’ve performed in Pakistan, dropping 4 and drawing the opposite 16.

Seam spearhead James Anderson, who toured with England in 2005 however did not play a Take a look at, must draw on his 667-wicket expertise to get life out of the anticipated unresponsive pitches with categorical tempo bowler Mark Wooden dominated out with a hip damage.

Root will anchor an inexperienced batting line-up that should counter Pakistan’s new spin assault of left-armer Nauman Ali plus uncapped pair Zahid Mahmood and Abrar Ahmed.

Shaheen out 

The house workforce will miss strike bowler Shaheen Shah Afridi, who’s out of the collection with a knee damage, whereas veteran spinner Yasir Shah has been dropped after struggling for type

An inexperienced tempo assault can be led by Naseem Shah, who has performed 13 Assessments, whereas Haris Rauf and Mohammad Wasim Junior are each in line to make their Take a look at debuts.

“It is at all times nice to play England and I look ahead to getting on this journey with our proficient bunch of gamers,” tweeted captain Babar Azam.

If Pakistan wins the collection 2-0 they may bounce to second from fifth within the World Take a look at Championship, with a collection at residence in opposition to New Zealand left to play.  The highest two of 9 groups will contest the ultimate subsequent 12 months.

England are seventh and out of rivalry for the ultimate.

Pakistan could put together a extra result-oriented pitch on the Rawalpindi stadium after it produced 1,187 runs for the lack of simply 14 wickets in a tame draw in opposition to Australia earlier this 12 months.

That pitch was rated “beneath common” by match referee Ranjan Madugalle and described as “lifeless” by Australian batter Steve Smith.

If the pitch takes spin, England will depend on the expertise of left-armer Jack Leach and should even herald 18-year-old uncapped leg-spinner Rehan Ahmed, drafted into the squad final week after being initially named as a reserve.

Leach has expertise on Asian pitches, taking 28 wickets in Sri Lanka and 18 in India within the final 4 years.

Pakistan (from): Babar Azam (captain), Mohammad Rizwan, Imam-ul-Haq, Abdullah Shafique, Azhar Ali, Abrar Ahmed, Mohammad Ali, Shan Masood, Faheem Ashraf, Haris Rauf, Mohammad Nawaz, Nauman Ali, Saud Shakeel, Zahid Mahmood, Mohammad Wasim Junior, Naseem Shah, Salman Ali Agha, Sarfaraz Ahmed

England (from): Ben Stokes (capt), James Anderson, Harry Brook, Zak Crawley, Ben Duckett, Ben Foakes, Will Jacks, Keaton Jennings, Jack Leach, Liam Livingstone, Jamie Overton, Ollie Pope, Ollie Robinson, Joe Root, Rehan Ahmed

Umpires:  Joel Wilson (WIS) and Ahsan Raza (PAK)

Television umpire:  Marias Erasmus (RSA)

Match referee: Andy Pycroft (ZIM)

Most Popular