Pakistan is set to take on England in a three-match ODI and T20I series starting July 8 and it will go on till July 20. Both sides named a strong squad to begin their preparations for the upcoming World T20 in October-November but England have been pegged back a little in their quest.
The home side has been hit hard by a COVID wave ahead of their ODI series against Pakistan with seven members having to self-isolate following positive coronavirus reports. While there were only three players on the list, four of them were staff. It has forced England’s hands to name an inexperienced 18-member squad for the three ODIs with Ben Stokes as the captain.
The revised England side has seven uncapped players and maybe a part of the T20I squad as well with games coming at a quick turnaround.
The 1st T20I will be played at Trent Bridge in Nottingham and it is a relatively high-scoring ground with the average first innings score being 154 and the second innings score being 137. Teams batting first have won 6 of the 11 T20Is played there while teams batting second have won 5.
A full-strength Pakistan side would aim to take advantage of an inexperienced England side if at all they fail to beef up their squad because of the coronavirus issues. The likes of Babar Azam, Fakhar Zaman would aim to score big runs and put the opposition under pressure. With a good and experienced bowling attack in Shaheen Afridi, Haris Rauf, Hasan Ali and Imad Wasim, the visitors will have the chance to win games and put on a good show.
For England things are different. If they get a full-strength side, they will be the favourites going into the series. However, if the same squad as the one announced for the ODIs play Pakistan, the hosts could find themselves in a spot. A lot will depend on Ben Stokes and Dawid Malan as the two senior most pros in the side to carry the youngsters.
Revised England ODI squad: Ben Stokes (C), Jake Ball, Danny Briggs, Brydon Carse, Zak Crawley, Ben Duckett, Lewis Gregory, Tom Helm, Will Jacks, Dan Lawrence, Saqib Mahmood, Dawid Malan, Craig Overton, Matt Parkinson, David Payne, Phil Salt, John Simpson, James Vince
Pakistan T20I squad: Babar Azam (C), Shadab Khan, Arshad Iqbal, Azam Khan Faheem Ashraf, Fakhar Zaman, Haider Ali, Haris Rauf, Hasan Ali, Imad Wasim, Mohammad Hafeez, Mohammad Hasnain, Mohammad Nawaz, Mohammad Rizwan (WK), Mohammad Wasim Jnr, Sarfaraz Ahmed (WK), Shaheen Shah Afridi, Sharjeel Khan, Usman Qadir
Babar Azam, Mohammad Rizwan and Dawid Malan look like good choices for most runs in the match as both are experienced T20 players and have good knowledge of playing in England as well.
Ben Stokes is also a good pick for his all-round ability. Stokes is a player who thrives under pressure and the added responsibility to lead the side might just bring the best out of him.
Shaheen Afridi, Imad Wasim can be bet on for wickets. While England have good players, their inexperience on the big stage calls for caution to begin with.
For most sixes, back Stokes and Rizwan. Rizwan has been in good form recently and will be a key player for Pakistan much like Stokes.
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