RAWALPINDI: A recharged England, taking part in swashbuckling cricket underneath skipper Ben Stokes and coach Brendon McCullum, will get their first style of Pakistan circumstances in 17 years when the first Take a look at begins in Rawalpindi on Thursday.
Below Stokes and former New Zealand nice McCullum, England have remodelled their sport — profitable six of their final seven Checks at residence taking part in what has been dubbed “Bazball” after the coach’s nickname.
That got here after a dismal sequence of only one win in 17 Checks — 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 sluggish pitches in Pakistan — the place England final performed a Take a look at in 2005 — pose a unique problem, McCullum admits.
Safety points have meant Pakistan have needed to play most of their residence Checks of the final 20 years on impartial grounds, normally the United Arab Emirates.
“We perceive the scale of the problem in entrance of us — however that is nice, and that is why you need to play the sport,” McCullum instructed a press convention.
“However on the similar time, if we’re given the chance to try to play aggressive and attacking cricket, we’ll try to take that choice.”
England’s new strategy noticed them chase down targets of 277, 299, 296 and 378 with ease to win Checks this yr.
However they’ve received solely two of the 22 Checks they’ve performed in Pakistan, shedding 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, should draw on his 667-wicket expertise to get life out of the anticipated unresponsive pitches with specific 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.
The house staff will miss strike bowler Shaheen Shah Afridi, who’s out of the sequence with a knee damage, whereas veteran spinner Yasir Shah has been dropped after struggling for type
An inexperienced tempo assault might be led by Naseem Shah, who has performed 13 Checks, 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 sit up for getting on this journey with our gifted bunch of gamers,” tweeted captain Babar Azam.
If Pakistan win the sequence 2-0 they are going to bounce to second from fifth within the World Take a look at Championship, with a sequence at residence towards New Zealand left to play. The highest two of 9 groups will contest the ultimate subsequent yr.
England are seventh and out of competition for the ultimate.
Pakistan might 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 towards Australia earlier this yr.
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 will even usher in 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 (WI) and Ahsan Raza (PAK)
Television umpire: Marias Erasmus (RSA)
Match referee: Andy Pycroft (ZIM)