Babar Azam and his team aims to bounce back against England from Test drubbing in T20I series.
London: England bowling attack looks relatively weak, with some first-team players rested after a long Test summer. This is something Babar Azam, the number one batsman in T20Is, might be looking to take advantage of.
After a 1-0 defeat in the Test series, Pakistan is looking to overturn their fortunes in the three-match T20I series which starts from Friday.
There have been big changes in the Pakistan squad for this format, with the limited-overs team having a mix of experience and youth. At 39, Mohammad Hafeez is the oldest member while 17-year-old Naseem Shah, who had a quiet Test outing, is the youngest.
In the absence of Imam-ul-Haq, who also didn’t feature in the Test matches, newly-appointed skipper Babar Azam is likely to open the innings with Fakhar Zaman. The pair will receive support from Iftikhar Ahmed, Imad Wasim, and Shadab Khan. It will be interesting to see if the Pakistan management sticks with experienced candidates Shoaib Malik and Hafeez or give opportunities to youngsters.
Meanwhile, wicketkeeper-batsman Mohammad Rizwan would be an automatic pick considering his heavyweight performance in the recently concluded Test series, where he also won the ‘Man of the Series’ award.
Pakistan’s pace artillery has been significantly reinforced, with Mohammad Amir and Wahab Riaz available. The side will probably rely on their senior bowlers for this series, with one of Naseem or Shaheen Afridi picked to be part of a pace trio.
England, on the other hand, is looking to continue the winning momentum, this time under the leadership of Eoin Morgan. England’s World Cup-winning captain will also be on a high, having led the ODI team to an impressive series win against Ireland.
Wicketkeeper-batsman Jonny Bairstow is likely to open the innings for the hosts. With Jason Roy having been ruled out of the series, 21-year-old Tom Banton might partner Bairstow at top of the order.
Morgan will be joined by all-rounder Joe Denly and Dawid Malan in the middle order. Moeen Ali, despite his recent lack of form, is another asset to this English side. The all-rounder comes with vast experience in all formats of the game and has proved his worth to the side on several occasions.
England’s bowling attack looks relatively weak, considering the likes of Chris Woakes and Jofra Archer have been rested after a long Test summer. This is something Babar Azam, the number one batsman in T20Is, might be looking to take advantage of.
The sides have met each other 15 times in this format, with England winning 10 of those contests. Pakistan has secured four wins so far, while one match ended in a draw.
The last time the two teams met was in May 2019 when England registered a comfortable 7-wicket victory on the back of a rapid half-century from Eoin Morgan.
Pakistan: Babar Azam (c), Fakhar Zaman, Haider Ali, Haris Rauf, Iftikhar Ahmed, Imad Wasim, Khushdil Shah, Mohammad Hafeez, Mohammad Hasnain, Mohammad Rizwan, Mohammad Amir, Naseem Shah, Sarfaraz Ahmed, Shadab Khan, Shaheen Afridi, Shoaib Malik, Wahab Riaz.
England – Jonny Bairstow (wk), Tom Banton, Joe Denly, Dawid Malan, Eoin Morgan (c), Sam Billings, Moeen Ali, David Willey, Adil Rashid, Chris Jordan, Tom Curran, Saqib Mahmood, Lewis Gregory