The upcoming England series is regarded as a golden preparatory chance for Pakistan before the mega event of World Cup 2019 kicks in. The series is scheduled to prevail from 5th-19th May and comprises of one T20 International and five ODIs.
Pakistan has announced their 17-man squad for the series out of which 15 have been selected for the World Cup. Muhammad Amir and Asif Ali haven’t been able to secure spots in the announced World Cup Squad but provided the teams can be changed till 23rd May, Amir has got a chance to prove his worth. The left-armer has taken only 4 wickets in the last 14 matches but is hoped to shine with glory given the conditions of England.
The rest of the squad includes Sarfaraz, Fakhar, Babar, Imam, Abid Ali, Haris Sohail, Shoaib Malik, Hafeez, Imad, Yasir Shah in place of Shadab who has incurred health problems, Hassan Ali, Faheem Ashraf, Junaid Khan, Shaheen Afridi, and Muhammad Husnain.
England, on the other hand, has announced a team which has been praised by many cricketing experts and is called as three of the potentially hot favorite teams for the World Cup 2019 title. They include captain Morgan, Bairstow, Roy, Root, Ben Stokes, Buttler, Moeen Ali, Woakes, Plunkett, Adil Rashid, Wood, Alex Hales, Tom Curran, David Willey, Denly, the young Jofra Archer and Jordan.
It looks a pretty dangerous team with plenty of firepowers in the form of opening batsman Bairstow and Roy in the start and Buttler, Morgan and Moeen Ali in the death overs. The bowling slots are well covered too in terms of both fast and spin departments while the middle order is strengthened by the ever-calm Joe Root and the exciting Ben Stokes.
It is a little more than another away series for Pakistan. The last match will be played eleven days prior to the side’s first World Cup encounter with West Indies and is, therefore, an ideal chance for the team to test their players, provide them with nerve-tingling match experience and a chance to boost the confidence of the team by appearing on the victorious side.
The skipper Sarfaraz Ahmad looks eager to utilize this series for constructing yet another dream path for the team to the international trophy. Pakistan is yet to find a stable combination for the mega event and this series will serve as the perfect foundation for it. It is not a series merely for testing the squad but shaping a genuine and rock solid playing eleven that can threaten the opposition under any circumstances and the biggest threat to these changes is the lack of a proper power hitter in the squad.
After Afridi’s retirement, Asif Ali tried filling his shoes but have not yet established as a match winner. Moreover, he is not included in the World Cup squad so it will be Imad Wasim, Shoaib Malik or Faheem Ashraf as Pakistan’s pick for the power hitting. Pakistan will have to select one among them for the role of quick runs in the last five overs because it would be crucial keeping in mind the trend of the modern game.
Shadab has suddenly encountered a virus which eliminated him out of this series. Yasir Shah replaced him and can prove his selection righteous by performing well on England’s pitches. Hassan Ali and Fakhar Zaman will have the last chance to find their form back before the World Cup campaign but the biggest source of attention will be Amir’s performance. He needs to forget all of his recent forms and jump back in the game like a lion. The fans are heatedly hoping for a deadly display of bowling performance by him so that he makes way to the final World Cup squad.
PTV Sports and Ten Sports will telecast all the matches live in Pakistan. There will be pre and post-match programmes on PTV Sports with experienced ex-cricketers who will analyze the scenarios before and after the match thoroughly. Star Sports 1 live will broadcast the matches in India while Fox Sports in Australia. Pakistan fans of America can view their favorite cricketer in action on Willow TV and those in the UK, on Sky Sports.
Live streaming platforms for laptop users are also facilitated as always. SonyLiv, SuperSport Live and Now TV will give live streams of all the matches without any considerable delay.
While it is the last chance for Pakistan to confirm their Word Cup combination, England will also have a chance to polish their match finishing skills, continue their recent good form in ODI Cricket and take it into the mega event.