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Other SportsEngland v Pakistan: first T20I - Preview, squads, how to watch

England v Pakistan: first T20I – Preview, squads, how to watch

The State of Play

England welcome Pakistan to Headingley for the start of a four-match T20 series on Wednesday night as the countdown to the defence of their World Cup title begins.

The series is England’s only preparation before flying out on May 31 ahead of the World Cup in the Caribbean and USA.

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England have recalled eight of their 15-man squad early from IPL duty, which has raised some eyebrows in India, as they step-up preparations for their tournament opener on June 4 in Barbados against Scotland.

Bridgetown-born Jofra Archer is hoping to use this series to prove his fitness after a 14-month absence due to a chronic elbow problem.

The 29-year-old made a wicket-taking comeback for Sussex 2nds last week and is expected to play in at least two of the four matches against Pakistan, the side England beat to land the 2022 title in Melbourne.

Teammate Sam Curran, player of the tournament in the World Cup success, said Archer ‘has obviously got that extra pace and fear factor,’ and added: “Hopefully his injuries are behind him now.”

Skipper Jos Buttler is on standby as he is expecting the birth of his third child soon while white ball head coach Matthew Mott missed Monday’s training session for personal reasons.

Pakistan, led by Babar Azam, go into the series off the back of securing a 2-1 win over Ireland in a three-match T20I series, last week.

The series continues to Edgbaston on Saturday, Sophia Gardens in Cardiff on Tuesday, May 28, and finishes at The Oval on Thursday, May 30.

 

Line-ups from:

England: Jos Buttler (C), Moeen Ali, Jofra Archer, Jonny Bairstow, Harry Brook, Sam Curran, Ben Duckett, Tom Hartley, Will Jacks, Chris Jordan, Liam Livingstone, Adil Rashid, Phil Salt (WK), Reece Topley, and Mark Wood.

Pakistan: Babar Azam (C), Mohammad Rizwan (WK), Saim Ayub, Fakhar Zaman, Irfan Khan Niazi, Iftikhar Ahmad, Usman Khan (WK), Azam Khan (WK), Shadab Khan, Imad Wasim, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Mohammad Amir, Naseem Shah, Haris Rauf, Abbas Afridi, Abrar Ahmed, Hasan Ali, and Salman Ali Agha.

 

How to watch

Sky have the rights to show the England v Pakistan T20I series to UK viewers and will broadcast every game live. Wednesday’s match will be shown on Sky Sports Cricket and Main Event from 6pm BST.

In India, the games can be streamed on the Sony LIV app and website. They are also available across the Sony Sports Network.

 

Prediction

Unfortunately the weather forecast in Leeds on Wednesday evening gives little cause for optimism.

That might mean England don’t risk Archer on a potentially slippery outfield, even if some play is possible.

England are the defending World Cup winners, beat Pakistan 2-1 on their last visit to these shores in 2021 and, along with India and Australia, are expected to compete for glory again in the Caribbean and US.

Given the wealth of talent at their disposal, even if they are missing the likes of Jos Buttler for a game or two, England will be firm favourites to complete a series win and potentially a whitewash.

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