The battle resumes in the desert
Pakistan and England lock horns once again but this time in the shorter format of the game with the first ODI scheduled to begin on the 11th of November.
After an enthralling and competitive test series which kept the supporters on the edge of their seats, it is expected that the ODI series will also be an evenly contested one. Pakistan and England both have some decent bunch of players who would be looking to prove a point in UAE.
The Pakistan perspective
Pakistan squad sees the comeback of the veteran player Younis khan is making yet another comeback into the ODI outfit and this one might well turn out to be his last one. The khan from Mardan needs to prove a point in this series if given the chance because his place in the side is already under a lot of criticism from the sane cricketing circles. Younis has scored just 63 runs in his last five innings and his last ODI match was in the world cup 2015. Chief selector Haroon Rashid said that Younis has brought into the side to provide stability to the middle order which has been found to be fragile off late and the Zimbabwe tour was a prime example of that.
All rounder Anwar Ali is also going to make a comeback after fully recovering from injury and his all round skills will be of great value to the team’s combination. Left arm spinner Zafar Gohar has also made his way into the side because Imad Wasim is left out due to an injury. Irfan along with Wahab, Rahat and the spinner Yasir Shah will look to trap the English batsman with some witty bowling and by utilizing the variation in their bowling attack.
The batting work load from the green shirts will be on the top order and the likes of Captain Azhar Ali, Hafeez and the inform Shoaib Malik. Opener Ahmed Shehzad will also be under some sort of pressure beacause his effectiveness at the top is diminishing with passing time and it is a matter of time before someone else takes his spot in the side if he continues his dry run of from.
The English perspective
England on the other hand will feel that the ODI and T20s will perhaps be their best chance of winning a series in UAE and so they are preparing rigorously to fine tune all areas before the all important series. Eoin Morgan will lead the English side in the desert as he looks to get a series win under his belt after loosing to Australia in the post Ashes ODI series.
Left arm Essex medium fast bowler Reece Topley and other left arm fast medium bowler David Willey are the bowlers who are relatively unknown commodities and could trouble the Pakistan batsmen in the upcoming series.
The Barmy Army would love to see their top order pile on the runs in the series because that is one way of stamping their authority in the series or else the inexperienced middle order could play into the hands of Pakistan and Yasir Shah in particular. James Taylor, Morgan, Moeen and Hales will have a role to play whenever they come out to bat as England will be heavily reliant on them to get them through this series with the optimum results.
England will not have the services of James Anderson and Stuart Broad, who were both brilliant in the test series, as they are preserved for the longer format by the ECB although they still play the shorter format.
Head to Head
Pakistan and England have faced off in 72 matches and England have won 42 matches and Pakistan have bagged 28 of those encounters. In 18 matches played at neutral venues Pakistan have won 5 and the English team has won 11 matches. Last time England toured UAE, they won the ODI series in an emphatic fashion by whitewashing the Pakistan side 4-0.
I believe that the one day series will go down to the wire because both teams are well matched and equal on most basis but considering Pakistan’s adaptability with the conditions and a more settled squad, they should be able to come out trumps by the time this series ends.
Pakistan squad: Azhar Ali (captain), Ahmed Shehzad, Mohammad Hafeez, Younis Khan, Shoaib Malik, Babar Azam, Mohammad Rizwan, Sarfraz Ahmed, Anwar Ali, Aamer Yamin, Yasir Shah, Zafar Gohar, Wahab Riaz, Mohammad Irfan, Rahat Ali, Bilal Asif
England squad: Eoin Morgan (captain), Moeen Ali, Jonny Bairstow, Sam Billings, Jos Buttler, Chris Jordan, Alex Hales, Adil Rashid, Joe Root, Jason Roy, James Taylor, Reece Topley, David Willey, Chris Woakes, Liam Plunkett
First ODI 11th November Abu Dhabi
Second ODI 13th November Abu Dhabi
Third ODI 17th November Sharjah
Fourth ODI 20th November Dubai