Pakistan have failed to win any of their last 10 ODI series in England, with their sole victory coming in 1974.
With fans allowed in the stadiums, England is poised to welcome Pakistan for three One-Day Internationals beginning on July 8th. When it comes to One-Day Internationals in England, though, Pakistan is yet to win a series against England since 1974, having lost nine and drawn one. The Pakistani squad appears to be confident heading into this tour, focusing on continuing their momentum following three straight ODI series victories. As a result, the question that emerges is: Is this Pakistan’s greatest chance to win on English territory since 1974?
After the recently ended Pakistan Super League, Pakistan’s lineup appears to be fairly balanced, with captain Babar Azam and wicket-keeper Muhammad Rizwan in strong form. In addition, Shaheen Shah Afridi, who took 16 wickets in five matches at the ICC World Cup in England in 2019, will lead the team’s pace attack. Three uncapped players will also get the opportunity to display their abilities in the tour as Saud Shakeel, Abdullah Shafique, Salman Ali Agha are also a part of the team. However, all eyes will be on Sohaib Maqsood, who was named as a last-minute replacement for Haider Ali. He showed excellent form in the PSL 2nd leg, assisting his team Multan Sultans to a title win and consequently returning to the national side after 5 years.
Still, despite the addition of some fresh faces to the team, Pakistan will be concerned about their inconsistency in the middle order. Players such as Danish Aziz, Iftikhar Ahmed, and Asif Ali have all failed to live up to expectations in the recent series. As a result, the Pakistani middle order will be looking to show consistency this time around and provide a foundation for players like Faheem Ashraf and Hasan Ali to end the innings on a strong note.
England, on the other hand, will be without the trio of Ben Stokes, Jos Buttler, and Jofra Archer, who were key players in England’s World Cup victory. However, the English team, led by captain Eoin Morgan, has performed admirably in the series against Sri Lanka, with Chris Woakes and David Willey leading the side to victory in the opening one-day match with the duo picking up seven wickets between them. The Sri Lankans failed to put up much of a fight after that, and Pakistan will be hopeful of a better showing.
Looking at the batting, England have Joe Root, Jonny Bairstow, and Jason Roy in the team, and the three appear to be in strong shape. Furthermore, the spin duo of Adil Rashid and Moeen Ali will pose a danger to Pakistan’s batting lineup. With Sam Curran and Chris Woakes coming down the order to strengthen England’s power-hitting, the Pakistani team would have to be concerned about how deep the English batting lineup is and how they tend to up the run rate towards the end of the innings.
Overall, the Sophia Gardens will be the place to be on July 8th, when the two sides face off in the first ODI. The Pakistani squad will be looking to start their tour with a win, while the Englishmen will be looking to maintain their dominance over the green shirts on home soil.
The opinions expressed solely belong to the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views of Grassroots Cricket.