PAKISTAN TOUR OF ENGLAND, 2019
Pakistan are yet to win a game on the tour. © Getty
Eoin Morgan’s ban for the fourth ODI was not quite like the deliberate yellow cards footballers get to wipe their slates clean for more important periods ahead. But it is very much in the same ballpark.
A second minor over-rate offence for the England captain means he will not play at Nottingham, with vice-captain Jos Buttler stepping in for the toss and other matters. But it was widely expected that Morgan would rest for this match to provide opportunities for other batsmen. Over-rate offences in bilateral series do not matter for ICC world tournaments, so it was not as if Bristol’s four hours to bowl 50 overs was a way to remove any thin ice he would be standing on heading into the competition. But this is about as convenient as reprimands come.
Two of the last three ODIs at Trent Bridge have seen record totals scored, with Pakistan on the receiving end of 444/3 back in August 2016, and any batsman rotated out for this fixture will feel hard done by. As it is, Jonny Bairstow, 128 at Bristol, will sit out – Buttler regaining the keeping gloves – and James Vince will get his first bat of the series.
The Hampshire captain has been in form domestically and will almost certainly replace Alex Hales in the World Cup 15 pending any other dramatic development. He is also expected to play in the Royal London Cup final on May 24, meaning he will miss the warm-up match against Australia.
The match will also be Mark Wood’s first of summer. While he has been available for Durham, his county, rain has prevented him from getting out on the field which means his last competitive match was a Twenty20 against West Indies on March 10. Not that he’s worried.
“Looking forward to it,” Wood said during his live broadcast interview. “The Caribbean was the last time I played, two months ago. Every time I’ve tried to get a game in it’s rained so I’m hoping it stays away.”
Though he is expected to be part of the World Cup squad, the man himself is taking no chances, especially now that Jofra Archer, who will play tomorrow, has come in and impressed so quickly. “Jofra is world class and I would fully expect him to be in World Cup squad,” he told the BBC. In the short term, he is looking forward to sharing opening duties with him. Both Archer and Wood have registered the quickest speeds for England this year, with the former hitting 94mph last week at the Oval and the latter threatening 95mph during the 3rd Test against the West Indies in February.
Joe Denly will also get another opportunity to impress, though it seems unlikely he will get a good enough go given Adil Rashid’s presence in the XI for Friday. The Kent allrounder bowled just one over at Bristol and didn’t bat. The suggestion is England will likely shift the 32-year-old out for Archer for the World Cup.
Meanwhile, Pakistan’s own spinning allrounder Imad Wasim has urged his side to continue to put up a good fight. The tourists are two-nil down, but scores of 361 for seven and 358 for nine show the batting is in rude health. Given the nature of the pitches and grounds they have played at, bowling has certainly not been easy for either side.
Nevertheless, there could well be casualties in that department. Faheem Ashraf looks set to lose his spot in the XI and perhaps even worse news is incoming this time next week when official World Cup squads need to be submitted to the ICC.
Whatever lies ahead, Wasim wants his side to evoke the spirits of 2017 not just tomorrow but for the next two months.
“There’s no point coming to the World Cup if you’re not feeling confident,” he said. “I think the Champions Trophy has gone, two years has passed, the positive thing is the way we have batted here. It’s going to be exciting.”
When: Friday, May 17, 2019, 1 PM local
Where: Trent Bridge, Nottingham
What to expect: This is a big scoring ground at the best of times, but tomorrow could be a 500 job. As this ground is being used for the World Cup, the main squares in the middle are being left alone. So, we find ourselves on a pitch away to the right of centre as you look at it from the press box meaning it is 40-something-yard hit to the Smith Cooper stand. The size of the opposite square boundary may help redress the balance and may dictate which end the spinners operate from depending on whether a left or right-handed partnership is in.
Confirmation came early that Bairstow, Plunkett and Woakes will not play. None were present at England’s training session on Thursday. Willey will also rest.
Possible XI: Jason Roy, James Vince, Joe Root, Ben Stokes, Jos Buttler (c/wk), Joe Denly, Moeen Ali, Adil Rashid, Tom Curran, Jofra Archer, Mark Wood
Mohammad Hafeez is likely to feature after proving his fitness over the last fortnight. He could replace Haris Sohail who has managed a 50 and 41 on this tour, holding him in good stead for the World Cup. Young pacer Mohammad Hasnain is the touted replacement for Ashraf.
Possible XI: Imam-ul-Haq, Fakhar Zaman, Babar Azam, Mohammad Hafeez, Asif Ali, Sarfraz Ahmed(c/wk), Imad Wasim, Mohammad Hasnain, Hasan Ali, Shaheen Afridi, Junaid Khan