Guwahati: After almost a gap of more than three months the Pakistan Cricket team is all set to resume cricketing action against England on Wednesday.
Pakistan will play three tests and three T20 against the host. While England has already been underway with their cricketing action against West Indies in tests and Ireland in ODIs and will look to continue their winning streak, Pakistan, on the contrary, will look to start their campaign on a high note.
Coming into the series England has the distinct advantage of having already played three Tests against the West Indies as no amount of net practice can replicate the experience of a match as Pakistan starts off their campaign fresh.
Although the Pakistani team has been in England for over a month now no cricket for a long time can be difficult to overcome although the Pakistani team is definitely at par if not better with the English team on paper.
The Pakistan team will have a psychological benefit over England going out for the first test as Pakistan has not lost any series in England since 2010. The key for Pakistan will be to keep up the energy and enthusiasm.
The Pakistani bowling attack led by Shaheen Afridi certainly has the firepower with the likes of Naseem Shah, Mohammad Abbas, and Yaseer Shah.
Mohammad Abbas and Shaheen Afridi are the bowlers to watch out for this tournament as both the pacers can make full use of the conditions to extract swing of the surface as well as through the air doubled up with some real pace.
The perfect combination of English condition. They will fancy their chances against the English top order which has been wobbly ever since the duo of Andrew Strauss and Alaister Cook stopped opening together.
Although openers Dom Sibley and Rory Burns showed promise against the West Indies with 460 runs between them across the three tests, they will need to prove it for the long run and against an attack like Pakistan, it will be a real test as well a great opportunity to shine.
Pakistan, meanwhile, will be concerned regarding their batting lineup with Babar Azam being the obvious star and his faceoff against the English pacers with the likes of Stuart Broad who recently picked up his 500th wicket against West Indies will be an exciting contest to watch.
Apart from Azam, the rest of the Pakistani batting line up seems a bit untested especially for the English conditions with the likes of Shan Masood and Mohammad Rizwan. The plan in the Pakistani camp has to be clear cut, if the batting can get the runs, they certainly have the bowling to rip through any batting order and pick up 20 wickets.
Toss and pitch conditions:
There have been rains in the evening and more rains are expected over the first couple of days into the match. However, the weather is expected to brighten up by the weekend.
With expected rains over the first two days, the captain winning the toss would be tempted to win the toss and bowl first and use up all the moisture available in the air and the dampness of the pitch.
Also, the fact that the West Indies pacers found plenty of swing at Old Trafford will be at the back of the mind of both the captains. As the weather is expected to brighten up by the weekend the batting conditions will also get better as the match progresses. An ideal condition for “Win the toss, field first”
England (possible) 1 Dom Sibley, 2 Rory Burns, 3 Joe Root (capt), 4 Ben Stokes, 5 Ollie Pope, 6 Jos Buttler (wk), 7 Sam Curran/Chris Woakes, 8 Dom Bess, 9 Stuart Broad, 10 Mark Wood/Jofra Archer, 11 James Anderson
The final balance of the side will be determined by Ben Stokes’ ability to bowl, having been managing a quad niggle during the Windies series.
Pakistan (possible): 1 Shan Masood, 2 Abid Ali, 3 Azhar Ali (capt), 4 Babar Azam, 5 Asad Shafiq, 6 Fawad Alam/Shadab Khan, 7 Mohammad Rizwan(wk), 8 Yasir Shah, 9 Shaheen Afridi, 10 Mohammad Abbas, 11 Naseem Shah.