England vs Pakistan 2020 | Can Pakistan Take That One Extra Step This Time Around?

West Indies showed hints of a fight but couldn't go on to make it a series win. Can Pakistan go one step ahead and win a series in England?

England vs Pakistan 2020 | Can Pakistan Take That One Extra Step This Time Around?

West Indies showed hints of a fight but couldn't go on to make it a series win. Can Pakistan go one step ahead and win a series in England?

That will be the question on everyone's mind as England and Pakistan get set to face each other in the three-Test series. The series, which will be held behind closed doors in a bio-secure environment, will begin with the first Test on 5 August at the Old Trafford in Manchester, followed by two games at Ageas Bowl, Southampton (13-17 August and 21-25 August).

Going by how the West Indies-England series went, some already believe Pakistan have a greater chance than West Indies owing to their pace attack. England won the series 2-1 but there were occasions, especially in the first Test, where their batting seemed fragile. Pakistan would believe they have the attack to test the English line up.

The reason for the optimism would come from the promising pace attack comprising Mohammad Abbas, Shaheen Afridi and Naseem Shah, apart from Usman Shinwari, Sohail Khan, Faheem Ashraf and the 32-year old uncapped Imran Khan Jr. Wahab Riaz, the veteran pacer who had taken a break from red-ball cricket, is a part of the 20-member probables too. Pakistan are set to have a problem of plenty in the pace department, and selecting three for the XI could be a tricky call.

Also Read: Had Thoughts of Retirement in my Head - Stuart Broad on Being Ignored for First Test Versus West Indies

The spin department will be led by ace legspinner Yasir Shah and also has uncapped left-arm spinner Kashif Bhatti.

While West Indies too had a potent bowling unit, Pakistan will feel they've got an all-round one with options for multiple conditions, be it swing, seam or pace. Yasir will be a huge factor too, given he is a wrist spinner.

On the batting front, Pakistan will bank on the experience of Azhar Ali and Asad Shafiq, even as all eyes remain on Babar Azam. Hailed as the one to join the league of big cricketers, Babar has been in scintillating form in the last season, impressing in the World Cup in England and also the Tests in Australia. If he can conquer red-ball cricket in England too, he'd take a big step towards joining the big league while also helping Pakistan.

England, though, bank on momentum. They lost the first Test against West Indies before bouncing back in style, winning two in two in Manchester. Given the first Test against Pakistan is at the Old Trafford in Manchester, they'd believe they can make it a hat-trick.

It's evident England don't want to tinker too much from the fact that they've retained the squad for the first Test. Stuart Broad, who went past 500 Test wickets in the third Test, will be the go-to bowler. Ironically, he wasn't a starter for the first Test of the series against West Indies.

Also Read: England’s Domination, Pakistan’s Successive Wins & Recent Battles – A Summary Of Eng Vs Pak In Test Cricket

Most of England's batsmen got runs in the series against West Indies, with Ben Stokes leading the way. Stokes was the highest run-scorer with 363 runs from 5 innings while Rory Burns and Dom Sibley, the openers, were the next in the list. Ollie Pope and Joe Root too made some runs while Jos Buttler had one half-century, which should relieve some pressure off him.

Stokes, who didn't bowl in the last Test due to a niggle, is expected to get back to bowling too. Add an in-form Chris Woakes to the bowling unit along with Jofra Archer's pace and James Anderson's swing.

England and Pakistan have had interesting battles over the last decade in Tests. The last two times the two teams played in England, the series has been shared (2-2 in 2016 and 1-1 in 2018).

Pakistan will hope to take that one extra step this time around.

England squad:

Joe Root (Yorkshire) Captain, James Anderson (Lancashire), Jofra Archer (Sussex), Dominic Bess (Somerset), Stuart Broad (Nottinghamshire), Rory Burns (Surrey), Jos Buttler (Lancashire), Zak Crawley (Kent), Sam Curran (Surrey), Ollie Pope (Surrey), Dom Sibley (Warwickshire), Ben Stokes (Durham), Chris Woakes (Warwickshire), Mark Wood (Durham).

Reserves:

James Bracey (Gloucestershire), Ben Foakes (Surrey), Jack Leach (Somerset), Dan Lawrence (Essex).

Pakistan squad:

Squad: Azhar Ali (captain), Babar Azam, Abid Ali, Asad Shafiq, Faheem Ashraf, Fawad Alam, Imam-ul-Haq, Imran Khan Sr, Kashif Bhatti, Mohammad Abbas, Mohammad Rizwan, Naseem Shah, Sarfaraz Ahmed, Shadab Khan, Shaheen Afridi, Shan Masood, Sohail Khan, Usman Shinwari, Wahab Riaz, Yasir Shah



Team Rankings

RankTeamPointsRating
1 Australia 3028 116
2 New Zealand 2406 115
3 India 3085 114
4 England 3882 105
5 Sri Lanka 2454 91
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RankTeamPointsRating
1 England 5405 123
2 India 5819 119
3 New Zealand 3716 116
4 Australia 3941 109
5 South Africa 3345 108
FULL Ranking
RankTeamPointsRating
1 Australia 6047 275
2 England 5959 271
3 India 9319 266
4 Pakistan 6009 261
5 South Africa 4380 258
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