Two days before their ODI series against Pakistan was to start, England camp was affected by a covid outbreak. As a result, the England and Wales Cricket Board was forced to name an entirely different squad for the three-match series with Ben Stokes named captain.
The 18-man squad comprised nine uncapped players after seven members from the original squad were found to have been infected with the deadly coronavirus. With Pakistan fielding their full-strength side, it wasn’t hard to ascertain which team was the favourite to win the series.
This was the case on July 6.
Eight days later, England’s C team has outclassed Pakistan for a 3-0 clean sweep. And even a career-best, record-breaking effort from their talisman Babar Azam proved inadequate as despite posting a huge 331/9, the tourists ended up on the losing side with James Vince hitting a maiden ODI century in a thrilling three-wicket triumph.
Naturally, Pakistan fans were aghast and critics had a field day on social media platform. Both ‘Pakistan cricket’ and ‘England C’ began trending on micro-blogging website Twitter.
That is some series win for @englandcricket. Great to see those given the opportunity grasp it with both hands! Thrilled for all of them. Pakistan, on the other hand, will be disappointed (to put it mildly). They squandered a really good opportunity. #ENGvPAK— Ian Bell (@Ian_Bell) July 13, 2021
England C Team chased a record total of 332 at Edgbaston and win by 3 wickets to whitewash Pakistan 3-0.#ENGvPAKMeanwhile Pakistan’s Cricket fan:- pic.twitter.com/fF7tpuCscj— Ankit Hooda (@AnkitHooda98) July 13, 2021
It’s not about their B team vs our A team,It’s about domestic structure, confidence and consistency.Poor bowling, poor fielding ..#Pakistan #PAKvENG #ENGvPAK pic.twitter.com/RgyNNxyAI8— Dawood Umar (@dawoodawan99) July 13, 2021
Pakistan lost the series opener by nine wickets after being bundled for 141. In the second, while chasing 248, they were skittled for 195 with England closing out the series. And they failed to avoid the whitewash as well.
“We couldn’t bowl in the channels consistently at the start and the sloppy fielding didn’t help either," Babar said of Pakistan’s defeat on Tuesday. “England were really good and special credit to James Vince. In international cricket the margins are very small and these kinds of errors cost us the game. We want to come up with a better plan for the T20Is and learn from our mistakes."
They will have to quickly forget the defeat and regroup as a three-match T20I series awaits against the hosts starting July 16 in Nottingham.