KARACHI: After the 4-1 defeat in the ODI series, Pakistan have another tough assignment as they take on England in the tour’s only T20I at Manchester’s Old Trafford ground tonight.
A win in the last ODI helped the visitors avoid the humiliation of a whitewash as they chased down a target of 303 and Pakistan are hoping to carry over the momentum, playing their first T20I since their humiliating first round exit at the World T20 in March.
Wicketkeeper-batsman Sarfraz Ahmed will make his T20I captaincy bow and he will be looking towards a group of largely untested cricketers to deliver against a rampant England side that was only denied the world crown due to some other-worldly striking by West Indies’ Carlos Brathwaite in Kolkata.
With nine wins to their name in 13 matches against Pakistan, including a five-match unbeaten streak that stretches back to 2012, hosts England take to the field as overwhelming favourites.
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Sarfraz can lead from the front: Tauseef
Selector Tauseef Ahmed is hopeful of a resurgent performance from the team and is banking on Sarfraz to deliver from the front and take the game to the opposition.
“Sarfraz is an experienced captain; he led the Quetta Gladiators well in the Pakistan Super League and knows how to play in the shortest format,” Tauseef told The Express Tribune. “He will be under pressure since international cricket brings that added burden but I have faith in his abilities and think he is the right candidate for the job.”
Tauseef feels the squad is nicely balanced, with several impressive performers of the domestic season making a return to the team. “The players in the squad have all either made an impact or have shown the potential to compete at the highest level,” he said. “We hope that our faith in them will be rewarded.”
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‘Umar Akmal can return in any of the three formats’
Tauseef revealed that the selectors have taken notice of the sterling performances of Umar Akmal, who scored a scintillating century off 43 balls for Lahore Whites against Rawalpindi Rams in the National T20 Cup before following it up with another superb 75-run knock against Karachi Blues.
“We haven’t ruled out anyone and are closely monitoring the performances of players who are knocking on the doors of selection,” said Tauseef. “Umar has played very well and he can surely make a return to the national team for any of the three formats.”
Tauseef also disclosed that the selectors are converging in Multan to closely monitor the performances of the players in the final few days of the domestic tournament before finalising the squad for the three T20I matches against the West Indies set to be played in the United Arab Emirates.
Courtesy : Express Tribune