LEEDS: Pakistan Finalizes Squad Ahead of T20 World Cup with Series Against England

Pakistan, having solidified their combination after extensive experimentation, is set to treat their four-match T20 International series against England as the final tune-up before the T20 World Cup. The series kicks off at Headingley on Wednesday.

Preparations and Adjustments

Since starting their World Cup preparations in April, Pakistan has enhanced their bowling attack by welcoming back veterans Imad Wasim and Mohammad Amir from retirement. However, their batting lineup has seen uncertainties, particularly at the number three and six positions.

In their home series against New Zealand in April, Pakistan debuted Usman Khan and Irfan Khan Niazi. More recently, against Ireland, skipper Babar Azam batted at number three while Azam Khan filled the number six slot. Both players thrived in these positions, helping Pakistan rebound from a loss to win the series against Ireland.

Babar Azam’s Strategy

Speaking at a pre-match press conference, Babar Azam emphasized the importance of the upcoming series for finalizing their World Cup lineup. “We didn’t experiment much in the Ireland series and fielded the same lineup we plan to use in the World Cup,” Babar explained. He affirmed his position at one down and mentioned potential minor adjustments based on conditions.

Pakistan demonstrated a new, aggressive approach against Ireland, successfully chasing targets of 179 and 194 with plenty of overs to spare. This strategy contrasts with their previous, more conservative style of play.

Facing England as a Test

Babar views the series against England, the 2022 champions, as a critical test before the World Cup. “The England series is a golden opportunity for us to gain confidence,” he stated.

Bowling Department and Haris Rauf’s Return

Despite some expensive spells against Ireland, Babar remains confident in his bowlers’ ability to recover and take wickets. The return of pacer Haris Rauf, a T20 death-over specialist, after a nearly three-month injury layoff, is expected to bolster Pakistan’s bowling lineup significantly.

England’s Perspective

England, led by Jos Buttler, is also looking to regain momentum ahead of the World Cup after a disappointing ODI World Cup performance. Buttler emphasized the importance of approaching this new challenge with lessons learned from past experiences.

England will be without Liam Livingstone and Mark Wood for the opening match due to knee issues. Paceman Jofra Archer is set to make his first England appearance in 14 months but will be carefully managed due to his injury history.

With Jos Buttler’s wife expecting their third child, Moeen Ali stands ready to step in as captain if needed.

World Cup Launch

England will begin their T20 World Cup defense on June 4 against Scotland in Barbados. Pakistan will face the US in Dallas on June 6.


Pakistan: Babar Azam (captain), Abrar Ahmed, Azam Khan, Fakhar Zaman, Haris Rauf, Hasan Ali, Iftikhar Ahmed, Imad Wasim, Abbas Afridi, Mohammad Amir, Mohammad Rizwan, Irfan Khan Niazi, Naseem Shah, Saim Ayub, Salman Ali Agha, Shadab Khan, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Usman Khan

England: Jos Buttler (captain), Moeen Ali, Jofra Archer, Jonny Bairstow, Harry Brook, Sam Curran, Ben Duckett, Tom Hartley, Will Jacks, Chris Jordan, Liam Livingstone, Adil Rashid, Phil Salt, Reece Topley, Mark Wood

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