England v Pakistan ODIs: Mohammad Amir seeks redemption as big guns return

Waseem Ahmed 09:43 07/05/2019
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Mohammad Amir.

England got their home season off to the best possible start by easing to a seven-wicket win over No1 team Pakistan in the one-off T20 in Cardiff.

With all the focus on the World Cup that begins at the end of the month, even the T20 game was seen as part of the build-up to the showpiece event.

It was England who prevailed, chasing 174, with captain Eoin Morgan hitting an unbeaten fifty and getting into some much-needed form heading into World Cup season.

Ahead of the first of five ODIs in London on Wednesday, we take a look at the main talking points.

Another chance for Amir

Left-arm pacer Mohammad Amir didn’t get to feature in the T20 but the ODIs have clearly been earmarked as his audition for an entry in the World Cup squad he has been omitted from.

Amir deservedly lost his spot in the ODI team after failing to pick up wickets for the best part of the year. But given his experience and performances in England, the team management have decided to provide him another opportunity.

His exploits in the 2017 Champions Trophy final against India can’t easily be forgotten. However, it is also true that since that final where he picked up three wickets, Amir has taken only five scalps in 14 ODIs and has gone wicketless in nine.

Archer v Hasnain

archer-hasnain

The one-off T20 saw out-and-out quicks Jofra Archer and Mohammad Hasnain test the limits of the speed gun. While Archer was the most successful pacer on the day with two wickets, Hasnain impressed with some sizzling yorkers.

The ODIs, however, will be the bigger test as sustaining pace across 10 overs and surviving a death overs assault will show which of the two can be burdened with bigger responsibilities next month.

Archer didn’t make it to the original World Cup squad but barring a monumental failure in the ODIs, is seen as a guaranteed late addition.

Big guns return

For England, the real heavy hitters are back in the mix, which can only be bad news for Pakistan. Wicketkeeper Jonny Bairstow, Jos Buttler, all-rounder Ben Stokes along with top-order heavyweight Jason Roy form a deadly batting line-up. And we are not even talking about Joe Root or captain Morgan.

But while England’s batting line-up seems to run right down to the 12th man, the same can’t be said about its pace attack which seems a bit light with only Archer adding some edge. The form of spinners Adil Rashid and Moeen Ali will also be crucial to the team’s plans as the batting line-up can’t be expected to score 400 every match.

Likely XIs

England: Jason Roy, Jonny Bairstow, Joe Root, Eoin Morgan (c), Ben Stokes, Jos Buttler (wk), Moeen Ali, Jofra Archer, Liam Plunkett, Tom Curran, Adil Rashid

Pakistan: Fakhar Zaman, Imam-ul-Haq, Babar Azam, Haris Sohail, Asif Ali, Sarfaraz Ahmed (c and wk), Imad Wasim, Mohammad Amir, Hasan Ali, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Mohammad Hasnain

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