England v Pakistan ODI LIVE: Mohammad Amir picked in rain-affected opener

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Last chance for Amir.

The countdown for the 2019 World Cup officially begins as England host Pakistan in the first of five ODIs at The Oval on Wednesday.

Pakistan picked left-arm pacer Mohammad Amir, who will be auditioning for a late selection for the World Cup, while England continued to back pace ace Jofra Archer.

However, persistent rain forced the match to be delayed by more than an hour, with the game reduced to 47 overs a side.

Who will prevail in the opening encounter? Catch the live updates below.

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England vs Pakistan ODIs: Jofra Archer, Mohammad Amir and other players to watch out for

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Jofra Archer is set to make his England ODI debut.

Hosts England and Pakistan will look to fine-tune their preparations for the upcoming 2019 ICC World Cup as they get ready to lock horns in a five-match ODI series starting on Wednesday.

With the World Cup in mind, there will be plenty riding on the series for both sides as they seek to make a big statement before the start of the global showpiece.

Ahead of the first ODI at the Oval in London, we take a look at three key players from both sides who will be worth keeping an eye on.

ENGLAND

Jofra Archer

All England eyes during the series will be on Jofra Archer as he gets ready to make his ODI debut. The Barbados-born pacer has been turning heads in franchise T20 leagues around the globe for some time now and has had to wait patiently to qualify for England selection.

His T20 debut against Pakistan just a couple of days ago was a terrific one with the fast-bowler picking up 2-29 in his side’s win. However, the big question now is whether Archer can force his selection to England’s 15-man World Cup squad through his performances in the ODI series.

Watch out for those searing yorkers and cleverly disguised slow deliveries.

Archer will look to make his case for the World Cup.

Archer will look to make his case for the World Cup.

Ben Stokes

After a hugely disappointing Indian Premier League (IPL) campaign with Rajasthan Royals, the star all-rounder will be itching to get back to form in England colours.

His IPL form notwithstanding, Stokes has always raised his game in international cricket and remains a crucial component of the No1 ranked ODI team.

However, England will be worried about carrying a misfiring Stokes just weeks ahead of World Cup and it is pertinent for the all-rounder to explode back into life in the warm-up matches against Pakistan.

Stokes needs to hit the ground running after a poor IPL.

Stokes needs to hit the ground running after a poor IPL.

Chris Woakes

With Jofra Archer knocking on the doors of the World Cup squad, there are plenty of England pacers who will be nervously looking over their shoulders. One of them is all-rounder Woakes who has gone on record to say that a potential Archer World Cup call up would be ‘morally unfair’ on the rest of the squad.

Knee injuries have hampered Woakes for a large part of 2018 and he will be desperate to put it all behind him ahead of a big summer for England which also includes the Ashes series against Australia.

Before he can think about the Ashes and the World Cup, Woakes will need to send a timely reminder of his prowess after being sidelined for large spells.

Woakes will want to put injury troubles behind him.

Woakes will want to put injury troubles behind him.

PAKISTAN

Mohammad Amir

For Amir, the ODI series against England could be a last-chance saloon to salvage his limited-overs Pakistan career. The left-armed pacer has seen a substantial fall from grace since leading Pakistan’s charge to the 2017 ICC Champions Trophy triumph and it was no surprise that he was not named in the preliminary World Cup squad.

The southpaw will hope to draw inspiration from his Champions Trophy final display at the Oval where he blew away India’s top-order to pave the way for a crushing Pakistan win.

With nine wicketless outings in his last 14 ODI appearances, the clock is ticking on Amir to return to form ahead of the World Cup.

Last chance saloon for Amir's World Cup hopes.

Last chance saloon for Amir’s World Cup hopes.

Mohammad Hasnain

While Amir looks to force his way into the final Pakistan World Cup squad, Hasnain will be hoping to cement his place.

The teenager burst into prominence with an excellent debut Pakistan Super League (PSL) campaign for Quetta Gladiators which saw him being fast-tracked to the ODI side.

The young pacer still has only three ODIs under his belt so far but big things are expected from him by coach Mickey Arthur and skipper Sarfraz Ahmed. He has plenty of raw pace in his arsenal and will relish bowling under English conditions.

Hasnain will be wary of an Amir revival.

Hasnain will be wary of an Amir revival.

Asif Ali

Another player with a lot riding on the ODI series is Ali with the big-hitting batsman now finding himself on the fringes of the Pakistan squad.

The 27-year-old has endured a tumultuous time off the pitch recently due to personal reasons and has dropped down the pecking order in Pakistan’s limited-overs selection. Like Amir, Asif too has not been named in the preliminary World Cup squad and as such, has it all to do in the five-match series.

He has the ability to provide quick runs for Pakistan in the death overs as shown by his PSL displays for Islamabad United but he will need to do better on the international stage after registering just one half-century in his previous 11 ODI appearances.

Asif Ali has a chance to seal a World Cup spot.

Asif Ali has a chance to seal a World Cup spot.

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Afghanistan's Mujeeb ur Rahman confident of doing well in World Cup despite poor IPL returns

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Afghanistan mystery spinner Mujeeb ur Rahman.

Despite an underwhelming 2019 Indian Premier League (IPL) campaign, Afghanistan spinner Mujeeb ur Rahman is hoping to take the lessons from his stint into the upcoming 2019 ICC World Cup in England.

The young mystery spinner had an excellent debut IPL campaign with Kings XI Punjab in 2018 where he picked up 14 wickets in 11 outings. However, an injury saw Mujeeb’s 2019 campaign restricted to just five matches in which he managed to pick up just three wickets.

Having played under the captaincy of Ravichandran Ashwin at KXIP, Mujeeb now wants to take the knowledge gained from the India Test stalwart into the World Cup campaign.

“Ashwin is a great bowler,” the youngster said on the sidelines of Afghanistan’s World Cup jersey unveiling on Tuesday.

“His carom ball is tough to pick. In the last two years, I have learnt a lot from him. This year, we had many discussions. I am going to apply some of the learnings in the World Cup,” he added.

Mujeeb had an excellent IPL debut in 2018. Image - IPL/Twitter.

Mujeeb had an excellent IPL debut in 2018. Image – IPL/Twitter.

Apart from his lack of wickets and appearances, Mujeeb’s 2019 IPL campaign was also an expensive one with the spinner going at a rate of more than 10 runs an over. Despite the unflattering numbers, Mujeeb remains unperturbed about his bowling and is confident of doing well on the pitches in England.

“Any bowler can be exposed after a period of time in world cricket but what is important is that I keep bowling right line and length,” he said.

“I don’t think so I will have any issues if I am bowling well. IPL is a great platform for me. I have bowled at some of the batsmen who are going to feature in the World Cup.

“I was totally focused in the last two months. And I have bowled in England. I know how to bowl on those pitches.”

Led by Gulbadin Naib, Afghanistan will open their 2019 World Cup campaign on June 1 when they take on five-time champions Australia at Bristol.

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