New Zealand go into the fourth ODI at Trent Bridge with a 2-1 lead on the strength of their superior bowling attack.
The positives for England are that they have scored 300 plus runs in all three matches and they will have a better chance to repeat that feat with the irrepressive Trent Boult now back home tending to a back injury.
The hosts have added left-arm pace bowler David Willey to the matchday squad to provide variation in the attack and to take some vital early wickets.
The Black Caps will once again be looking for big-hitting duo Kane Williamson and Ross Taylor to build momentum with the bat after their heroics in the third ODI.
The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chairman Shaharyar Khan has stated that the board’s franchise-based T20 League will be staged in the UAE and not Pakistan due to a lack of financial support and a reluctance of top players to travel to Pakistan.
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Pakistan ended their cricketing exile on home soil after hosting Zimbabwe in Lahore last month but, having been without international cricket for six years, more still needs to be done for top sides and their stars to play in Pakistan.
Since the armed attack on the Sri Lankan team in 2009, the PCB have been playing ‘home’ series’ in the UAE.
The safe completion of the Zimbabwe series had raised hopes that international cricket would soon make a regular return to Pakistan but the inaugural edition of the high profile T20 league would have suffered in the sub-continent country had it been played there.
“We’re going ahead with the T20 league project in UAE because of the financial reasons and gains from it as top players of the world will not come to play in Pakistan,” Shaharyar said.
“The experts we’ve engaged for the product has told us that it is important to host it in UAE to attract the best players because that would ultimately increase the hype and quality of the competition from brands point of view. The best players would attract top sponsors and broadcasters.”
Good luck to PCB in launching the T20 tournament in Feb ! About time Pakistan also followed suit with such amazing talent back at home.
— Azhar Mahmood (@AzharMahmood11) June 15, 2015
Shaharyar added that the board were not interested in going ahead with the project in Pakistan with the participation of second and third grade players as it was important for those cricketers to share the same dressing room as the world’s best players and coaches.
The board had planned to host the event in February 2016 but the dates collide with the recently launched Masters Cricket League (MCL) which will also take place in the UAE and will feature the likes of Wasim Akram, Adam Gilchrist, Brian Lara and Jacques Kallis.
MCL organizers have already booked out stadiums and the PCB is now trying to work alongside the legends tournament to find an amicable solution.
The PCB has asked the Emirates Cricket Board (ECB) to move the Masters League dates in favour of their own tournament, but considering the support the MCL has already garnered, its very public promotion and the fact it has booked grounds, the ECB would be unlikely to be able to step in, even if they wanted to.
Australia coach Darren Lehmann admits he faces a “massive headache” when selecting his quick bowlers for the Ashes opener against England next month.
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The Australians this weekend sealed a convincing 2-0 Test series victory over West Indies with three of their frontline pace bowlers each making major contributions during the two matches.
Josh Hazlewood was named Man of the Series after picking up 12 scalps while left-armers Mitchell Starc (10) and Mitchell Johnson (eight) were also among the wickets.
That has left Lehmann with what he admits is a nice dilemma for the Ashes, as Ryan Harris – who was rested for the Caribbean tour – and Peter Siddle are also vying for a fast bowling berth as well.
Australia quick bowlers Hazlewood, Starc, Johnson, Siddle and Harris are causing Darren Lehmann a problem pic.twitter.com/iLB4rzDeT6
— PA Sport (@pasport) June 16, 2015
Lehmann wrote in his column on www.cricket.com.au: “Those guys have given us a massive headache – albeit a good one– and we have a really tough decision to make.
“Two of those five guys are going to be unbelievably unlucky to miss out, but that’s what happens when you’re playing good cricket. You have to make those hard decisions.”
Before the opening Test against England starts in Cardiff on July 8, Australia face Kent and Essex in warm-up matches, and Lehmann says those fixtures will help define his selection for the Ashes.
He added: “The two tour matches leading into the series will play a big part of our thinking. We need to see how the bowlers pull up and how they bowl in the different conditions, on different pitches and with the different ball.”
Australia have a poor recent record in the Ashes in England, winning just two Tests out of 15 in the last decade
However, Lehmann, whose side were 5-0 victors in the last series against England on home soil in 2013/14, is in confident mood ahead of the series: “It’s been two years since our last Ashes tour and there’s a big change in mindset for me personally and the team compared to when were there in 2013.
“The guys are definitely in a better space than they were two years ago. We’re really close as a team and we know what we we’ve got to do on and off the ground to achieve our goals.”