England v Pakistan, 1st ODI, Chester-le-Street September 9, 2010

Battered Pakistan search for inspiration

The Preview by Liam Brickhill
44

Match facts

September 10, 2010, Chester-le-Street
Start time 10.15am (9.15am GMT)

Big picture

It's September, but with five one-day internationals still to be played the end of the English summer continues to appear some distance off. This is not the finale that anyone had planned with Pakistan exhibiting the malaise and confusion it was feared they would when the spot-fixing allegations that have rocked cricket's very foundations were first brought to light.

Appearing distracted and mentally unprepared, they were easily swept away by England in the short Twenty20 series in Cardiff and the autumnal end of what has been densely-packed summer is threatening to turn into a one-sided farce. A Pakistan team that includes the likes of Shahid Afridi, Umar Akmal and Shoaib Akhtar can never be totally written off, however, and England will still, surely, be wary of a backlash.

But the scent of scandal hanging over the team will not dissipate any time soon, and though captain Afridi has suggested that just one victory would do wonders for the team's morale it's difficult to see how they could turn things round and regain their focus sufficiently to take this series the full distance.

England probably wouldn't mind a stiffer challenge to prepare them for a winter in Australia and, despite the notable run of their success, they still have questions to be answered and flaws to be ironed out. It is England's batsmen, rather than the bowlers, that appear a touch unsettled, and there will be another shake-up as the squad switches to one-day mode and and Andrew Strauss returns to the helm.

With dwindling crowds also a concern as the summer draws in, interested parties from across the spectrum want nothing more than a competitive and absorbing contest. Whether that will be the case remains to be seen.

Form guide (last five completed matches)

England WLWLL
Pakistan WLLLL

Watch out for...

In the course of the two Twenty20s in Cardiff, Michael Yardy appeared to come of age as an international cricketer. The effectiveness of his bowling in limited-overs cricket has not been in doubt since his recall, but his batting - which he insists is his stronger suit - is also becoming increasingly reliable. He was at the crease with Eoin Morgan when victory was secured in both games, and is well on his way to becoming a genuine international allrounder.

For a player who has not yet been selected for the national side gigantic left-arm seamer Mohammad Irfan has already built up quite a following, aided by the spread of videos of his bowling online on sites such as Youtube. Although his exact height has not yet been verified, he is undoubtedly very tall indeed and the awkward bounce he will generate - allied to the left-arm trajectory - could prove challenging for an England line-up that is not quite firing on all cylinders.

Team news

England's squad has, for obvious reasons, been by far the more settled during Pakistan's visit but Kevin Pietersen's absence, and Steve Davies' introduction, has mixed things up a bit. Andrew Strauss and Jonathan Trott also return to the side for the one-dayers and with Ravi Bopara likely to keep his place it may be Luke Wright who is edged out for the time being.

England (probable) 1 Andrew Strauss (capt), 2 Steve Davies (wk), 3 Jonathan Trott, 4 Paul Collingwood, 5 Eoin Morgan, 6 Ravi Bopara, 7 Tim Bresnan, 8 Michael Yardy, 9 Graeme Swann, 10 Stuart Broad, 11 James Anderson

There is always a measure of uncertainty in picking Pakistan's squad but apart from the introduction of Irfan, who was called up in the midst of a glut of injuries that added to their woes in an already turbulent summer, there probably won't be too many changes. Asad Shafiq is likely to remain a reserve batsman, and while Fawad Alam froze under pressure in the Twenty20s, he showed in Pakistan's warm-up against Somerset that, given time at the crease, he can be an effective limited-overs batsman and will probably be retained. Given his greater experience at the top of the order, Mohammad Hafeez could also be preferred to Shahzaib Hasan.

Pakistan (possible) 1 Mohammad Hafeez, 2 Kamran Akmal (wk), 3 Mohammad Yousuf, 4 Umar Akmal, 5 Shahid Afridi (capt), 6 Fawad Alam, 7 Abdul Razzaq, 8 Umar Gul, 9 Mohammad Irfan, 10 Saeed Ajmal, 11 Shoaib Akhtar.

Pitch and conditions

Expect the bowlers to dominate in helpful conditions in Durham. The last match to be played at Chester-le-Street was a low-scoring CB 40 match in which both spinners and seamers picked up wickets. Overcast conditions could also help the ball to swing but, thankfully, rain is unlikely.

Stats and Trivia

  • The vastly experienced Mohammad Yousuf is Pakistan's second-highest runscorer in ODIs behind Inzamam ul-Haq with 9458 runs. He is also second to another great - Saeed Anwar - in the list of Pakistan's one-day century makers with 15 in 275 games to Anwar's 20.

  • Graeme Swann passed 50 wickets in the summer - across all formats - during the Cardiff Twenty20s and now has 52 international scalps at a combined average of 16.46 this season

Quotes

"Despite whatever allegations have been out there, I still maintain that cricket generally is a very clean sport and that two teams are playing to beat the other 100%. If I can allay fears, I think there is no chance in my mind that these games coming up will not be played in that spirit."
Despite further allegations in the spot-fixing scandal, Andrew Strauss remains confident for cricket's future

"Unless he's dropped, he will play. If I'm told, 'Don't play X, Y, Z,' they won't play. If I'm not told, I'll select the best team. But I've not been told anything. Let's wait."
Pakistan's manager Yawar Seed says fast bowler Wahab Riaz, who will be questioned by Scotland Yard, isn't out of contention for selection.

Liam Brickhill is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • vinodkd99 on September 10, 2010, 8:51 GMT

    Well till the time Pakistan gets quality players as they had in 90s, it would be naive on part of anyone to hope Pakistan winning a series. 4 out of 10 times, they have been shot out for less than 100 against England this summer. Out of the last 9 test matches that Pakistan played, they have a combined 1 century to their credit (Salman Butt in Australia). Their bowling was good previosly, but now then Asif and Aamir back in hut, their bowling seems no different from their batting and fielding units. So, it is too irritating to read comments from Pakistan supporters regarding who all should play a particular game to get Pakistan a victory (Pakistan has tried no less than 30 players in past 18 months in Tests and ODIs combinedly), but to no avail. So, my advice to you would be to leave these Permutations and Combinations of players who cannot bat, cannot field and now (after Asif and Aamir fiasco) cannot bowl. Just pray that they get quality players as was the case in 90s. Vinod

  • aahd81 on September 10, 2010, 7:37 GMT

    GreenCrazy : "What happened to my favourite team???? It is too bad :( . Fans are suffering with losses.. but they get money and give up the game :( . What a disaster is this?"

    -- The flood and the earthquake were natural disasters...brought on by nature. This one is a 'character disaster'. Individual characters failed to control their greed, just like the 'thailay vala' (vegetable seller) does when he gets a chance to cheat. The level of corruption is directly proportional to the opportunity to be corrupt, if you choose to go down that road. And thus character failures lead to a disillusioned fan base, a ruined and tainted career and then eventual forgiveness by the fans because they have such short memories as a nation. Just look at Monsieur 'Das' Percent...he has been given so many 'lives' by the Pakistani nation that he is Monsieur Hundred Percent now...it all reflects in the sport as well, it had to.

  • mustaphai on September 10, 2010, 7:15 GMT

    Please Pakistan win the toss and field first

  • mustaphai on September 10, 2010, 7:05 GMT

    Please someone tell our captain that if he wins the toss Pakistan should field first. Restrict England and then chase. No consideration is given to the ground record Pakistan always wants to bat first. Allah knows why? Salman butt's boys chased two targets to win two test matches this summer but Shahid bhai seems to have no confidence in his batsman. 9 out of 12 times teams batting second have won the match

  • razasyed on September 10, 2010, 6:53 GMT

    i absoutely agree wid neo2k, i think dis is high time now, we must get rid of kamran akmal now, get any one else but not kamran akmal,

  • ARSHADAWAN on September 10, 2010, 6:36 GMT

    Irfan is must watch. Asad Shafiq must replace Fawad Alam and hope for best... Come ON PAKISTAN....You can do it.....

  • on September 10, 2010, 6:24 GMT

    All the best Pakistan

    Still the young pakistanis are best and little controversies can be held.

    Leave back the past and Play like the champs,,

    Welcome Mohammad Irfan to the national team and to Kolkata Knight Riders also.

  • zhrkhan on September 10, 2010, 6:12 GMT

    Fawad Alam,,,,,wow,,,,,,good for nothing,,, but always in the team,,,,,,,and the players like Imran Nazir always out for the same reason OUT OF FORM...... May be Fawad Alam got some good relation with the selectors or hes from the rich family to finance the pakistani board................

  • fadms on September 10, 2010, 5:18 GMT

    @Usman Hayee Awan...please leave Shoaib Akhter alone. He is certainly very handsome so why shouldn't he show off his good looks...Don't be jealous. And moreover he is so talented. yummy yummy yummy!!!!

  • Neo2K on September 10, 2010, 5:16 GMT

    Get Rid of K. Akmal..he has always been suspicious..his form is nowhere just wasting a spot..I saw Asad's profile his fielding position stated as wicketkeeper..so there you go replace Kamran with Asad..as for Hafeez..its another sad story why bringing someone who has always been inconsistant...pure waste..I am sure there are plenty of Umar Akmal's calibre out there..PCB need a good scouting committe...well consider how PCB is going nowadays ..wonder if there will be any committees...

    still Pak Zindabad !

  • vinodkd99 on September 10, 2010, 8:51 GMT

    Well till the time Pakistan gets quality players as they had in 90s, it would be naive on part of anyone to hope Pakistan winning a series. 4 out of 10 times, they have been shot out for less than 100 against England this summer. Out of the last 9 test matches that Pakistan played, they have a combined 1 century to their credit (Salman Butt in Australia). Their bowling was good previosly, but now then Asif and Aamir back in hut, their bowling seems no different from their batting and fielding units. So, it is too irritating to read comments from Pakistan supporters regarding who all should play a particular game to get Pakistan a victory (Pakistan has tried no less than 30 players in past 18 months in Tests and ODIs combinedly), but to no avail. So, my advice to you would be to leave these Permutations and Combinations of players who cannot bat, cannot field and now (after Asif and Aamir fiasco) cannot bowl. Just pray that they get quality players as was the case in 90s. Vinod

  • aahd81 on September 10, 2010, 7:37 GMT

    GreenCrazy : "What happened to my favourite team???? It is too bad :( . Fans are suffering with losses.. but they get money and give up the game :( . What a disaster is this?"

    -- The flood and the earthquake were natural disasters...brought on by nature. This one is a 'character disaster'. Individual characters failed to control their greed, just like the 'thailay vala' (vegetable seller) does when he gets a chance to cheat. The level of corruption is directly proportional to the opportunity to be corrupt, if you choose to go down that road. And thus character failures lead to a disillusioned fan base, a ruined and tainted career and then eventual forgiveness by the fans because they have such short memories as a nation. Just look at Monsieur 'Das' Percent...he has been given so many 'lives' by the Pakistani nation that he is Monsieur Hundred Percent now...it all reflects in the sport as well, it had to.

  • mustaphai on September 10, 2010, 7:15 GMT

    Please Pakistan win the toss and field first

  • mustaphai on September 10, 2010, 7:05 GMT

    Please someone tell our captain that if he wins the toss Pakistan should field first. Restrict England and then chase. No consideration is given to the ground record Pakistan always wants to bat first. Allah knows why? Salman butt's boys chased two targets to win two test matches this summer but Shahid bhai seems to have no confidence in his batsman. 9 out of 12 times teams batting second have won the match

  • razasyed on September 10, 2010, 6:53 GMT

    i absoutely agree wid neo2k, i think dis is high time now, we must get rid of kamran akmal now, get any one else but not kamran akmal,

  • ARSHADAWAN on September 10, 2010, 6:36 GMT

    Irfan is must watch. Asad Shafiq must replace Fawad Alam and hope for best... Come ON PAKISTAN....You can do it.....

  • on September 10, 2010, 6:24 GMT

    All the best Pakistan

    Still the young pakistanis are best and little controversies can be held.

    Leave back the past and Play like the champs,,

    Welcome Mohammad Irfan to the national team and to Kolkata Knight Riders also.

  • zhrkhan on September 10, 2010, 6:12 GMT

    Fawad Alam,,,,,wow,,,,,,good for nothing,,, but always in the team,,,,,,,and the players like Imran Nazir always out for the same reason OUT OF FORM...... May be Fawad Alam got some good relation with the selectors or hes from the rich family to finance the pakistani board................

  • fadms on September 10, 2010, 5:18 GMT

    @Usman Hayee Awan...please leave Shoaib Akhter alone. He is certainly very handsome so why shouldn't he show off his good looks...Don't be jealous. And moreover he is so talented. yummy yummy yummy!!!!

  • Neo2K on September 10, 2010, 5:16 GMT

    Get Rid of K. Akmal..he has always been suspicious..his form is nowhere just wasting a spot..I saw Asad's profile his fielding position stated as wicketkeeper..so there you go replace Kamran with Asad..as for Hafeez..its another sad story why bringing someone who has always been inconsistant...pure waste..I am sure there are plenty of Umar Akmal's calibre out there..PCB need a good scouting committe...well consider how PCB is going nowadays ..wonder if there will be any committees...

    still Pak Zindabad !

  • on September 10, 2010, 4:14 GMT

    Muhammad Irfan will be new sensational for Pakistan and if Muhammad Aamir proved himself as innocent then they will make a good pair i would like to say best of luck to my team in such a situation they are playing is great no body can tolerate that pressure

  • on September 10, 2010, 4:10 GMT

    the head lines speaks for itself "Battered Pakistan search for inspiration" where are they gonna get it from? there has to be outside help....india..no, bangla....no, aus......no, NZ....no, SA....no, ENG....no way.................

  • GreenCrazy on September 10, 2010, 4:08 GMT

    What happened to my favourite team???? It is too bad :( . Fans are suffering with losses.. but they get money and give up the game :( . What a disaster is this?

  • on September 10, 2010, 3:36 GMT

    Selection is a joke as usual! Hafeez was a valid selection based on what he had done as captain for Pakistan A against Pakistan National team. Biggest problem is lack of agression in the opening power play - agressive players such as Imran Nazir are needed. Why the hell is Imran Farhat being selected for Test and not for ODI ? All I can say is, PCB needs an overhaul. Get rid of Ijaz Butt and stop putting the country to shame. Talent is there, Mohammed Amir is/was a perfect example! We need competent, uncorrupt management to fix these issues and restore due respect to a country rich of cricket roots.

  • on September 10, 2010, 2:58 GMT

    i wish pakistan good luck

  • Meety on September 10, 2010, 1:56 GMT

    My side would be 1. Akmal K, 2. Afridi, 3. Akmal U, 4. Alam, 5. Hasan, 6. Yousuf 7.Razzaq + 4 bowlers listed above. I think the batsmen should swing away at the top, hopefully the middle order can keep things balanced. Yousuf should bat in the middle order & do a Hussey, but that depends on him coming out at say 4/150 not 4/30! If Pak can around 240 +, they will be difficult to beat with the bowlers they still have.

  • on September 10, 2010, 1:23 GMT

    what ever d combination of pakistan will be it doesn't matter team is only there just to finish the series and go back home, there is nothing to watch out expect M Irfan lets see can he prove himself like M Amir,I meant in talent wise :). as far as my opinion keep that funny kid Fawad Alam out bring that young boy Azhar Ali.. and one down he proves to more set batsman then fawad. and razzak or afridi should open instead of Akmal.. hafeez is a replacement of salman butt but i dont know why they have picked him afridi or razzak as razzak open for country team too.. and foremost thing to do BRING back the REAL Captian (Y Khan) if you see pakistan team playing like a team then you should bring those who are sincere with a country not those who been alleged in 27 cases & lastly this is my humble request to Shoaib Akhter- IF cricket is a game of MODELING then you are the best person here now. I think he should retire from the ODI and Test just play T20.

    Anyway,Wish u Best of Luck Pak Team!

  • on September 10, 2010, 0:36 GMT

    gook luck irfan, hope you do goodd.

  • Gnocki on September 9, 2010, 23:36 GMT

    How long will it take till Irfan is getting paid?

  • on September 9, 2010, 23:12 GMT

    as long hafeez is there kamran kamal is there they cant win they have to bring young blood someone is trying to bring misbah malik come on man look at em wht have they done in last 2 years

  • ather_aziz on September 9, 2010, 22:53 GMT

    Personally i dont think Mohammad Irfan would be rushed into the playing 11 right away they would be better of playing one more batsman as to lets say opening with kamran and shahzaib and thn hafeez can come one down because he has shown he can stay at the crease in the t20 game he played. other than that the starting 11 looks spot on !

  • on September 9, 2010, 22:19 GMT

    i would say... take Asad Shafiq instead of hafeez.... and rest is okay to me with this squad!

  • fanonfire on September 9, 2010, 21:25 GMT

    hafeez has got good links with someone in the board

  • LeftBrain on September 9, 2010, 21:23 GMT

    Hafeez is still in the team!!! So does Kamran Akmal. With these useless cricketers whose only qualification and talent is they somehow manage to be born in one particular province, I think it is going to be another white-wash by England.

  • Omarrz on September 9, 2010, 20:59 GMT

    This probable list has 8 bowlers. I would say let's scrap one bowler and play an extra batsman, Azhar Ali.

  • on September 9, 2010, 20:27 GMT

    Well Irfan does bring some smiles in the camp which is nice. I hope that he is as good as his height. By the way 7'x1" is pretty dubious as I checked his profile on Cricinfo ,where they say PCB has measured him 6'8", 6'10" and 7 '1" on different occasions...lolzzzzz. Typical init....

    Keeping my fingers crossed and hoping the First one dayer to be a competitive match. I would also like to point out to Mr. zawais here that Abdul Razzak is there in the probables.

  • BoomBoomAdnan on September 9, 2010, 20:11 GMT

    Hafeez is DA man averaging 17 and still getting a spot in the team !!!!!!!!!! i wonder what he does to get into to the team

  • azmat666 on September 9, 2010, 19:52 GMT

    its going to be fun!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • myaqoob on September 9, 2010, 19:00 GMT

    Get rid of Hafiz,shazaib,fawad alam they are just bits and pieces players . Bring younis,misbah,shoiab malik,imran nazir,rana naveed,and moh sami back .think of this side.no bits and pieces players .all of them are world class players just need some form back.

    1)Kamran Akmal 2)Abdul Razack 3)Younis Khan 4)Mohd Yousuf 5)Umer Akmal 6)Shahid Afridi 7)Misbah ul haq 8)shoaib Malik 9)Umer Gul 10)Mohd Irfan 11)ShoiabAkther 12)Saeed Ajmal 13)Imran Nazir 14)Rana Naveed 15)Mohd sami

  • on September 9, 2010, 18:57 GMT

    Zawais....r u blind dude? razzaq is in... I dont need hafiz corporation in team....i woul let Shahzeb or Azhar open with Kamran akmal.... Come on pakistan, wake up...just believe in yourself. beat england by 5/0...this is Eid gift (Inshallah)

  • FAZICRIC on September 9, 2010, 18:45 GMT

    Hi pak let we start fresh game.....this is right time to take revenge on england cric team so be brave and aggressive while playing against them.pak must white wash english team..All the best for irfan ,

  • on September 9, 2010, 18:32 GMT

    My best wishes are with u irfan...

  • maddy20 on September 9, 2010, 18:09 GMT

    Damn Dude! 7 ft 1 inch? Perhaps the tallest player till now. Anyways good luck England. Give them a sound thrashing and send em' home!

  • zawais on September 9, 2010, 18:03 GMT

    Why Is AbduL Razzaq Missing from the list of possible players for the 1st ODI, common guys you need him there in the middle order, and what is hafeez doing there in the line up, we have seen it before that he is not a useful player at all in the shorter format of the game, get rid of him and start winning guys... the people of pakistan are starving for a win...you can do it ...all the best and get razzaq back in the playing 11

  • on September 9, 2010, 17:58 GMT

    if pakistan need some support or they wan't cricket to come back in pakistan they need to win the odi series 5-0 from england!!!

  • on September 9, 2010, 17:37 GMT

    how on earth did this irfan chap not get into pakistans test team, he looks deadly, i would worry that he will bowl alot of wides in ODI cricket, should make for a good game, low scorer i think, england will win the series probably 4-1

  • atthipatti on September 9, 2010, 17:35 GMT

    @ Rehan Nazir.............Congrats!!!!

  • cricdick on September 9, 2010, 17:31 GMT

    frankly we all wish Irfan a good cricketing success, but we cant escape the unruly corruption that has bugged out team since last 5-6 yrs. We even had to endure Bob Woolme case and PCB should act strongly to see that Pakistan stands to its true stature.

  • on September 9, 2010, 17:29 GMT

    Atleast pak gave opportunity to Irfan, I have a strong feeling that this guy will surely do some thing.PCB should let him play entire series against england rather then giving me couple of matches. He should have given chance long time ago but I believe we wont miss amir's absense if irfan destroy's english upper order. yousuf should not play at number 3 because he is the only stable batsmen in the squad. Fawad alam should be one down and then yousuf should come. Good Luck pakistan time to prove some thing on Eid.

  • on September 9, 2010, 17:05 GMT

    hope for the best....................................................

  • landl47 on September 9, 2010, 17:03 GMT

    It will be interesting to see Irfan and whether he can use his height effectively. Apart from that, Pakistan have to find a way to make some runs. It would be nice to see a competitive series.

  • on September 9, 2010, 16:47 GMT

    A REMINDER ALL OF U THAT THE M0HAMMAD IRFAN IS BEL0NGS TO MY TOWN AND IS CL0SE RELATIVE OF MY FRNDS. ,

  • PAKCRICFAN001 on September 9, 2010, 16:45 GMT

    IF I WAS THE PAK CAPTAIN I WOULD HAVE TAKEN THE TEAM AS 1.KAMRAN AKMAL 2.AZHAR ALI 3. FAWAD ALAM 4.M. YUSUF 5. UMER AKMAL 6. SHAHID AFRIDI 7. ABDUL RAZZAQ 8.U. GUL 9.S AJMAL10. M. IRFAN 11.S AKTAR

  • on September 9, 2010, 16:39 GMT

    goodluck irfan.............

  • No featured comments at the moment.

  • on September 9, 2010, 16:39 GMT

    goodluck irfan.............

  • PAKCRICFAN001 on September 9, 2010, 16:45 GMT

    IF I WAS THE PAK CAPTAIN I WOULD HAVE TAKEN THE TEAM AS 1.KAMRAN AKMAL 2.AZHAR ALI 3. FAWAD ALAM 4.M. YUSUF 5. UMER AKMAL 6. SHAHID AFRIDI 7. ABDUL RAZZAQ 8.U. GUL 9.S AJMAL10. M. IRFAN 11.S AKTAR

  • on September 9, 2010, 16:47 GMT

    A REMINDER ALL OF U THAT THE M0HAMMAD IRFAN IS BEL0NGS TO MY TOWN AND IS CL0SE RELATIVE OF MY FRNDS. ,

  • landl47 on September 9, 2010, 17:03 GMT

    It will be interesting to see Irfan and whether he can use his height effectively. Apart from that, Pakistan have to find a way to make some runs. It would be nice to see a competitive series.

  • on September 9, 2010, 17:05 GMT

    hope for the best....................................................

  • on September 9, 2010, 17:29 GMT

    Atleast pak gave opportunity to Irfan, I have a strong feeling that this guy will surely do some thing.PCB should let him play entire series against england rather then giving me couple of matches. He should have given chance long time ago but I believe we wont miss amir's absense if irfan destroy's english upper order. yousuf should not play at number 3 because he is the only stable batsmen in the squad. Fawad alam should be one down and then yousuf should come. Good Luck pakistan time to prove some thing on Eid.

  • cricdick on September 9, 2010, 17:31 GMT

    frankly we all wish Irfan a good cricketing success, but we cant escape the unruly corruption that has bugged out team since last 5-6 yrs. We even had to endure Bob Woolme case and PCB should act strongly to see that Pakistan stands to its true stature.

  • atthipatti on September 9, 2010, 17:35 GMT

    @ Rehan Nazir.............Congrats!!!!

  • on September 9, 2010, 17:37 GMT

    how on earth did this irfan chap not get into pakistans test team, he looks deadly, i would worry that he will bowl alot of wides in ODI cricket, should make for a good game, low scorer i think, england will win the series probably 4-1

  • on September 9, 2010, 17:58 GMT

    if pakistan need some support or they wan't cricket to come back in pakistan they need to win the odi series 5-0 from england!!!