June 7, 2001

England lose Thorpe for ODI against Pakistan

Pakistan have won the toss and chosen to bat in the first match of the NatWest Series at Edgbaston amid cacophonous support for both sides.

Alec Stewart admitted that England started this series as "third favourites" after the two finalists of the last World Cup; Australia and Pakistan. The news that Graham Thorpe has had to pull out of this match injured with a calf problem will do nothing to shorten their odds.

For England Hoggard comes in for the injured Caddick and there is a debut for Paul Collingwood on the ground where he hit his career best score just a few weeks ago. The omens are good for the Durham all-rounder: on his first-class debut he took a wicket with his first ball and then struck 91. England would be grateful for a similar start today.

In the absence of White and Flintoff, Ben Hollioake has a fresh chance to fulfil the promise of his international debut four years ago. Ealham and Mullally also return for the hosts, while Cork is retained in preference to the spinner, Croft.

Pakistan have planning of their own to do for the 2003 World Cup in South Africa. Sami and Shoaib show immense promise, but are still some way from amply replacing the ageing Waqar and Wasim. The only change in their team today from the Old Trafford Test is the return of Shahid Afridi at the top of the order for Faisal Iqbal.

Hail and heavy rainfall in the morning have done nothing to dampen the spirits of a capacity crowd. A strong wind may keep the rain away, but with dew expected later it was probably a good toss for Waqar to win. The pitch is dry though and thought likely to take spin.