Pakistan v England, 1st T20, Dubai February 22, 2012

Focus turns to World Twenty20

35

Pakistan could be forgiven for a certain lack of enthusiasm as they approach the final stage of their three-series contest against England in the UAE. Beaten, homesick and recovering from flu, the Pakistan team looked a dispirited bunch by the time England secured a 4-0 clean sweep of the ODI series. Having out-witted and out-performed England in an absorbing Test series, Pakistan looked far less competent in the shorter format. By the end, they looked as if they just wanted to go home.

But this T20 series matters. With Pakistan having won the Test series and England the ODIs, Misbah-ul-Haq has described the T20 leg of the tour as "the decider" between the two countries.

More pertinently, the series provides both sides with an excellent opportunity to develop plans ahead of September's World T20 in Sri Lanka. After these three matches are played, England will have four more T20 internationals ahead of the event - one against West Indies and three against South Africa - while Pakistan are currently scheduled to play three - two against Sri Lanka and one against Australia. It leaves little time to identify the players or the tactics required for success.

"This is very important series for us," Misbah said. "We won the Tests, they won the ODIs and now this T20 series is almost the decider. And, if you consider that this is World Twenty20 year, it is very important for our confidence as a team to perform well and win this series. We need to regain our confidence.

"We want to win desperately, so that's why, at times, when the game is slipping out of your hands, we might look dispirited. But I don't think that we are. I know this team, they are keen to win and they are going to pull things back for us.

"We are really confident. We are putting in some good performances but we just can't finish them and go over the victory line. We need to turn good performance into victories but I am confident this form of the game suits us and we can come back and perform better."

The margin between the sides was not, perhaps, as great as the ODI score line suggests. Had Pakistan held a couple of vital catches, results could have gone the other way. But as it is, their fielding and batting require some work. Questions are also being asked about Misbah's tactics and whether a new captain should be considered for the limited-overs formats.

Pakistan will, on the whole, stick with the same group of players. Awais Zia, an uncapped left-handed batsman, could well come into the side at the top of the order, while Hammad Azam - strangely overlooked in the ODI series - could also come into the reckoning. But Misbah is keen to allow the team the chance to "do our wrongs right".

"We need to make use of every game because there aren't that many leading to the World T20. With that being in the sub-continent, we need to make use of these conditions."
Stuart Broad on the T20 series

Pakistan have won their last four T20s - though two of those games were against Zimbabwe and another against Bangladesh - and had lost seven of their previous eight before that.

England also have much to do if they are to retain the World T20 trophy they won in the Caribbean in 2010. They have won 11 of their last 14 T20s but, under the captaincy of Stuart Broad, have won one and lost one. Since the departure of Paul Collingwood, they are in something of a transition. This is the first time they will have played a three match T20 series against one other nation.

There is much to be decided. Broad confirmed that Alastair Cook was not just with the squad as cover but would be considered for selection on the same basis as everyone else. He is therefore one of four men with a claim to bat at the top of the order. Kevin Pietersen, who bounced back to form with successive centuries in the final two ODIs, is another obvious contender giving enjoyed conspicuous success since his elevation in ODIs, while Craig Kieswetter opened in the World T20 and has done so ever since. Alex Hales came into the T20 side in August and has opened in England's last four matches but is now under some pressure to retain his place.

The presence of Cook will inevitably lead to speculation that he could, in time, captain England in all three formats. But such talk is surely premature and Broad dismissed the suggestion that his own position as captain might be threatened by Cook.

"Not at all," he said. "I've got the Twenty20 job. I've been trusted in that position and I'm thoroughly enjoying it. No reassurances needed to be given. We've worked closely as three captains, as we have done for nearly a year now, and that doesn't change overnight.

"It's great to be back in charge and I'm delighted to be leading the side after the confidence we've gained from a 4-0 victory in the one-day series. We have very similar personnel within the set-up.

"It's an exciting opportunity and it's the first chance we've had to have three games on the bounce, where we can really learn and develop. And, obviously, look to win.

"We need to make use of every game because there aren't that many leading to the World T20. Obviously, with that being in the sub-continent, we need to make use of these conditions here in Dubai.

"We won't have any subcontinent Twenty20 cricket until the warm-up games for the World T20. It makes these games pretty important from a learning perspective. But we're not looking at these games just as warm-ups; we're looking to win this series. That's what we'll be focusing on."

England declared a few injury concerns. Broad enigmatically declined the name the players, though Ravi Bopara, who missed the final ODI with a sore back, batted and bowled in the nets without any obvious discomfort. Training was optional on Wednesday, with most of the side that contested the ODI on Tuesday electing for rest.

Edited by Alex Winter

George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • JG2704 on February 24, 2012, 9:39 GMT

    @Chris Silva on (February 23 2012, 05:59 AM GMT) Thanks for your post. Complete relevance and no bias or bitterness at all

  • JG2704 on February 24, 2012, 9:39 GMT

    @Janaka Kumara on (February 23 2012, 05:18 AM GMT) I agree. Pak won the main series , England won the second most important series and this is a series which could go either way. I feel that this series is (for England) as important as the OD series as it would still be nice to maintain no 1 status in this format but it won't make up for losing the test series

  • JG2704 on February 24, 2012, 9:38 GMT

    @landl47 on (February 23 2012, 04:34 AM GMT) From what I saw today , Broad was relying heavily from Swann's advice. Guessing Broad is there for longer term compared to Swann.

  • Fast_Track_Bully on February 23, 2012, 11:22 GMT

    @Chris Silva. Enough excuses mate. True Chaps will not give lame excuses.

  • Sports4Youth on February 23, 2012, 9:22 GMT

    This is one format where England have been the no.1 and stayed the no.1 for quite sometime now. They are also the current T20 champions. Looking at the type and form of the Pakistani batsmen and form, it looks like this is going to be another one sided affair. I think it will be fair to say the England are firm favoarites with very less likely hood if no likelyhood of an upset. Yes I made myself clear, if Pakistan win it will be an upset. Pak can expect to be white washed in this format as well.

  • on February 23, 2012, 5:59 GMT

    Get ready boys. It does not matter England, Pakistan, Australia or who. Sri Lankan boys have got sorted. Watch the true Lions roar again. They have won the world cup and been the finalist twice only to be denied the win by unfair means on the last two occasions. Made to play in the dark by Rudy Cortesen? and the last time to be manipulated by the Indians. Roll on get the show on.

  • on February 23, 2012, 5:18 GMT

    I am not a big fan of those who say test series is equal to ODI series. Yes, England won the ODI series but the most important and the biggest series, Pakistan won the test series. Any team in the world would take a 3-0 test win over 4-0 ODI win. Therefore, Misbah would and should not say T20 is the decider because two series wont by two teams. One or two catches, or 20-30 runs would change a result of ODI match but you wont see the same in a test match (in usual case). I wish anyway Pakistan to win the series by 3-0 or at least by 2-0. I am a Sri Lankan if you are just wondering.

  • landl47 on February 23, 2012, 4:34 GMT

    Broad has come on a lot as a bowler in the last year. However, I think England has made a mistake in appointing him as T20 captain so soon. Swann has done an excellent job as stand-in captain and I would feel a lot more confident about England's chances, not necessarily in this series but in the T20 World Cup, if Swann were the leader. After the T20 World Cup would have been soon enough for Broad to be apointed captain. Nevertheless, in this format I think England might have too many guns for Pakistan. England's bowlers have been able to control Pakistan both in the test and the ODI series and the batsmen, who cost England the tests, are looking much more confident at this poiint in the tour. Pakistan doesn't seem to know what its best eleven is and the solid defence the batsmen employed in the tests didn't work in the ODIs. England should win- but then, before the tour started I thought England would win the tests and Pakistan the ODIs, so what do I know?

  • class9ryan on February 23, 2012, 3:37 GMT

    England have 2 play their their best 2 defeat them... D key will be performances of Kieswetter and Pietersen at top order, Eoin at finishing and surely Finn to ram through the Pakistan batting line-up.

  • Shandorinho on February 22, 2012, 23:22 GMT

    It's interesting how most people's 'teams' that they pick/predict for matches tend to be very light on bowlers.

  • JG2704 on February 24, 2012, 9:39 GMT

    @Chris Silva on (February 23 2012, 05:59 AM GMT) Thanks for your post. Complete relevance and no bias or bitterness at all

  • JG2704 on February 24, 2012, 9:39 GMT

    @Janaka Kumara on (February 23 2012, 05:18 AM GMT) I agree. Pak won the main series , England won the second most important series and this is a series which could go either way. I feel that this series is (for England) as important as the OD series as it would still be nice to maintain no 1 status in this format but it won't make up for losing the test series

  • JG2704 on February 24, 2012, 9:38 GMT

    @landl47 on (February 23 2012, 04:34 AM GMT) From what I saw today , Broad was relying heavily from Swann's advice. Guessing Broad is there for longer term compared to Swann.

  • Fast_Track_Bully on February 23, 2012, 11:22 GMT

    @Chris Silva. Enough excuses mate. True Chaps will not give lame excuses.

  • Sports4Youth on February 23, 2012, 9:22 GMT

    This is one format where England have been the no.1 and stayed the no.1 for quite sometime now. They are also the current T20 champions. Looking at the type and form of the Pakistani batsmen and form, it looks like this is going to be another one sided affair. I think it will be fair to say the England are firm favoarites with very less likely hood if no likelyhood of an upset. Yes I made myself clear, if Pakistan win it will be an upset. Pak can expect to be white washed in this format as well.

  • on February 23, 2012, 5:59 GMT

    Get ready boys. It does not matter England, Pakistan, Australia or who. Sri Lankan boys have got sorted. Watch the true Lions roar again. They have won the world cup and been the finalist twice only to be denied the win by unfair means on the last two occasions. Made to play in the dark by Rudy Cortesen? and the last time to be manipulated by the Indians. Roll on get the show on.

  • on February 23, 2012, 5:18 GMT

    I am not a big fan of those who say test series is equal to ODI series. Yes, England won the ODI series but the most important and the biggest series, Pakistan won the test series. Any team in the world would take a 3-0 test win over 4-0 ODI win. Therefore, Misbah would and should not say T20 is the decider because two series wont by two teams. One or two catches, or 20-30 runs would change a result of ODI match but you wont see the same in a test match (in usual case). I wish anyway Pakistan to win the series by 3-0 or at least by 2-0. I am a Sri Lankan if you are just wondering.

  • landl47 on February 23, 2012, 4:34 GMT

    Broad has come on a lot as a bowler in the last year. However, I think England has made a mistake in appointing him as T20 captain so soon. Swann has done an excellent job as stand-in captain and I would feel a lot more confident about England's chances, not necessarily in this series but in the T20 World Cup, if Swann were the leader. After the T20 World Cup would have been soon enough for Broad to be apointed captain. Nevertheless, in this format I think England might have too many guns for Pakistan. England's bowlers have been able to control Pakistan both in the test and the ODI series and the batsmen, who cost England the tests, are looking much more confident at this poiint in the tour. Pakistan doesn't seem to know what its best eleven is and the solid defence the batsmen employed in the tests didn't work in the ODIs. England should win- but then, before the tour started I thought England would win the tests and Pakistan the ODIs, so what do I know?

  • class9ryan on February 23, 2012, 3:37 GMT

    England have 2 play their their best 2 defeat them... D key will be performances of Kieswetter and Pietersen at top order, Eoin at finishing and surely Finn to ram through the Pakistan batting line-up.

  • Shandorinho on February 22, 2012, 23:22 GMT

    It's interesting how most people's 'teams' that they pick/predict for matches tend to be very light on bowlers.

  • Joninnorwich on February 22, 2012, 22:55 GMT

    I do hope that England pick Cook for the twenty20 matches. Lets find out if the guy's transition from test match only status has been completed!

  • PanGlupek on February 22, 2012, 22:43 GMT

    Really can't call a winner here: Swann is class, but England will need another spinner (here & in Sri Lanka), Pak's pacemen have form/fitness problems, so maybe no plan b if the spinners don't work. Not much to choose in the batting: Maybe Pak's top order are more suited to T20, but Afridi seems out of nick, so it can easily be 6 out, all out. On the other hand, is there a more destructive number 7 in the world if he gets going?! England bat down to at least number 9 normally. England probably the best fielders in the world, only SA or Aus come close. Will these games make any differences come the World Cup? If both teams play well here, settle on a best XI, they'll both be good bets, without being big favourites...

  • touqeer777 on February 22, 2012, 21:47 GMT

    My team is Hafeez,Zia,Umer,Asad,Malik,Afridi,Misbah,Hammad,Gul,Ajmal,Junaid.No place of Misbah if he is not captain.

  • m3in_h00n_k0un on February 22, 2012, 21:24 GMT

    Playing XI for 1st t20 : Awais Zia, Hafeez, Farhat, U. Akmal (wk), Asad, Misbah, Malik, Afridi, Hammad, Ajmal, Gul .

    5 batsman, 4 allrounders, and 2 bowlers.

    Wouldn't include Farhat or Asad, if there was any other batsman in squad. Wish to see Fawad comming bak in squad for Farhat and Muhammad Sami for Gul.

  • on February 22, 2012, 20:32 GMT

    pak will surely win this 2-1 or 3-0 !! afridi was an pathetic captain !! thnk god misbah bak as captain for t20's !!

  • Khans_word on February 22, 2012, 19:51 GMT

    Well the article has probably hit most of the key points on the nail. In effect, we have two touring teams at a neutral venue. Pakistan's 3 month sojourn in foreign lands has definitely drained away their enthusiasm. Again this is all due to the selectors and the managements poor planning and selection policy. Pakistan's Test, ODI and T20 squad are practically identical. Seems like lazy selection. There are some fantastic youngsters tearing it up on the domestic scene. This is very disheartening for the youth in the long run. In contrast, England has drafted in a many young fresh faces and the results are apparent in there brilliant one day performance. Its too late now to sort out the ineptitude of the PCB. Which is a shame as the opportunity to fine tune the T20 team will be wasted. I hope Misbah uses bravado and picks the available youth straight into the squad. Hamaad Azam and Awais Shah MUST play! Umar Akmal to keep. The team needs to be packed with allrounders. Best of luck!

  • Zahidsaltin on February 22, 2012, 19:35 GMT

    Pakistan needed to call in Razaq, Ahmad Shehad, Nasir Jamshid and Mohammad Sami for T20s. But I think Misbah will go on to do personal favours instead of playing for Pakistan. Malik will again be on.

  • a.syed81 on February 22, 2012, 19:32 GMT

    Misbah: You need to bring in both Awais and Hammad in this T20 side if you've any desire to win. You simply can't win with players like Farhad, Malik, Rahman in T20

  • cisco420 on February 22, 2012, 19:20 GMT

    Pakistan is a different beast when it comes to 20/20 ...England should get ready !!!

  • anuradha_d on February 22, 2012, 19:05 GMT

    T20 format is Eng's best bet for relative success in the subcontinent.....but what they did against pak is neither a measure nor indicator of what they might or might not be able to achieve in SL....that said focus is shifting towards IPL and NOT the T20 w'cup yet :)

  • mansoorJ on February 22, 2012, 18:41 GMT

    The new serries " T-20" is starting tomarrow, its third format of cricket and no one should try to justify all the different format "" same cricket" itz different though and i am sure that both the teams will show their cards in the field. Pakistan lost the ODI serries with 4-o dosnt mean that T-20 will be easy spot for the English team and Pakistan will try their level best to bounce back where as english team has to carry on the way they left in the ODI, so guys it wil be very interesting show staring up tomarrow. ALL in ALL we wish us entertaing show of cricket ......GUYS give all to make us dance...no matter who wins but ...wow wow strokes n wow wow bowling from both side

  • on February 22, 2012, 18:40 GMT

    My Team for First T20 is Hafeez, Awias Zia, Asad, Umar, Misbah, Hammad Azam, Afridi, Gul, Ajmal, Rehman, Junaid

  • on February 22, 2012, 18:40 GMT

    My Team for First T20 is Hafeez, Awias Zia, Asad, Umar, Misbah, Hammad Azam, Afridi, Gul, Ajmal, Rehman, Junaid

  • A_Vacant_Slip on February 22, 2012, 18:40 GMT

    This hit and giggle stuff. No-one really knows how it will go and no one really cares.

  • on February 22, 2012, 18:30 GMT

    M.Hafeez should be the captain of t20 side,misbah should lead one day and test side.For wicket keeping problem,umar akmal should keep in t20,kamran akmal in odi and adnan akmal in test matches.

  • AbdulHanan on February 22, 2012, 18:17 GMT

    Pak should call Abdul Razzaq and Kamran Akaml for t20 as they can snatch the game from oposite size. Razzaq has an excellent record against english.

  • JG2704 on February 22, 2012, 18:06 GMT

    It'll be interesting to see who is in our T20 line up. Something tells me that they'll open with Cook and KP which is perhaps a little harsh on Hales and Kieswetter. Not sure how many changes I'd make to the bowling line up. Possibly Bresnan for Anderson or even go for 3 spinners with Briggs for Anderson? Re batting , it's a bit of a conundrum. I like Kieswetter but opening the inns and I'm not sure he's as effective at 5,6 or 7 - in which case I feel they should either have KP coming in at 3 or maybe have Bairstow or Buttler keeping wicket. I do hope KP doesn't try to become too responsible in this format - I'd like to see him coming down the pitch alot more and playing those extravagent switch hits again. I don't see this as a decider. Pak won the main series , Eng won the OD series and this one could go either way - as can just about any T20 game.

  • Sports4Youth on February 22, 2012, 18:02 GMT

    Yes, the world XI versus the Pakistanis is again likely to be a one sided affair.

  • smjr on February 22, 2012, 17:19 GMT

    I did not agree with Misbah that T-20 is going to decide which side is better as Pak won test and Eng ODI series. T-20 put no pressure on the batsman, whatever be the result it is just another bi-lateral T-20 series. Only tournament win in either ODI or T-20 format is important, while Test match is the supreme form of cricket. The Pak fans were surely disturbed to see 4-0 white wash in ODI but that's the way thing goes. Remember England lost all 5 ODI's against Australia after winning Ashes test series 3-1 and subsequently performed poorly in World cup in India last year. England whitewashed India 4-0 in test series last year but then lost ODI series in india later in the same year 5-0. India won ODI World cup in 2010 but got two whitewashes in test against Eng and Aust. This clearly shows that a team is more inclined or have a hunger to win in one format than the other which seems to be true for at least Eng and Pak teams as far as winning of test match series is concerne

  • on February 22, 2012, 16:39 GMT

    I was wondering about who this guy Zia is and apparently he is good, Made his first-class debut in 2007,but very recently at the end of 2011 in the SAARC T20 cup he scored 353 runs - with two hundreds, off 44 and 52 balls respectively at an average of more than 70 for Pakistan? He was the Man of the Tournament. I don't know how he will handle the international pressure and world class seamers that England have but i guess he seems like a much better option than Imran Farhat or Taufeeq Omar as an opener.

  • on February 22, 2012, 16:25 GMT

    pakistan should go with this line up in T20 Matches

    01.Mohd Hafeez 02.Owais Zia 03.Asad Shafiq 04.Umar Akmal (wkt keeper) 05.Misbah ul Haq (captain) 06.Shahid Afridi 07.Hammad Azam 08.Shoaib Malik 09.Umar Gul 10.Wahab Riaz 11.Saeed Ajmal

  • on February 22, 2012, 16:25 GMT

    GREAT ARTICLE! Correct, this series will decide. As promulgated by Misbah "THE DECIDER" ! Just hoping for another whitewash by Pakistan, C'mon Pakistan show them how talented and spirited you ARE!

  • on February 22, 2012, 16:23 GMT

    I hope Pakistan gives chance to Awais Zia and Hammad Azam and play with some fast bowlers rather than playing with plenty of spinners. I like the idea of playing with at least 3 fast bowlers because that gives you more choices to choose from. Pakistan can play Hammad as a third seamer

  • on February 22, 2012, 16:20 GMT

    well if pakistan loose the t20's as well, its clear the zaka ashraf want to change the coach.!!!

  • on February 22, 2012, 16:17 GMT

    Wahab Riaz has an excellent T20 record in his County Sting Last year, so he is a must selection,while the likes of aizaz cheema and umar gul look bruised and battered. Even Junaid Khan got smacked to all parts by KP.

    Hammad Azam, Awais Zia and Wahab Riaz are a must inclusion for tomorrow's Match.

  • No featured comments at the moment.

  • on February 22, 2012, 16:17 GMT

    Wahab Riaz has an excellent T20 record in his County Sting Last year, so he is a must selection,while the likes of aizaz cheema and umar gul look bruised and battered. Even Junaid Khan got smacked to all parts by KP.

    Hammad Azam, Awais Zia and Wahab Riaz are a must inclusion for tomorrow's Match.

  • on February 22, 2012, 16:20 GMT

    well if pakistan loose the t20's as well, its clear the zaka ashraf want to change the coach.!!!

  • on February 22, 2012, 16:23 GMT

    I hope Pakistan gives chance to Awais Zia and Hammad Azam and play with some fast bowlers rather than playing with plenty of spinners. I like the idea of playing with at least 3 fast bowlers because that gives you more choices to choose from. Pakistan can play Hammad as a third seamer

  • on February 22, 2012, 16:25 GMT

    GREAT ARTICLE! Correct, this series will decide. As promulgated by Misbah "THE DECIDER" ! Just hoping for another whitewash by Pakistan, C'mon Pakistan show them how talented and spirited you ARE!

  • on February 22, 2012, 16:25 GMT

    pakistan should go with this line up in T20 Matches

    01.Mohd Hafeez 02.Owais Zia 03.Asad Shafiq 04.Umar Akmal (wkt keeper) 05.Misbah ul Haq (captain) 06.Shahid Afridi 07.Hammad Azam 08.Shoaib Malik 09.Umar Gul 10.Wahab Riaz 11.Saeed Ajmal

  • on February 22, 2012, 16:39 GMT

    I was wondering about who this guy Zia is and apparently he is good, Made his first-class debut in 2007,but very recently at the end of 2011 in the SAARC T20 cup he scored 353 runs - with two hundreds, off 44 and 52 balls respectively at an average of more than 70 for Pakistan? He was the Man of the Tournament. I don't know how he will handle the international pressure and world class seamers that England have but i guess he seems like a much better option than Imran Farhat or Taufeeq Omar as an opener.

  • smjr on February 22, 2012, 17:19 GMT

    I did not agree with Misbah that T-20 is going to decide which side is better as Pak won test and Eng ODI series. T-20 put no pressure on the batsman, whatever be the result it is just another bi-lateral T-20 series. Only tournament win in either ODI or T-20 format is important, while Test match is the supreme form of cricket. The Pak fans were surely disturbed to see 4-0 white wash in ODI but that's the way thing goes. Remember England lost all 5 ODI's against Australia after winning Ashes test series 3-1 and subsequently performed poorly in World cup in India last year. England whitewashed India 4-0 in test series last year but then lost ODI series in india later in the same year 5-0. India won ODI World cup in 2010 but got two whitewashes in test against Eng and Aust. This clearly shows that a team is more inclined or have a hunger to win in one format than the other which seems to be true for at least Eng and Pak teams as far as winning of test match series is concerne

  • Sports4Youth on February 22, 2012, 18:02 GMT

    Yes, the world XI versus the Pakistanis is again likely to be a one sided affair.

  • JG2704 on February 22, 2012, 18:06 GMT

    It'll be interesting to see who is in our T20 line up. Something tells me that they'll open with Cook and KP which is perhaps a little harsh on Hales and Kieswetter. Not sure how many changes I'd make to the bowling line up. Possibly Bresnan for Anderson or even go for 3 spinners with Briggs for Anderson? Re batting , it's a bit of a conundrum. I like Kieswetter but opening the inns and I'm not sure he's as effective at 5,6 or 7 - in which case I feel they should either have KP coming in at 3 or maybe have Bairstow or Buttler keeping wicket. I do hope KP doesn't try to become too responsible in this format - I'd like to see him coming down the pitch alot more and playing those extravagent switch hits again. I don't see this as a decider. Pak won the main series , Eng won the OD series and this one could go either way - as can just about any T20 game.

  • AbdulHanan on February 22, 2012, 18:17 GMT

    Pak should call Abdul Razzaq and Kamran Akaml for t20 as they can snatch the game from oposite size. Razzaq has an excellent record against english.