Pakistan v England, 1st Twenty20, Dubai February 22, 2012

Tough to call Twenty20s on unpredictable tour


Match facts

Thursday February 23, Dubai
Start time 2000 (1600 GMT)

Big Picture

It would be a mistake to dismiss the three-match Twenty20 series at the end of this unpredictable tour involving Pakistan and England as inconsequential. It is nothing of the sort. Twenty20 might be anathema to some but the size of its audience is undeniable. There is a World Twenty20 in Sri Lanka in September to plan for and these matches will be vital preparation for both sides.

There has been little logic in what we have seen so far in the other two formats. England, ranked as the No. 1 Test side in the world, were trounced 3-0 in the Test series; with little reputation in the 50-over game they responded by returning the favour with a whitewash in the ODIs. Add the fact that T20, if not the lottery many claim, is more unpredictable to call, and only a fool would be confident of the outcome.

England turn to their third captain of the tour with Stuart Broad stepping up for T20. It is testimony to their unity that they can make the transition between captains with no sense of discord. Pakistan will soon be considering a replacement for Misbah-ul-Haq and a young T20 captain would be one way to begin their rebuilding process, but the captaincy triumvirate might be one English export that never takes hold.

Form guide (most recent first)

Pakistan: WWWWL
England: WLWWL

Players to watch ...

Awais Zia, a dashing left-hander, gets an opportunity as Younis Khan and Azhar Ali return home. Zia, 25, from Chakwal in the Punjab, has even been called "the new Boom Boom." No pressure there then.

The player the English media wants to watch is Alastair Cook, whose flowering as an ODI batsman has been followed by his addition to the T20 squad. "Injury cover only," insist England nervously, whether because they are frightened of undermining Broad, have no intention of playing Cook, or are being strangely playful, who can tell?

Team news

Team news is patchy. Broad admitted that England had injuries and then refused to say what injuries they were, encouraging more Cook Fever. Ravi Bopara's bad back may rule him out although he trained on Wednesday. Pakistan will play Awais Zia but the presence of Hammad Azam, overlooked for the ODIs, ahead of Imran Farhat is less certain especially as Misbah has expressed the wish for those who failed in the one-day series to make amends.

Pakistan (possible) 1 Mohammad Hafeez, 2 Hammad Azam, 3 Asad Shafiq, 4 Umar Akmal (wk), 5 Awais Zia, 6 Misbah-ul-Haq (capt), 7 Shahid Afridi, 8 Shoaib Malik, 9 Umar Gul, 10 Saeed Ajmal, 11 Aizaz Cheema

England (possible) 1 Alex Hales, 2 Craig Kieswetter (wk) 3 Kevin Pietersen, 4 Eoin Morgan, 5 Samit Patel 6 Jonny Bairstow, 7 Jos Buttler, 8 Tim Bresnan, 9 Stuart Broad, 10 Graeme Swann, 10 Steven Finn

Pitch and conditions

Pitches in Dubai have offered enough pace to encourage strokeplay so the odds are on a high-scoring match.

Stats and trivia

  • Temperatures in parts of the UAE fell as low as 9C in mountainous areas, 12C on the coast, on Tuesday with storm-force winds, sandstorms and rough seas.

  • Awais Zia is uncapped and the only new face in Pakistan's T20 squad.

  • Broad has missed three of the six Twenty20 matches since he was named captain due to injury.

  • Mushtaq Mohammad, the former Pakistan captain, has called for Pakistan's one-day side to be dismantled.


"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."
Stuart Broad, England's Twenty20 captain, less concerned than the media about the addition of Alastair Cook to the squad.

"Sometime you feel home sickness. It is not that I'm giving an excuse on this matter but it happens when you are not playing at home."
Misbah-ul-Haq, Pakistan's captain, reflecting after the 4-0 defeat in the one-day series upon a home series that is nothing of the sort.

Edited by Andrew McGlashan

David Hopps is the UK editor of ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Deepak on February 23, 2012, 16:10 GMT

    Pakistan, watch out for JOS BUTTLER and JONNY BAIRSTOW.. They are gonna blow you away...

  • Rakesh on February 23, 2012, 15:40 GMT

    Absolutely no pressure on Awais Zia when he is called Boom Boom. he just has to last 6-7 balls and score 10-15. Thats it. It Boom enough.

  • MOHAMMED on February 23, 2012, 15:35 GMT

    England are World Champions n England will win 3-0....

  • adam on February 23, 2012, 15:23 GMT

    @keptalittlelow, Before the ODI series begin I said same about Pakistan and England seemed in no good position to win more then 1 match, but to my surprise it was the other way round, I will not write-off Pakistan at all.

  • hibbatur on February 23, 2012, 14:28 GMT

    England are in top form right now, it will not be less than a miracle if Pakistan won any of the games, unless Afridi and co play out of their skins.

  • R on February 23, 2012, 14:23 GMT

    And so to the football supporters version of test match cricket, T20. Don't get me wrong, I understand the need for T20 even if only for the indirect support and promotion of the game it produces for our beleaguered counties? But at international level who remembers today's result in a few weeks time? As for Hales vs Cook, a 'no-brainer', ODI captain or not. Who is most likely to still be at the crease after 19.5 overs with 75 or 80 runs scored and an asterisk against their name? Surely this has to be the role of one of the openers in T20, whilst the other opener and the engine room to follow, attack with gusto?

  • shahid on February 23, 2012, 14:11 GMT

    @Asadullah Qureshi. I think its about a choice of 15 players and then you pick the best 11 considering the opposition bowling and batting weaknesses and strengths. I think Awais Zia will be better suited to open the innings as in later overs being a left hander playing his first match, wouldnt be easy facing Swann. Just as Abdul Razaq is a excellent hitter of faster balls than spin, its always tour managements job to find those 11 and their batting order which suit on the day. One more thing, People should not pick their team by looking at BPL scorecards only because the competition in BPL is not strong enough due to lack of strength. When I consider Mohammad Sami, its because of his excellent form in Pakistan domestic too.

  • Shuja on February 23, 2012, 14:07 GMT

    My Squads for T 20, ODI and Tests will be:-

    TEST: 1) Taufeeq Umer 2) Yasir Hameed 3) Younis Khan 4) Mohammad Hafeez 5) Azhar Al 6) Misbah ul Haq ( Cpt)7) Zulqarnain Hyder (Wk) 8) Abdul Rehman 9) Umer Gul 10) Saeed Ajmal 11) Sadaf Hussain 12) Asim Kamal 13) Asad Shafiq 14) Junaid Khan 15) Mohammad Talha

    ODI: 1) Ahmed Shehzad 2) Imran Nazir 3) Asad Shafiq 4) Umer Akmal 5) Hammad Azam 6) Shahid Afridi (Cpt) 7) Kamran Akmal (WK) 8) Abdul Razzaq 9) Rana Naveed 10) Saeed Ajmal 11) Umer Gul 12) Abdul Rehman 13) Sadaf Hussain 14) Awais Zia 15) Shahzaib Hussain

    T20: 1) Ahmed Shehzad 2) Imran Nazir 3) Nasir Jamshed 4) Umer Akmal(Wk) 5) Awaiz Zia 6) Hammaz Azam 7) Shahid Afridi(Cpt) 8) Abdul Razzaq 9) Saeed Ajmal 10) Umer Gul 11) Sadaf Hussain 12) Shahzaib Hussain 13) Asad Shafiq 14) Junaid Khan 15) Rana Naveed

  • Dummy4 on February 23, 2012, 13:29 GMT

    @YorkshirePudding: "In the end this format matters the least and really shouldnt be played at international level." This is the format cricket gets most of its money from. If you don't like, don't watch it.

  • chris on February 23, 2012, 13:26 GMT

    it doesn't matter who wins when you shut your eyes and swing..... luck plays to bigger part in 20/20

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