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ABANDONED
1st T20I (N), Leeds, May 22, 2024, Pakistan tour of England
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Match abandoned without a ball bowled

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Washout at Headingley denies England, Pakistan valuable World Cup prep

No chance to assess Archer or Rauf ahead of final ICC squad deadline on Saturday

Danyal Rasool
Danyal Rasool
22-May-2024
A bleak scene at Headingley ahead of the first T20I, England vs Pakistan, 1st T20I, Headingley, May 22, 2024

A bleak scene at Headingley as the first T20I against Pakistan was washed out  •  Getty Images

England vs Pakistan - match abandoned
The first T20I between England and Pakistan was called off even before the scheduled start time after heavy, persistent rain drenched Leeds for much of the day. Puddles had begun to form on the ground long before the umpires first came out to inspect conditions, and it did not take them much time to determine there was no point delaying the inevitable.
With the deadline for T20 World Cup squad announcements on Saturday - the day of the second T20I of the series in Birmingham - this was effectively the last chance for both sides to give their players a run-out before finalising their squads. The rain means England are deprived of the only realistic chance to give the returning Jofra Archer a game before the deadline, and though they will be permitted to make injury-related changes after the May 25 deadline - they will ultimately have to make an initial decision on his inclusion without the benefit of watching him play a competitive match.
Speaking to Sky Sports afterwards, Jos Buttler, England's captain, acknowledged it had been a "frustrating" day for the players.
"We've had a really good couple of days' prep and everyone was really excited for the series," he said. "I think just putting the England kit back on and playing cricket in England is amazing. So it's really disappointing today, not to be playing, but three matches still to look forward to."
Looking ahead to the World Cup in the Caribbean and the USA next month, Buttler acknowledged it was a "unique build-up" that had required some flexibility from the players, particularly those such as himself that might otherwise have been involved in the IPL play-offs, where his team Rajasthan Royals beat Royal Challengers Bengaluru in the Eliminator on Wednesday afternoon.
"I think that's why we felt it was good to try and get the players all together for this series," he said. "My personal opinion is there should never be any international cricket that clashes with the IPL. But my first priority at the moment is being England captain and trying to prepare as best we can for a world tournament. I've always said to Keysy [Director of cricket, Rob Key] I would definitely be coming back as England captain. He's made the call on the rest of the players."
Pakistan, meanwhile, remain the only one of the 20 participating sides at the World Cup not to have made their provisional squad for the tournament public. The PCB had specifically pointed to this game when declaring their intention to withhold the squad announcement, saying it would be finalised after the first T20I between the sides, although Hasan Ali was released from the squad earlier in the day to fulfil his county deal with Warwickshire.
Yorkshire's weather, though, doused out Pakistan hopes of getting in one last look at the players before locking in the travelling party to North America.
The sides are scheduled to play three more games before flying out for the World Cup - at Edgbaston on Saturday, Cardiff on Tuesday, and The Oval a week on Thursday.

Danyal Rasool is ESPNcricinfo's Pakistan correspondent. @Danny61000