Who is Sami Aslam?

Sami Aslam hits down the ground Getty Images

There is no doubt the position of Shan Masood at the top of Pakistan's order is under severe scrutiny after his continued problems against James Anderson. That means 20-year-old Sami Aslam could be recalled for the Edgbaston Test, so here is a bit of background to the young batsman.

Is it certain that Aslam will play?
Misbah-ul-Haq was being coy in his press conference, saying he wanted to keep England guessing, but that his players knew what the team would be. However, the suggestion has been that Pakistan do not want to offer up Masood to Anderson again. If they do make the change, it is like-for-like in that Aslam is a left-handed opener.

He's only 20. What's his career been like so far?
He has played two previous Tests, against Bangladesh last year, but made just 47 runs in three innings. In 30 first-class matches he has scored more hundreds (six) than he has half-centuries (four) which suggests he has the hunger to convert into big scores (three of his centuries are over 150) although his first-class average is a modest 35.47 at the moment. He was prolific at Under-19 level and is currently the second-highest run-scorer in U-19 ODI history with 1695 runs. He was captain of the Pakistan U-19 side when they toured England in 2013 and made two centuries in a tri-series, including 110 in the final against England, before catching the eye with another hundred in victory over India at the 2013-14 U-19 Asia Cup. In January of this year, he played for Pakistan A against England Lions, who were captained by James Vince.

What is his current form?
That's hard to say, because he has barely played of late. He made 17 against a friendly Worcestershire attack at New Road a few days ago but his last first-class innings was in December. Misbah, though, said any player had to be ready to be called on during a tour. "I think anyone who is here in the Pakistan squad is capable. We expect everybody to deliver."

Why would he come into the side?
Masood has been a walking wicket for Anderson, who has removed him in every innings they have faced each other. In 57 balls, Anderson has conceded just 15 runs to Masood and claimed him six times. While it will be a tough ask for Aslam, there is probably a thought that the innings will not be any worse off for giving him a chance. Pakistan's opening stands in this series have been 32, 2, 27, and 7 - their last 50-plus opening stand against England in England was in 1996 when Aamir Sohail and Saeed Anwar added 106 at The Oval.

Could Pakistan have taken another route?
The last time Pakistan dropped Masood, in Sharjah during England's visit to the UAE last year, his replacement was Azhar Ali who had missed the first two Tests of that series due to injury. He and Mohammad Hafeez put on a stand of 101 in the second innings. They could promote Azhar up one spot, but he actually has fewer runs than Masood so far in this series (39 in four innings) so he, too, is low on confidence. Moving Azhar up would also force other changes, perhaps Asad Shafiq to No. 3 with another batsman in the middle order, so the straight swap of Aslam for Masood would be less disruptive.