Sohail Tanveer believes England should be wary of Pakistan's "unpredictability" but says the batsmen must stand up to support a potent bowling attack in a mouth-watering three-match Test series.

Pakistan return to Test action in the bio-secure bubble at Old Trafford on Wednesday six months after they thrashed Bangladesh in their last contest in the longest format.

England last week sealed a 2-1 series victory over West Indies in the first international series since cricket ground to a halt due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Paceman Tanveer, who has played 119 white-ball matches for Pakistan and is pushing for a recall, knows Joe Root's side are favourites to secure another series win.

But with the exciting Naseem Shah and Shaheen Afridi charging in combined with the likes of seamer Mohammad Abbas and star spinner Yasir Shah, Tanveer says the tourists will be a big threat if the batsmen step up

He told Stats Perform News: "Pakistan has the ability to surprise, we all know that. One day they can be great and the next day not so great, but the unpredictability makes them more dangerous.

"I'm definitely not writing Pakistan off. Yes, England have played good cricket since the first Test against West Indies [which they lost in Southampton], especially in the bowling department they look strong.

"But having said that, Pakistan also has good youngsters and bowling-wise I'm not really worried. But they will need the batsmen to support the bowlers.

"If they can do that I think it will be a good competition. England has the edge because they are at home and have already played three Test matches, but Pakistan also has a chance. It's going to be a very interesting Test match series."

Naseem become the youngest bowler to take a Test hat-trick against the Tigers in February and Tanveer expects the 17-year-old to thrive in English conditions.

He added: "Naseem Shah has shown he's very good with the red ball and I think he will be more threatening with the ball swinging around in England.

"He's got pace and he can swing the ball both ways, he's young and can bowl long spells. Shaheen Afridi is now an established cricketer and his confidence is very high because he's been performing well since the World Cup.

"Naseem and Shaheen are going to be increasingly threatening bowlers in Test cricket."

A versatile cricketer, Shoaib Malik is capable of hitting big shots but is also capable of effectively rotating the strike. His power was on display in 2003 against South Africa when he scored 82 from 41 balls.

He is one of three batsmen in T20I who have scored more than 1,500 runs joining the likes of Umar Akmal, Mohammad Hafeez and Shoaib Malik. In November 2018, he became the leading run-scorer for Pakistan in T20 internationals with more than 2,000 runs.

Domestically, Shoaib Malik captained the now-defunct Sialkot Stallions to eight domestic T20 titles.

He was appointed the captain of the Karachi Kings in the first PSL tournament. In the third season, he joined new PSL franchise Multan Sultans as their captain and scored 224 runs in eight innings with a strike rate of 124.44.

In June 2019, he was selected to play for the Vancouver Knights franchise team in the 2019 Global T20 Canada tournament. In November 2019, he was selected to play for Rajshahi Royals in the 2019-20 Bangladesh Premier League.

 

Career statistics

Full name: Shoaib Malik

Born: February 1, 1982, Sialkot, Punjab (38)

Major teams: Pakistan, Asia XI, Barbados Tridents, Bradman XI, Central Punjab (Pakistan), Chittagong Vikings, Comilla Victorians, Delhi Daredevils, Gloucestershire, Gujranwala, Gujranwala Cricket Association, Guyana Amazon Warriors, Hobart Hurricanes.

Playing role: All-rounder

Batting style: Right-hand bat

 

T20I Career (2005-Present)

Mat        Inns        NO         Runs      HS     Ave        BF           SR         100        50

113        105           31         2321       75     31.36     1869      124.18        0          8 

T20 Career                        

Mat        Inns        NO     Runs      HS       Ave        BF         SR         100        50

386        363          99      9892       95*      37.46     7877     125.58      0          61         

 

Career highlights

  • Most capped T20I player of all time (113 matches)
  • 4th most T20I runs, 2321 at an average of 31.36
  • First male cricketer to play 100 T20Is
  • In 2018 became 4th batsman to score 8,000 runs in T20s.
  • Scored 9892 runs at 37.47

Chris Woakes says competition for places in England's seam attack has subjected their batsmen to some tough practice sessions.

Joe Root's side begin a three-Test series against Pakistan at Old Trafford on Wednesday, having come from behind to defeat West Indies 2-1 last month.

Woakes starred in their series-clinching victory in Manchester, collecting 5-50 as the tourists were rolled for 129 in their second innings.

Stuart Broad joined James Anderson in the 500-wicket club last time out and the presence of two all-time Test greats in the squad is only one of the complications faced by the Warwickshire all-rounder.

Jofra Archer and Mark Wood represent two genuine pace options, given their capacity to consistently hit speeds in excess of 90mph, while Sam Curran provides valuable variety with his left-arm swing bowling.

The upshot is a battery of seamers trying to impress, with England's batsmen bearing the brunt in the nets.

"It makes practice intense," Woakes told a news conference. "I think the batters will speak volumes on that.

"Down at the Ageas Bowl when we were training in prep for the West Indies series, it was extremely high intensity practice and the nets were doing a bit as well, so the batters found it hard work.

"The bowlers are trying to force their way into the team and that is only a good thing.

"I hope that I have done enough to be in that starting XI. But competition is high at the minute, we've still got two of England's greats charging in and taking wickets every time they play, and we've got exciting fast bowlers as well.

"It's not an easy team to just be cemented in. My record in England is brilliant, I'm obviously pleased with that, I want to keep getting better and improving myself and every time I get the opportunity to play for England, whether it is home or away, I'm giving 110 per cent and trying to do my best for the team."

Given such impressive reserves, it feels high time for England to improve their efforts in the opening matches of series – their loss in Southampton to West Indies following similar opening-game reverses against South Africa, New Zealand and Australia over the past 12 months.

"I'd love to be able to put my finger on it, I'm sure the management and the team would as well," Woakes said.

"It's getting to the stage where it isn't just a coincidence. We want to put that right.

"It's a new series, we'll try to make sure we're as well prepared as possible. We know the conditions here at Old Trafford, so there are no excuses."

Woakes was unsure whether Ben Stokes will be fit to bowl this week having been restricted to batting duties due to injury in the final test with West Indies.

England have named an unchanged 14-man squad for the first Test against Pakistan in Manchester.

Joe Root's side wrapped up a series-clinching victory over West Indies at Old Trafford on Tuesday, the hosts rallying impressively after falling behind to prevail 2-1 and lift the Wisden Trophy.

Stuart Broad reached the personal milestone of 500 Test wickets as he claimed 10 in the match, helping England seal a 269-run victory despite losing an entire day's play to rain.

The 11 players who were on duty are joined by Zak Crawley, Sam Curran and Mark Wood ahead of the opener with Pakistan, which will take place at the same venue.

Batsman Crawley dropped out of the XI due to fitness concerns over all-rounder Ben Stokes, who did not bowl in the third Test.

As well as announcing the squad, England also named a quartet of players - James Bracey, Ben Foakes, Jack Leach and Dan Lawrence - as reserves.

The first Test between England and Pakistan begins on August 5, with the teams then moving down to the Rose Bowl in Southampton for the remaining fixtures.

 

England squad: Joe Root (captain), James Anderson, Jofra Archer, Dominic Bess, Stuart Broad, Rory Burns, Jos Buttler, Zak Crawley, Sam Curran, Ollie Pope, Dom Sibley, Ben Stokes, Chris Woakes, Mark Wood.

Reserves: James Bracey, Ben Foakes, Jack Leach, Dan Lawrence.

Umar Akmal has had his initial three-year suspension from representative cricket reduced to 18 months on appeal. 

The Pakistan batsman was handed the ban in April after two alleged breaches of the Pakistan Cricket Board's (PCB) anti-corruption code. 

Having initially not contested the verdict, he filed an official appeal in May, with former Supreme Court judge Justice Faqir Muhammad Khokhar appointed as an independent adjudicator. 

Akmal attended the hearing in Lahore in person as his ban was cut, meaning it will run until August 2021, though the 30-year-old has suggested he will possibly look to have it reduced further. 

"I am thankful to the judge for listening to my lawyers properly," Akmal said after the hearing, as reported by ESPNcricinfo. 

"I will decide about the remaining sentence and try to get it reduced further. For now, I am not satisfied and will consult my lawyers and family how to take this ahead. 

"There are many players before me who made mistakes and just look at what they got and what I got. So all I say right now is thank you very much." 

Akmal has played 121 ODIs and 84 Twenty20 Internationals, also featuring in 16 Tests between 2009 and 2011.

Wahab Riaz has been named in Pakistan's 20-man squad for the upcoming Test series against England.

The tourists have whittled down their 29-man touring party for the three-match campaign, which begins on August 5 at Old Trafford.

Riaz, 35, is in line for a first Test appearance since October 2018 following his decision last year to take an indefinite break from the format.

Azhar Ali will captain the group, with Babar Azam taking the role of his deputy.

The remaining nine players who flew to England last month will stay on, with many likely to feature during the T20I series which follows the Tests.

The squad in full:

Azhar Ali (captain), Babar Azam (vice-captain), Abid Ali, Asad Shafiq, Faheem Ashraf, Fawad Alam, Imam ul Haq, Imran Khan Snr, Kashif Bhatti, Mohammad Abbas, Mohammad Rizwan, Naseem Shah, Sarfaraz Ahmed, Shadab Khan, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Shan Masood, Sohail Khan, Usman Shinwari, Wahab Riaz, Yasir Shah.

The International Cricket Council (ICC) has officially launched the inaugural ICC Men's Cricket World Cup Super League, starting with England's one-day series against Ireland.

Introduced to help bring context to 50-over cricket at the highest level, the Super League will be used as a qualification system for the next ICC World Cup, scheduled for 2023 in India.

There will be 13 teams involved – the 12 full members, as well as the Netherlands – and the top seven in the final table will automatically secure their place at the global tournament, the ICC confirmed in a statement.

All sides will play four series at home and away, with each consisting of three matches.

"The league will bring relevance and context to ODI cricket over the next three years, as qualification for the ICC Men's Cricket World Cup 2023 is at stake," Geoff Allardice, ICC general manager for cricket operations, said.

"The Super League gives cricket fans around the world even more reasons to watch as the drama of league cricket unfolds.

"The decision last week to move the World Cup back to late 2023 gives us more time to schedule any games lost due to COVID-19 and preserve the integrity of the qualification process, meaning it will be decided on the field of play, which is important."

Reigning world champions England will kick things off this week when they start their series against Ireland, the first of three matches between the teams taking place at the Rose Bowl on Thursday.

"We're looking forward to playing cricket again and to the ICC Men's World Cup Super League," England white-ball captain Eoin Morgan said.

"Given the situation, it will be quite different to the last time we played at home, when we lifted the World Cup at Lord's, but it's nice to be starting our journey for the next edition of the tournament. 

"I'm sure cricket fans all over the world will be excited to see white-ball cricket resume and we're looking forward to the challenge."

Azhar Ali sounded a note of cautious optimism over Pakistan's preparations for the Test series in England.

Pakistan face the hosts in a three-match series starting at Old Trafford next month, with captain Azhar's side training in Worcester.

They staged an intra-squad friendly across Sunday and Monday and, after a three-month coronavirus-enforced break, Azhar was pleased by what he saw.

"Both batsmen and bowlers have adapted to the conditions," he told the Pakistan Cricket Board website.

"The wind was troubling the bowlers initially but they overcame it, which was heartening. Definitely, the players are going to need some time to adjust.

"Despite the break, they are in good shape, which is a positive sign for us.

"All the batsmen batted quite well, especially Babar Azam, Asad Shafiq and Abid Ali seemed in total control, Shan Masood adapted well to the conditions and Mohammad Rizwan looked in good shape.

"Mohammad Abbas is our experienced bowler and his presence is of advantage for us as he also keeps guiding the youngsters.

"He is someone who can be a very important member of the attack for us. Naseem Shah bowled very well in the scenario-based match. He will attain more control as he continues to bowl."

Pakistan's initial squad had to be altered after several players tested positive for coronavirus, but no cases of COVID-19 have been found within the touring party.

England will face Pakistan in a three-match Test series throughout August, the ECB has confirmed, with Australia's planned white-ball tour to be rescheduled.

Due to the impact of coronavirus, no international cricket has been played since March, though England will take on West Indies in a three-Test series that starts on Wednesday at the Ageas Bowl and then shifts to Old Trafford.

The Southampton venue will also host three ODIs between England and Ireland and two of the Tests with Pakistan, with the Test series starting at Old Trafford on August 5.

Old Trafford will then act as the venue for three Twenty20 internationals between the sides, starting on August 28. All matches will be played behind closed doors.

 

However, there are as yet no confirmed dates for Australia's white-ball tour, which had initially been planned to start on July 3.

"Confirmation of these matches against Ireland and Pakistan is another important step for our game as we begin to safely stage international cricket again, but also to minimise the impact the Covid-19 pandemic has had, and will continue to have, on cricket at all levels," ECB chief executive Tom Harrison said.

"It has taken significant effort and expertise to allow us to reach a position where cricket is now ready and able to return to the field of play from the elite level to recreational cricket.

"We owe a significant debt of gratitude to the players, staff and administrators of the Cricket West Indies, Cricket Ireland, and the Pakistan Cricket Board for their willingness and co-operation to get international cricket back up and running and allow these matches to be staged.

"It must be reiterated that there is still much work for the ECB and the cricket network to do as we try to plot a path through this pandemic.

"We also continue to explore options to play [the] white-ball series against Australia this summer and hope to have news on the series soon."

Mohammad Hafeez is among six Pakistan players given the all-clear to join the squad touring England after returning a second negative test for coronavirus.

Fakhar Zaman, Mohammad Hasnain, Mohammad Rizwan, Shadab Khan and Wahab Riaz are also set to join the team in Worcestershire, the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) confirmed on Tuesday.

Pakistan are due to play three Tests and three T20Is in England, but preparations for those matches were plunged into doubt after 10 players tested positive for COVID-19.

However, a PCB statement said: "Fakhar Zaman, Mohammad Hasnain, Mohammad Hafeez, Mohammad Rizwan, Shadab Khan and Wahab Riaz have tested negative for Covid-19 for the second time in three days and, as such, are now eligible to join the Pakistan men's national cricket team in Worcestershire.

"The players were retested on Monday, 29 June, following a first negative test on 26 June.

"The PCB will now start making their travel arrangements and the departure details will be shared in due course."

Kashif Bhatti, Haris Rauf, Haider Ali and Imran Khan tested positive for a second time earlier this week.

The rest of Pakistan's travelling party arrived in Manchester on Sunday and underwent testing prior to a 14-day isolation period in Worcestershire.

 

 

 

England's "fragile" top order will be the target of Pakistan in their upcoming Test series, according to captain Azhar Ali.

A 20-man squad travelled to England on Sunday for the tour, which begins with three Tests, with 18 of Pakistan's initial 29-man group having been given the all-clear following the latest coronavirus tests.

Fast bowler Musa Khan and wicketkeeper Rohail Nazir have joined those 18 in making the trip.

Fakhar Zaman, Mohammad Hasnain, Mohammad Hafeez, Mohammad Rizwan, Shadab Khan and Wahab Riaz were among those to test positive for COVID-19 and those who have been infected must return two negative tests before they can travel to England.

Pakistan are set to face an England side who have struggled to replace Alastair Cook since his retirement from international duty in 2018.

Excluding nightwatchman Jack Leach, England have used five different opening pairings and found consistency hard to come by.

The obdurate Rory Burns displayed promise in the Ashes, while Dom Sibley, Zak Crawley and Joe Denly will be in contention to open alongside him when England face West Indies in a three-match series starting on July 8, prior to the Pakistan games.

"Their bowling attack is brilliant in their own conditions and there is no doubt about it," Azhar said prior to Pakistan's departure for England.

"Other than Jofra Archer we have faced all of them - [Stuart] Broad, [James] Anderson, [Chris] Woakes, [Ben] Stokes and even [Mark] Wood was there, but we have still won against them.

"Looking at their batting, their top order has been fragile for some time since Alastair Cook retired.

"They have tried a lot of combinations lately and might be looking a bit more settled, but they haven't been really confident with it. So there is something for us in it to look at."

Fast bowlers Naseem Shah and Shaheen Shah Afridi might be lacking in experience of English conditions, but Azhar has confidence in their ability to overcome a lack of practice on the surfaces they will encounter.

"In terms of number of games, of course England have tons of experience in their bowling," Azhar added. "But we have the skills: they [our bowlers] are young and have a lot to offer. They can give trouble to any team in the world. In a very short time, they have achieved a lot and that is a good sign.

"You can't buy experience immediately, and for that you obviously have to play more, but then we have a very experienced coaching staff with Waqar Younis and Mushtaq Ahmed.

"Their expertise and knowledge can be utilised and they will be helping them. So I believe, when this combo of experience and skill is brought together, that we can produce a great result. I am confident about this."

Pakistan will travel with an initial 20-man playing squad for the tour of England following the results from the latest round of coronavirus tests. 

The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) released a statement to reveal the list of names who will be on the chartered flight to Manchester, as well as an update on the situations of those who had previously tested positive for COVID-19. 

Of the original 29-man squad, 18 received the all-clear following Thursday's checks, as well as 11 members of the support staff. 

They will be joined on the journey by fast bowler Musa Khan and wicketkeeper Rohail Nazir, who have also been tested twice in the past week. Zafar Gohar, meanwhile, will team up with the squad on their arrival in England.The left-arm spinner played a solitary one-dayer for Pakistan in 2015, though he will only be involved in pre-match preparations.

As for those not making the initial trip, they will not be able to travel until returning two successive negative results.  

Six players - Fakhar Zaman, Mohammad Hasnain, Mohammad Hafeez, Mohammad Rizwan, Shadab Khan and Wahab Riaz – have done so once and will be tested again next week with a view to joining their team-mates.

Haider Ali, Haris Rauf, Kashif Bhatti and Imran Khan, along with masseur Malang Ali, all tested positive again, however. The PCB medical team has instructed them to remain in quarantine, with their progress to be monitored. 

"I want to reassure the players and the official left behind that the PCB will provide them the best support and look after them during the quarantine period," PCB chief executive Wasim Khan said in a statement.  

"It needs to be remembered that these players were asymptomatic, which means their chances of regaining complete fitness are higher and brighter than most. As soon as these players test negative twice through the PCB testing process they will be flown to England to join the squad. 

"I am aware Mohammad Hafeez and Wahab Riaz took personal tests outside of our process prior to the second PCB testing. While their results came up negative, as per the PCB testing programme, they are deemed to have one negative test following a positive test.  

"Therefore, once they are retested and receive a second negative result under the PCB testing programme, they will be available to join the squad in England."

Pakistan are scheduled to play three Tests and a trio of Twenty20 fixtures against England.

 

Pakistan squad travelling to England: Azhar Ali (captain), Babar Azam, Abid Ali, Asad Shafiq, Faheem Ashraf, Fawad Alam, Iftikhar Ahmad, Imad Wasim, Imam-ul-Haq, Khushdil Shah, Mohammad Abbas, Musa Khan, Naseem Shah, Rohail Nazir, Sarfaraz Ahmed, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Shan Masood, Sohail Khan, Usman Shinwari, Yasir Shah. 

Pakistan's cricketers will arrive in England as planned on Sunday despite 10 of their players testing positive for coronavirus.

England are set to face Pakistan in three Tests and three T20 internationals across July and August but the tour was thrown into doubt over the past week as the initial 29-man touring party was struck by a raft of COVID-19 cases.

Haider Ali, Haris Rauf, Shadab Khan, Fakhar Zaman, Imran Khan, Kashif Bhatti, Mohammad Hafeez, Mohammad Hasnain, Mohammad Rizwan and Wahab Riaz all tested positive.

The ECB said in a statement that players testing positive will not be allowed to travel with the advanced group, with Hafeez's status unclear after the all-rounder tweeted a picture of a negative test and claimed he had received the all-clear.

Test captain Azhar Ali, white-ball counterpart Babar Azam and the remaining players will use Worcestershire's New Road as their training base during their mandatory 14-day isolation period before transferring to Derbyshire's County Ground.

Bilal Asif, Imran Butt, Musa Khan and Mohammad Nawaz have been named as reserves for the Pakistan squad and could make the trip subject to returning negative coronavirus tests.

England's home season has been delayed by the global pandemic but they will host West Indies at the Ageas Bowl next month in the first of three Tests.

Mohammad Hafeez says he has tested negative for coronavirus after being one of 10 players who the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) revealed to have contracted COVID-19.

On Tuesday the PCB said seven of its team members and a masseur had tested positive, with three others having been found to have the virus on Monday ahead of a scheduled tour to England.

However, on Wednesday Hafeez claimed he did not have coronavirus, tweeting a picture of a test result that showed he was negative.

The all-rounder said he and his family got the all-clear after seeking a second opinion.

England and Pakistan are due to play three Tests and three Twenty20 Internationals from the end of July until September. 

The PCB said the latest players to test positive, aside from Hafeez, were Fakhar Zaman, Imran Khan, Kashif Bhatti, Mohammad Hasnain, Mohammad Rizwan and Wahab Riaz, along with masseur Malang Ali. 

In a statement, the PCB said its medical panel was "already in contact with these players and the masseur, who have been instructed to observe strict quarantine at their homes for their and their families' wellbeing". 

It remains to be seen if Hafeez's latest result will allow him to be free of the same quarantine restrictions.

England's cricket stars have been urged to be careful about heading back to pubs and restaurants - with Ashley Giles warning they could be putting the planned schedule at risk. 

Prime minister Boris Johnson has said England will see a reopening of many drinking, eating and even entertainment establishments from July 4, and there may be a clamour to rekindle social lives. 

But with the coronavirus threat still present, there is no certainty such venues will be safe environments, even with social distancing measures in place. 

England are hosting West Indies and Pakistan in Test action in the coming months, they also play the latter in T20 cricket as well, plus have ODIs against Ireland and potentially limited-overs games against Australia to come. 

Former spin bowler Giles, now director of men's cricket at the England and Wales Cricket Board, said it was important to be aware of the possible perils of mixing socially. 

"We haven't talked about banning them, but what we'd ask them to be is sensible," Giles said. "They have been throughout the whole process. 

"They need to continue that, because if you come back into an environment and you haven't been adhering to the guidelines then you put everyone else and the series at risk." 

England will be living in bio-secure environments for large parts of their summer, but squads for each series could differ, and there may be factors that mean players have to temporarily leave camp. 

The opening matches see England face West Indies in three Tests, with the first played in Southampton before back-to-back fixtures at Old Trafford.  

"It'll be quite strange," Giles said. "We could be in a situation where we have a very secure bubble for the second and third Test matches of the series and the rest of the world is operating at a new normal, with restaurants and pubs open again. 

"Our main responsibility is to get this series on the road and keep everyone safe, especially including the West Indies team who've done so much to come here." 

With 10 Pakistan players having tested positive for coronavirus, it remains to be seen whether they and England can go ahead with their planned series, although both sides are intending to do so at present. 

A backstop option could see England invite Ireland to step into the breach. 

Giles says that is not currently being discussed, adding: "As with this situation throughout, we've had to be agile and adapt very quickly to different situations, all of us." 

When England are locked together in camp, Giles says it will be the responsibility of everyone to guard against missteps, and he is braced for mistakes to be made. 

"I think it would be down to all of us to police it. The players are aware of the seriousness of the situation," he told a news conference. 

"People are going to make mistakes. We all are. We're all going to get it wrong. 

"It will be weird. Anyone who thinks this is going to be a holiday camp is going to be seriously mistaken. 

"There could be an opportunity for some guys to play golf on a course next door. But apart from that there's two sessions of cricket a day; there's going to be a lot of work. 

"But inside, social distancing still, wearing of masks, probably spending a lot of time on your own isn't a lot of fun and I think it's a bit of a culture shock." 

Giles said he was "quietly confident" about Australia visiting later this year, albeit there was "some nervousness" on the part of their Ashes rivals. 

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