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Sunday November 27, 2022

Pak vs Eng: Pakistan set to start series with new opening pair

Babar and Shan in all the likelihood would open the innings for Pakistan in the first T20I against England

September 19, 2022
Pakistan skipper Babar Azam and opening batter Shan Masood.
Pakistan skipper Babar Azam and opening batter Shan Masood.

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan are all set to start the seven-match T20 International series against England with a new opening pair as Shan Masood is likely to open the innings with captain Babar Azam, giving much-needed break to Mohammad Rizwan.

A well-placed source within the team management has told ‘The News’ that Pakistan are all set to go in the opening match of the series with a new opening partner of Babar at the National Stadium in Karachi. Both Babar and Rizwan had been regularly opening the innings for Pakistan for over a year now and that too with immense success. As Rizwan joined the team a bit late, he is unlikely to be part of the playing XI for the first T20I.

“Babar and Shan in all the likelihood would open the innings for Pakistan in the first T20I against England. Rizwan is unlikely to play the first half of the Karachi leg of the matches. He is expected to return to the team with third or fourth T20I,” the source said.

When asked about the possible inclusion of Haider Ali in the playing XI for the first T20, he said that he could be seen playing as one down. He is in line to play the first T20 as the selectors wanted to test some of the backup players.

“We could see some changes in the team from the one that played the Asia Cup final against Sri Lanka just eight days back. Besides Rizwan, Fakhar Zaman will also be missing the playing XI. In fact, Fakhar has already been ruled out of the series against England and has reached England for rehabilitation. Mohammad Wasim Jr, who missed the Asia Cup with injury, is likely to make a comeback in the playing XI.”

“He is unlikely to play all the seven matches against England as the team think-tank wanted the top World Cup prospects Naseem and Haris Raif should be handled with care. The team management is already worried about Shaheen Shah match fitness ahead of the World Cup where Pakistan are to play their opening match against India at the MCG on October 23.”

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