Preview by Vithushan Ehantharajah
If you’ve not been to Nottingham before, you’re in for a treat.
It’s big enough to have a lot going on and just about small enough to get about on foot. The nightlife’s pretty eclectic, with some good social joints and a number of restaurants ranging from top-shelf Indian to live-saving chips in the early hours of the morning. If you’re in the market for a quieter time, the monuments, historical sights can keep you occupied. Ask the right people and you can find a good indoor shisha spot too.
Of course, Pakistan know all this. They’ve spent so much time in Nottingham they’re on first name terms with the Sheriff himself. If you need any tips, just ask them. If you want a good feed, they’ll suggest you go to Shabab Nan Kabab. If you’re looking to win a game of cricket, though, they’ll probably recommend you try elsewhere.
They have played three ODIs here since 2010, which is as many they’ve had in Lahore within that same time period. It’s certainly not home away from home, mind. They lost all of those games and the most debilitating was the manner in which they were turned over on Friday. At another time, being blasted out by a West Indies attack would be something of a shared experience and little to worry about. But with all due respect to Sheldon Cottrell, Jason Holder, Oshane Thomas and Andre Russell, this was somewhat out of the blue.
Rather than the batsmen licking their wounds, they went back into the nets and the order to the bowlers was to inflict more on them. On Sunday, Sarfraz Ahmed led from the front, facing a hostile spell from Wahab Riaz as batting coach Grant Flower watched on with great interest. This is not the first time batsmen under his watch have been exposed with short-pitched bowling, nor will it be the last. The fault was highlighted during a tour of South Africa at the start of the year and it is a credit to West Indies for exploiting it.
It was on this ground a month ago that Mark Wood struck Imam-ul-Haq on the point of his left elbow, and the former is set to be in contention to reacquaint himself with the bespectacled left-hander. Eoin Morgan did not watch the West Indies game, but he damn sure knows what happened.
Within the Pakistan camp there is a frustration these issues have not been ironed out already. But there are two things to remember. One is that Pakistan are not the only side which struggles against bouncers. And you know who else do? That’s right – England. Oh, and you know who have some damn fine quick bowlers? Yep – Pakistan.
The hosts, fresh from their victory on Thursday against South Africa and a golf day that followed are full of confidence and well-rested. Sunday was very much a light session with the onus on players to get what they want from it, which is just as well as the covers came on as the rain fell almost immediately after Pakistan’s morning training session had concluded. Jos Buttler was the only visible presence on the outfield as he went through some drills with wicketkeeping coach Bruce French. The 28-year old has been untidy behind the stumps so far this summer.
Otherwise, beyond a few laps for the outfield by Buttler and Jonny Bairstow, a chat between Adil Rashid and spin bowling coach Saqlain Mushtaq and the sight of Wood strolling around the covers no doubt looking forward to what Monday will bring, most of the squad spent the afternoon indoors. There’ll be no raining on their parade.
When: June 3, 2019, 09:30 AM GMT / 10:30 AM LOCAL
Where: Trent Bridge, Nottingham
What to expect: The match will be played on the same pitch England scored 481 for six against Australia last year and, against Pakistan in 2016, amassed 444 for three. Trent Bridge is the haunted house for bowlers and, just as in all horror films, they can’t help but go back.
But you never know, there may be an exorcism of sorts on the cards. Because on both those occasions, the start time was 2 PM, the sun shining, surface the shade of milky tea (English milky tea – so reaaaaally milky) and the flayed were two attacks who, with all due respect, were not up to the task. Remember, it was an Australian attack without Mitchell Starc, Pat Cummins and Josh Hazlewood.
Another element to consider is that pitch preparation is now under the jurisdiction of the ICC. Whatever slant the ECB put on previous Trent Bridge decks to favour run-scoring are unlike to be in play here. Take, for example, the greener surface used for New Zealand versus Sri Lanka on Saturday. And while they use a pitch as close to the middle of the square as possible for broadcast purposes there is only so much they can do about the dimensions of the ground. It’ll still be great value behind square on both sides and the outfield will remain electric.
Nevertheless, that 10:30am and the early movement we’ve seen so far because of it will not be a good one to lose.
England: England will be reuniting Jofra Archer and Mark Wood, who last played together here against Pakistan on May 17. That would mean Liam Plunkett sitting out – himself, a decent proponent of the short stuff. Otherwise, it’s as you were.
Probable XI: Jason Roy, Jonny Bairstow, Joe Root, Eoin Morgan, Ben Stokes, Jos Buttler, Moeen Ali, Chris Woakes, Mark Wood, Jofra Archer, Adil Rashid
Pakistan: Generally after team’s batting falls apart, a bowler pays. Mohammad Amir is probably safe and, though expensive, Wahab Riaz’s influence at certain times – he bowled at Chris Gayle for his maiden – is worthy of another go. They did look short of a new ball bowler which brings Shaheen Afridi and Mohammad Hasnain into consideration. Might they be tempted to play four quicks? Imad Wasim’s position may be under threat if they decide to do so.
Probable XI: Imam-ul-Haq, Fakhar Zaman, Babar Azam, Haris Sohail, Sarfaraz Ahmed, Mohammad Hafeez, Imad Wasim/Shaheen Afridi/Mohammad Hasnain, Shadab Khan, Hasan Ali, Wahab Riaz, Mohammad Amir
What they said
“There is a chance. We saw the wicket the other went through with more pace and exposed Pakistan, more so with the short ball. I did feel they were unlucky with some short balls, it wasn’t just a tale of bouncers. You have to bowl extremely well. If you ball short and it’s off, it gets met in this day and age. We’ll still have to on our game in order to try to win. There will be no major tactical changes, but more being sure you’re good at what you’re doing. If you are going to use the short ball, make sure it’s in the right area. A good length is still a good length.” – Eoin Morgan on picking Mark Wood to inflict more short-pitched pain on Pakistan
“I totally believe in this team -totally. If you see these guys, they were part of Champions Trophy, as well, so they have experience. They’ve played in England, so they have enough experience and motivation to go and win the game for Pakistan. This is World Cup. It won’t be easy for us. It will be a roller coaster, not for us, for all the teams. It’s a big tournament, so as long as we learn from our mistakes and we move on, it’s better for us.” – Bowling coach Azhar Mahmood
England (From): Jason Roy, Jonny Bairstow, Joe Root, Eoin Morgan(c), Ben Stokes, Jos Buttler(w), Moeen Ali, Chris Woakes, Liam Plunkett, Jofra Archer, Adil Rashid, Mark Wood, Tom Curran, James Vince, Liam Dawson
Pakistan (From): Imam-ul-Haq, Fakhar Zaman, Babar Azam, Haris Sohail, Sarfaraz Ahmed(w/c), Mohammad Hafeez, Imad Wasim, Shadab Khan, Hasan Ali, Wahab Riaz, Mohammad Amir, Shoaib Malik, Shaheen Afridi, Asif Ali, Mohammad Hasnain