Pakistan's long English summer kicks-off on May 5 with the only T20I against England that will be followed by a 5-match bilateral ODI series. Though this match belongs to a different format, it would still be seen, in many ways, as a preparatory contest for the upcoming ICC 2019 World Cup.
Where and when to watch on TV, online
The standalone T20I featuring hosts England taking on Pakistan would begin at 2:30 pm local time and 7 pm IST.
The live coverage of the match would be provided by Sony Six and Sony Six HD on TV while Sony LIV would be the platform for online streaming.
Since the focus of both the countries is on the upcoming World Cup, this match would also be used to assess the abilities of various players from the perspective of that event. Even if it belongs to a different format, there is enough similarity between ODIs and T20 cricket to allow for a proper examination of a player's suitability in one by looking at his performance in the other.
For England, this match is likely to feature the T20I debut of Jofra Archer. There is a legion of English supporters who want this Barbados-born player to be part of the English World Cup team. His ODI debut against England didn't necessarily provide a clinching argument but did feature a perfect yorker through which he got his maiden international wicket.
If he delivers a good performance here and is capable of producing the kind of accurate bowling that has made him a superstar, then his chances of being in the eventual England World Cup team, despite not being named in the provisional squad would increase. Of course, even then, he would have to prove himself in the ODI series against Pakistan.
Another man trying to find his way into the World Cup is Mohammad Amir. His poor form in ODI cricket meant that the selectors ignored him for the mega event. But by keeping him in the squad for both the T20I and ODIs, they have given him another opportunity. Will he make use of it?
England: Eoin Morgan (C), James Vince, Jason Roy, Joe Root, Joe Denly, Ben Duckett, Dawid Malan, Ben Foakes (wk), Adil Rashid, Liam Plunkett, Tom Curran, Jofra Archer, Chris Jordan, David Willey, Mark Wood
Pakistan: Sarfaraz Ahmad (C/wk), Fakhar Zaman, Imam-ul-Haq, Babar Azam, Shoaib Malik, Imad Wasim, Mohammad Hafeez, Yasir Shah, Shaheen Afridi, Junaid Khan, Mohammad Amir, Hasan Ali, Mohammad Hasnain, Haris Sohail, Faheem Ashraf, Asif Ali, Abid Ali
For visitors, this match would be a good opportunity to test their hard-hitting abilities. One of the problems plaguing the team has been the lack of power hitters in the lower order. If conditions are good, they can test if they have the tools to go on an all-out attack.
It would also be a comeback of sorts for Sarfraz Ahmed. Having been rested for Pakistan's last ODI series – against Australia where they got whitewashed by the Kangaroos – he had to watch his replacement Mohammed Rizwan score two hundreds. Most people expected Rizwan to be in the World Cup team but selectors preferred the experience of Sarfraz. Needless to say, there is going to be a lot of pressure on him.
If clouds come around, as is often the case in England, then the match would provide a great opportunity for both teams to test their line-ups in testing conditions. While Pakistan's batting line-up, obviously, hasn't had too much exposure to overcast conditions, England too, have seemed vulnerable when the conditions are providing some help.
James Vince is likely to open for England with Jason Roy. With Alex Hales out of the team and Sam Billings also injured, there will be an opening in the final World Cup squad that England choose. Vince has a golden opportunity to seal that spot. He will, though, have a stern test as the Pakistan bowlers may exploit his weakness to go for loose drives outside the off-stump.
Another key man to watch out for would be Yasir Shah. With Shadab Khan injured, he is the lone frontline spinner in the squad and is yet to come up with a ground-breaking performance in limited-overs cricket. Against a power-packed England line-up in a T20 scenario, he would have a good test.
England: James Vince, Jason Roy, Joe Root, Eoin Morgan (C), Ben Duckett, Ben Foakes (wk), Adil Rashid, Tom Curran, Mark Wood, Jofra Archer
Pakistan: Fakhar Zaman, Imam-ul-Haq, Babar Azam, Mohammad Hafeez, Shoaib Malik, Imad Wasim, Sarfaraz Ahmad, Hasan Ali, Yasir Khan, Shaheen Afridi, Mohammad Amir
Global TV Listings:
- India: Sony Six
- Pakistan: Ten Sports/PTV Sports
- UK: Sky Cricket
- USA: Willow TV
- Canada: Asian Television Network
- South Africa: SuperSport
- Bangladesh: Gazi TV
- Australia: Fox Sports