Saturday, 1 October, 2022

England, Pakistan build for T20 World Cup in long-awaited series

England, Pakistan build for T20 World Cup in long-awaited series

Pakistan and England continue their build-up for next month's T20 World Cup in Australia when they begin a seven-match series in Karachi on Tuesday -- the tourists' first visit since 2005.

The long-awaited return of England comes five months after a trouble-free tour by Australia, their first in 24 years, which helped Pakistan's rehabilitation as a safe place to play cricket.

International cricket has gradually returned to Pakistan following years where they were forced to play home matches in neutral venues after a deadly attack on the Sri Lanka team bus in 2009.

England had been originally scheduled to arrive in October last year but cancelled at short notice after New Zealand pulled out of a tour citing safety concerns.

England's withdrawal infuriated the Pakistan Cricket Board, who called it "disrespectful" as they made strides to show the country was a secure destination.

England, the current 50-over world champions, are also scheduled to play a Test series in Pakistan in December followed by the return of New Zealand.

The tourists are looking to bounce back from recent Twenty20 series defeats to the West Indies (3-2), South Africa and India (both 2-1).

Pakistan are looking to recover after losing the T20 Asia Cup final to Sri Lanka in the UAE last week.

New England skipper Jos Buttler, who took over after the retirement of long-time captain Eoin Morgan this year, is nursing a calf injury that could keep him out of the series. "It's an important series for the build-up towards that World Cup," said Buttler, who felt it was vital to travel with his side despite only having a chance of being fit for the final two matches.

Moeen Ali will lead the side in his absence.

"I think England are one of the best white-ball teams," Pakistan's top order batsman Shan Masood said.