LEEDS: England are all set to extend their lead in the series to 4-0 when they meet Pakistan in the fourth ODI of five-match series on Thursday, at Headingley Stadium, Leeds.
England have been unbeaten so far in the series. They have shown complete dominance in all the departments against Pakistan.
Pakistan, who have lost nine consecutive ODI series in England since 2001, are rightly on ninth place in ICC ODI rankings.
With this sort of performance, it is widely feared that they might have to play per-qualifying round for World Cup 2019.
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Like every lost series, PCB is busy in face saving. They are finding a escape-goat, who can take the responsibility off from their shoulders. And this time, they have decided to drop the axe on the skipper itself. Yes, news from Pakistan media reveal that Pakistan Cricket Board is mulling to sack skipper Azhar Ali after ODI series.
This can seemingly be a right decision, but, this a shot-term solution. To bring up their cricket to new international standards, Pakistan have to make long term plannings, they have to establish a domestic set u[ which can produce them players of new standards.
However, for now, let’s bring our focus back on today’s game.
As Pakistan have nothing to lose from here now, they might like to try their rest of bench strength. Irfan Ali, who filled injured Mohammad Hafeez’s shoe, might get a game today. Wicket-keeper batsman Mohammad Rizwan may also get his first game since the beginning of the tour. And, Imad Wasim, who was rested for his injured ankle, might also be called back.
Consistently failing Shoaib Malik, Wahab Riaz and Yasir Shah might make way for Rizwan, Irfan and Imad Wasim. However, if team management wants to rest Hasan Ali, or Amir, Umar Gul might get a game or two next.
Pakistan (possible) 1 Sami Aslam, 2 Sharjeel Khan, 3 Azhar Ali (capt), 4 Babar Azam, 5 Sarfraz Ahmed (wk), 6 Shoaib Malik/Mohammad Rizwan 7 Imad Wasim, 8 Hasan Ali/Umar Gul 9 Yasir Shah/Mohammad Nawaz 10, Mohammad Irfan, 11 Mohammad Amir
It would be interesting to see what combination England introduce for the game today. Do they give David Willey a game or two, as he has recovered hand injury, or they go with the winning combination yet again.
England (probable) 1 Alex Hales, 2 Jason Roy, 3 Joe Root, 4 Eoin Morgan (capt), 5 Ben Stokes, 6 Jos Buttler (wk), 7 Moeen Ali, 8 David Willey/Chris Woakes, 9 Adil Rashid, 10 Liam Plunkett, 11 Mark Wood