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‘Players must stake T20 World Cup claim’

Babar Azam (left) and Eoin Morgan
England beat Pakistan in their most recent Twenty20 at Cardiff in May 2019
Venue: Emirates Old Trafford Dates: 28 Aug, 30 Aug, 1 Sept
Coverage: Ball-by-ball Test Match Special commentary on BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra, Radio 4 LW, online, tablets, mobiles and BBC Sport app. Live text commentary and in-play clips on the BBC Sport website. Highlights on BBC Two at 23:20 BST

Captain Eoin Morgan wants England’s players to “present their best case for selection” for next year’s T20 World Cup in the series against Pakistan.

Emirates Old Trafford will host the first of three Twenty20s on Friday.

The T20 World Cup, due to start in Australia in October, was moved to India in 2021 because of Covid-19.

“One of the challenges between now and then will be getting our strongest team on the park as often as we can to define roles,” Morgan said.

He told BBC Test Match Special: “We don’t know how long Covid is going to hang around and the scenario around selection with guys moving from bubble to bubble will continue.

“This is another opportunity for guys who would potentially sit outside that 15 to try and present their best case for winter tours and the World Cup next year.”

England’s Test and one-day squads have been in bio-secure bubbles at the Ageas Bowl in Southampton or Old Trafford in Manchester since international cricket returned in July.

Morgan said changes to selection policy might be made if the bubbles continue.

“Yes, we want to play cricket at the highest level as much as we can, but also it’s like being on the road for 12 months a year – you can’t expect guys to do it all the time,” he said.

“It might be an area that we look at more than we do at the moment, maybe taking decisions out of guys’ hands and forcing rest periods to go and see their families – guys with young kids or guys who are just missing home.

“It’s something we have to be flexible about.”

Pakistan captain Babar Azam, whose side were beaten 1-0 by England in the three-Test series that finished on Monday, said: “It’s really difficult to come from red ball to white ball, but T20 specific players have been practising, so the aim is to win the series.”

Can Jordan become England’s T20 leading wicket-taker?

England's Chris Jordan
Chris Jordan has taken 58 wickets at an average of 24.27 and economy rate of 8.66 in 46 Twenty20s

With the T20s starting only four days after the culmination of the Test series, England have named a squad containing no Test players.

They have won five T20 series in a row, their most recent series loss coming against India in July 2018.

Ben Stokes, Joe Root and Jos Buttler are not involved following Test commitments, while opener Jason Roy will miss the series because of a side strain.

Seamer Chris Jordan will have the opportunity to become England’s all-time leading T20 wicket-taker. He has 58 wickets, seven behind Stuart Broad.

Jordan returns after arm surgery in July, while batsman Dawid Malan is fit after a calf problem ruled him out of June’s one-day series against Ireland. The left-hander scored an unbeaten century against New Zealand in his most recent T20 for England last November.

Batting coach Graham Thorpe will oversee the squad in the absence of head coach Chris Silverwood, while former Pakistan all-rounder Azhar Mahmood – part of the TMS commentary team for the Test series – is a bowling consultant.

England squad: Eoin Morgan (capt), Moeen Ali, Jonny Bairstow (wk), Tom Banton, Sam Billings (wk), Tom Curran, Joe Denly, Lewis Gregory, Chris Jordan, Saqib Mahmood, Dawid Malan, Adil Rashid, David Willey. Reserves: Pat Brown, Liam Livingstone, Reece Topley.

What about Pakistan?

Pakistan's Shoaib Malik
Shoaib Malik was a part of the Pakistan side that beat Sri Lanka in the 2009 World T20 final at Lord’s

Pace bowler Mohammad Amir and veteran all-rounder Shoaib Malik, who were part of Pakistan’s 2009 World T20-winning team, return to the 17-man squad.

Shoaib is Pakistan’s leading run-scorer in the format with 2,309, while Amir retired from Test cricket last year to focus on ODIs and T20s.

Former captain and wicketkeeper Sarfaraz Ahmed and all-rounder Mohammad Hafeez have also been recalled, while there could be a white-ball debut for 17-year-old pace bowler Naseem Shah, who impressed in the Test series.

Babar is the world’s number one ranked T20 batsman – he averages 50.72, behind only India’s Virat Kohli – and was the leading scorer in last season’s T20 Blast with 578 runs for Somerset.

Pakistan have lost five of their past six matches outside Pakistan and the United Arab Emirates.

Pakistan squad: Babar Azam (capt), Fakhar Zaman, Haider Ali, Haris Rauf, Iftikhar Ahmed, Imad Wasim, Khusdil Shah, Mohammad Hafeez, Mohammad Hasnain, Mohammad Rizwan (wk), Mohammad Amir, Naseem Shah, Sarfaraz Ahmed (wk), Shadab Khan, Shaheen Afridi, Shoaib Malik, Wahab Riaz.

Live cricket returns to the BBC

The second match of the series on 30 August will be shown live on BBC One at 13:45 BST, and there will be highlights of the first and third T20s on BBC Two.

You can also follow ball-by-ball Test Match Special commentary of all three matches in addition to live text commentary and in-play clips on the BBC Sport website.



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