Euro 2020 Special

Pakistan vs England Test Series Preview

Just weeks after meeting in the final of the T20 World Cup, Pakistan and England are set to lock horns again, this time in the test arena. The English have arrived in Pakistan to play a three match test series.

That gets underway with the first test that will take place in Rawalpindi, starting on December 2nd. The subsequent two tests will be staged in Multan and Karachi.

Pakistan still have hopes of qualifying for the World Test Championship Final to be staged at The Oval next June. England, for their part, are continuing their rebuilding under the duo of coach Brendon McCullum and captain Ben Stokes.


England back after long absence

Although England played a seven match T20I series in Pakistan ahead of the World Cup, this is the first time they will play test cricket there since 2005.

The attack on the Sri Lanka team bus by a group of suspected Muslim terrorists in 2009, cast Pakistan in the role of international pariah for the best part of a decade. Teams refused to tour the country and Pakistan were forced to play their home matches in the UAE.

As the security situation has improved, teams have slowly begun to return, although there have been setbacks along the way. The attempted assassination attempt on former Prime Minister – and international cricketer, Imran Khan, last month, prompted fears that this tour might be called off.

However, having taken advice from their own security consultant, England have judged that it is safe to proceed.


Intense security

When England did tour in September, no chances were taken with their security arrangements, nothing was left to chance, and they can expect the same thing again.

That means that the team hotel will be ringed by police and security personnel, many of them armed, whilst they will travel everywhere in special bulletproof buses. In addition when they leave the hotel for training or to play games, roads to and from the ground will be closed, adjoining businesses forced to shut their doors, whilst the entire route will be covered by rooftop snipers.


England’s promise

This will be England’s first overseas test engagements since the duo of McCullum and Stokes took charge of the team, but they have promised that they will not change their mindset, and intend to continue the attacking style of cricket that has become known as “Bazball.”

And that means also they are prepared to accept the odd loss along the way. McCullum, though, has admitted, that there may be times on this tour where they may have to be canny and choose their moment when they go on the attack.

Stokes, who has already promised to donate his match fee from the entire series to the recent victims of the Pakistan floods, has previously spoken of their intention to “rewrite how Test cricket is played.

Whether they can translate that approach to the different conditions and pitches of the Indian sub-continent remains one of the fascinating aspects of this series.


Team news

Pakistan have suffered a blow with the loss of pace bowler Shaheen Afridi. He has not recovered from the knee injury that he suffered during the World Cup final.

England too, are missing one of their major strike bowlers in Stuart Broad, who has not travelled to Pakistan this time because his partner has just had a baby. They are also set to be without fast bowler Mark Wood for the first test at least – he is still recovering from the hip injury that caused him to miss the World Cup final.

One player who is likely to feature for them however, is Liam Livingstone. The T20 specialist has not played red ball cricket since August 2021, but he is potentially an explosive lower order batter and offers an extra spin option.

18 year old uncapped Rehan Ahmed was a late addition to the England squad, but is not expected to pay. Instead, the decision to include the leg spinner was taken to give him experience of a major international tour. Even the England management admit that he is still raw.



Playing in their own backyard, Pakistan will begin favourites for this series, which they must win to keep alive any residual hopes of appearing in the WTC final. Much may depend how England adapt to the local conditions, but, as ever Stokes may have a big role to play for his team, and his positivity should ensure that they remain competitive.




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