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Pakistan v England Test Series: Players to Watch

Pakistan and England will square off in a historic three-match Test series, starting on Thursday at the Rawalpindi Cricket Stadium.

Pakistan England Test Players

Pakistan and England will square off in a historic three-match Test series, starting on Thursday at the Rawalpindi Cricket Stadium. This will be the first time these two sides meet in a Test series on Pakistan soil in 17 years. Lwanele Poswayo looks at the players to watch for this eagerly awaited Test series.

Abdullah Shafique

Abdullah Shafique has had a fantastic start to his Test career scoring 736 runs in 7 matches at an average of 66.90. He made his Test debut for Pakistan in 2021 against Bangladesh and has looked the part since. Shafique has played all of his 7 games in Asian conditions and is yet to be tested outside of the sub-continent. He was brilliant in the series against Australia in particular, scoring 397 runs in 3 matches at 79.40 and will be looking for more of the same in home conditions.

This series will be played in Pakistan so he will not have to worry about adapting to foreign conditions just yet. He’s been a find for Babar Azam’s side considering how they’ve struggled to find a consistent opening pair in this format.

Pakistan’s top-order looks good on paper and looks ready to score a lot of runs. Abdullah Shafique and Imam-ul-Haq will play a huge role if their side is to do well in this series.

Haris Rauf

Pakistan’s star pacer Shaheen Afridi was left out of the squad due to his ongoing knee injury and players like Haris Rauf and Naseem Shah will have to step up. Rauf will be hoping to translate his white-ball form into Test cricket. The 29-year-old is yet to play a Test for his country which is surprising for a player of his talent but at his age, he could still make an impact for Pakistan in this format.

His pace and ability to swing the old ball could be vital in Pakistan as we saw with Pat Cummins and Mitchell Starc using reverse swing during the three-match series in Pakistan earlier this year. He’ll have stiff competition with Pakistan blessed with pace bowlers but I expect him to be crucial for his side if selected.

Ollie Pope

Ollie Pope has been in great form since Brandon McCullum took charge of England earlier this year. He hasn’t been as impressive as someone like Abdullah Shafique, but he has improved significantly under Ben Stokes and McCullum. Pope averaged 38 in seven Tests in the English summer including his long-awaited second Test hundred against New Zealand at Trent Bridge. He captained the England Lions last week and scored 146 off 120 deliveries to continue his fine form at 3.

His knocks for England have been crucial like his 73 at Lord’s against South Africa after England crumbled to 165 all out. He’ll be a key player again as England look to continue with their fantastic start under Bazz McCullum.

Mark Wood

Unfortunately for England, Mark Wood will miss the first Test with a hip injury. It’s a huge blow for England considering how he’s been bowling of late, especially in the T20 World Cup. He was also missed in the first few matches of the Ashes last year as England’s bowlers struggled to make an impact in Australian conditions.

His pace and control will be crucial for England in the sub-continent as spin will most likely play a key role for both sides. That means that the teams whose pacemen have the most impact will be the difference between these two evenly-matched sides.

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