Preparations for England’s latest attempt to unify the cricket world titles begin tonight in the scorching atmosphere of Karachi – with substitute captain Moeen Ali looking to downplay their chances.
Pakistan’s players will wear a special one-off kit that appears to have their names and numbers partially submerged in water to show solidarity with the victims of the humanitarian crisis.
“It’s important that we don’t put pressure on ourselves and say we’re going to win a World Cup. We’ve been such a good team for the last two or three years, but we’ve also missed out sometimes, which has to do with expectations,” Ali said.
“We have to focus on one game. At the World Cup, we win game after game by playing our best cricket and not worrying about the final score. This will take care of itself.
“It suits our style not to search so desperately for something. Of course everyone wants to win, but let’s see how it goes and do our best.’
There have been significant changes since the 2021 T20 tournament ended with a bottom-four elimination in New Zealand last November: Eoin Morgan’s retirement in midsummer was followed by the departure of Jason Roy and the year-end injury of Jonny Bairstow.
And it will be difficult to quantify the side’s progress on this journey, particularly in the short term given the huge turnover at the team set to start the seven-game series here and the one expected to take the field in Perth will be against Afghanistan on October 22nd.
In addition to Buttler, bowlers Mark Wood, Chris Woakes and Reece Topley will have carefully managed comebacks from injury absences, while Ben Stokes, Liam Livingstone and Chris Jordan will join the roster Down Under.
England have already fielded 23 players in Twenty20 this calendar year and nine more can play against Asian Cup runners-up Pakistan.
Such drastic personnel changes have undoubtedly impacted the results as all three bilateral series ended in defeat in 2022.
Ali suspects the lackluster performances earlier this summer were partly a hangover from Morgan’s departure and partly a loss of tactical identity.
This tour can therefore be seen as a “starting point,” said Ali, who added: “This isn’t a reset, the test site had a reset and when Morgs took over that was a reset, but this is more about how we’re going to move forward.” develop and move forward.
“Yes, we want to be bold and aggressive like we’ve always been, but there’s method to that. Maybe this summer we went out and tried to be really aggressive and got kicked out. The basics of hitting remain, we just need to find the right balance.
It won’t get any easier in the next two weeks. Pakistan has set an impressive record at the national stadium, which will have sold out four times 30,000 spectators in six nights before the series travels to Lahore, winning all nine white ball matches at the venue since international cricket returned to the country three years ago is before.
The opening game is significant on several levels: for Birmingham-born Ali it will be the honor of captaining his country of origin, for Pakistan it will be their first home game against England in 17 years and for the country itself it will be a vehicle to raise funds used to help the millions affected by the recent devastating floods.