England arrive in Pakistan for first Test tour since 2005
England have arrived in Pakistan for their first Test tour of the country since 2005.
The squad and staff were escorted by helicopter from the airport with the roads closed for their arrival in Islamabad ahead of the first Test on December 1.
The Test matches follow seven T20I matches which took place in September and October – with England clinching the series 4-3 – and for the majority of England’s red-ball team it will be their first visit to the country.
Only James Anderson was there when England last played Tests and one-day internationals in Pakistan back in 2005, and the seam bowler only took the field for the white-ball matches.
The nature of the packed cricket schedule has left little time for the players to prepare for the three-Test series, with just a single Lions v England match in Abu Dhabi scheduled, and that was abandoned after two days.
On the final day of the scheduled match which had seen 501 for seven scored on day one and 411 for nine on day two, captain Ben Stokes – who did not play any part in the game – elected to have a training session out on the middle instead.
None of the players have played a competitive red ball match since the end of the English domestic season on September 29.
When Australia toured Pakistan in March – becoming the first of the major cricketing nations to do so – the first two matches ended in very high-scoring draws, but the visitors clinched a series victory in the final match, although the pitches could be very different in the Pakistani winter for Brendon McCullum’s team.
England however will be looking to build on their impressive summer, embodied by their attacking ‘Bazball’ style of cricket, and if their warm up game gives any indication it is likely they will look to take the game to Pakistan.
Stokes, Harry Brook, Liam Livingstone and Mark Wood all played during England’s victorious T20 World Cup campaign in Australia, a tournament which finished on November 13, and McCullum will hope they have recovered in time, with a big doubt remaining over fast bowler Wood’s fitness levels.
England will play three Tests in Pakistan, the first in Rawalpindi, before travelling to Multan and Karachi.
England squad to play Pakistan: Ben Stokes (c), James Anderson, Harry Brook, Zak Crawley, Ben Duckett, Ben Foakes, Will Jacks, Keaton Jennings, Jack Leach, Liam Livingstone, Jamie Overton, Ollie Pope, Ollie Robinson, Joe Root, Mark Wood, Rehan Ahmed.
England complete World Cup preparations with rain-affected win over Bangladesh
England start the defence of their World Cup trophy against New Zealand on Thursday.
Jos Buttler will let England’s white-ball legacy be decided by others
Eight members from the class of 2019 are in England’s 15-strong squad for the defence of their 50-over crown in India, which starts this week.
5 players to watch at the Cricket World Cup in India
England take on New Zealand in Thursday’s tournament opener.
Can England defend their crown? – World Cup talking points
The tournament takes place in India.
Middlesex relegated from Division One as Kent survive on dramatic final day
Middlesex fell just short of the victory they needed at Nottinghamshire to stay up instead of Kent.
England captain Jos Buttler believes India are favourites for World Cup
The last three editions of the Cricket World Cup – India in 2011, Australia in 2015 and England in 2019 – have been won by the host nation.
Surrey retain County Championship title after Essex batting collapse
The holders have been crowned champions for the 21st time.
Geoffrey Boycott: Everybody in Newcastle hates Mike Ashley amid Headingley links
The PA news agency understands the Frasers Group, where Ashley is chief executive, is one of the parties interested in purchasing Headingley.
Essex’s slim hopes of winning County Championship dented by Northamptonshire
Essex need at least 400 to have any chance of claiming top spot.
Matthew Mott: Jofra Archer ‘desperate to play but realistic’ ahead of World Cup
The 28-year-old is not expected to be ready to return to action until the tournament is close to a conclusion.