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August 5, 2020

England hope Stokes will be fit

Sports

August 5, 2020

ISLAMABAD: England hope that star all-rounder Ben Stokes will be fit for the first Test against Pakistan starting Wednesday (today) as the hosts retained the 14 players who played the last Test against the West Indies.

In a video conference from Manchester on Tuesday, England captain Joe Root said his camp would wait for Stokes till Wednesday morning before naming the playing XI. “We hope he will be fit,” he said.

Root rated his team’s chances against Pakistan as high. “We have just finished a series and are better placed for the first Test. That is not the case with Pakistan, though they are a very good side with some very talented players,” he said.

Root spoke highly of Pakistan’s pace-cum-spin attack. “They have a really good attack and a potent combination for Test cricket — a balanced pace attack with a left-armer and a good experienced leg-spinner,” he said. “Mohammad Abbas knows the conditions well and has natural movement.”

The England captain said his team’s plan “is to score big and put Pakistan under pressure”.

Speaking about Naseem Shah, Root admitted that the young fast bowler was an exciting talent. “I hope we will manage him by sticking to our plan.”

Regarding his own bowling attack, the England captain said it had the ability to take 20 wickets against any team. “We have some very good pace bowlers. And the decision whom to play and whom not to is very tough,” he said.

Root said England’s top-order had come up good in the last innings against the West Indies. “I hope they will continue that form,” he said.

England’s 14 for first Test: Joe Root (captain), James Anderson, Jofra Archer, Dominic Bess, Stuart Broad, Rory Burns, Jos Buttler, Zak Crawley, Sam Curran, Ollie Pope, Dom Sibley, Ben Stokes, Chris Woakes, Mark Wood.