After the horror show down under in the Ashes, England will be hoping for a brighter summer of cricket as they kick things off with a two-test series against Pakistan at home. With the first Test approaching on May 24th, let’s take a look at some of the things we should look out for.
JOE ROOT AT NO.3
England captain Joe Root claims that he is ‘ready to take more responsibility’ by moving up the order and batting at no.3 at Lord’s. Having been a no.4 since last August, Root has always resisted the call to move up the order. But now he says he’s happy to make the change. In an interview with the International Cricket Council website, Root revealed: It’s an opportunity for me to take on a bit more responsibility. I’ve had a year in the captaincy now and I feel I’ve gained enough experience to feel comfortable doing that. For me it was about getting used to the captaincy and making sure I could separate the two; that my full focus was on my batting when it came around. Ultimately, nothing will change the way I go about my batting.” The skipper has batted at that all important no.3 position 17 times in his Test match career and averages 43.96 with two centuries to boot as well. Will the step up help the side be a bit more solid at the top?
THE RETURN OF JOS BUTTLER
After being dropped from the side for disappointing performances and an average of 31.36 in Test matches, Buttler has gone on to steal the show for the Rajasthan Royals at this year’s Indian Premier League. He’s hit five consecutive fifties in the shortest format of the game and looks to be in great touch. But is performing in T20 matches on flatter pitches out in the sub-continent going to translate into Test success in the swinging English conditions?
WHICH PAKISTAN WILL TURN UP?
Pakistan have long since been a team that can beat anyone on their day, and quite conceivably lose to anyone on their day. Their inconsistencies are what makes them such a dangerous side and England will do well not to under-estimate them. They’ve chosen a very inexperienced batting line-up which includes the nephew of Inzamam ul-Haq, Imam. Outstanding leg spinner Yasir Shah misses out through injury whilst a side-story will feature the return of Mohammad Amir to face England after his part in the spot-fixing scandal on their tour back in 2010.