Abu Dhabi - Pakistan and England will be
aiming to build one-day sides for the future as they enter a four-match series
in Abu Dhabi starting on Wednesday.
Pakistan, who won the preceding three-match
Test series 2-0, will be in a tight corner as they seek huge improvement in
their one-day rankings, in order to lift themselves for the 2019 World Cup to
be held in England.
Besides hosts England, seven other
top-ranked sides as on 30 September 2017, will qualify directly for the World
Cup, the only way Pakistan can move up the order is by winning matches against
the higher-ranked sides.
Pakistan, currently ranked eighth as
compared to England's sixth, will be hoping they do not repeat their below-par
performances they gave in 2012 when they were blanked 4-0 in the United Arab
Head coach Waqar Younis believes the
current series is an important one for Pakistan.
"We know the importance of this series
and have to do well to build the side for the future, especially with the
Champions Trophy 2017, rankings and the 2019 World Cup all in the mind,"
Under Waqar Pakistan had struggled in the
50-over format, losing to Sri Lanka, Australia and New Zealand last year before
going down in New Zealand and failing to progress beyond the last eight in the
2015 World Cup.
But the worst came in Bangladesh where
Pakistan were routed 3-0 in April -- their first series defeat against the
Since then Pakistan beat Zimbabwe twice
(home and away) and Sri Lanka -- a progress Waqar wants to build on.
"We have shown progress with some
exciting youngsters," said Waqar, whose team lost Misbah-ul-Haq and Shahid
Afridi after the World Cup 2015 due to retirement.
Ace spinner Saeed Ajmal is also not in the
squad after struggling with a new bowling action, which needed remodelling
after it was questioned last year.
His place went to leg-spinner Yasir Shah
who will hope to carry his Test form, taking 15 wickets in two matches, into
Waqar said one-day cricket has changed and
England have adopted to those admirably.
"One-day cricket has changed and now
even a 300-plus total is not safe which England have adopted and are a
dangerous side," said Waqar.
To their credit, England have shown
remarkable progress after being the only top side not to reach the 2015 World
England beat the 2015 World Cup finalists
New Zealand 3-2 before going down fighting 2-3 against Australia - both at
England media reported some players are
training under a baseball expert Julian Wood in order to develop more hitting
England's director of coaches Andy Flower
said Wood's work will help.
"Julian has worked with us before,
done a really good job," Flower was quoted as saying by Sky Sports.
"Part of our job is to offer options to players and they make decisions
about whether they want to adopt things."
Both Pakistan and England tuned up for the
one-day series with comfortable warm-up wins against Nepal and Hong Kong
The remaining matches will be held in Abu
Dhabi (November 13), Sharjah (November 17) and Dubai (November 20).
England: Eoin Morgan (captain), Moeen Ali,
Jonny Bairstow, Sam Billings, Jos Buttler, Chris Jordan, Alex Hales, Adil
Rashid, Joe Root, Jason Roy, James Taylor, Reece Topley, David Willey, Chris
Woakes, Liam Plunkett.
Pakistan: Azhar Ali (captain), Mohammad
Hafeez, Ahmed Shehzad, Bilal Asif, Younis Khan, Shoaib Malik, Babar Azam,
Mohammad Rizwan, Sarfraz Ahmed, Amir Yamin, Anwer Ali, Yasir Shah, Zafar Gohar,
Rahat Ali, Wahab Riaz, Mohammad Irfan