Three things we learned from England v Pakistan T20s
Manchester (United Kingdom) (AFP) –
England and Pakistan shared the spoils in a Twenty20 series at Old Trafford that ended all square at 1-1 after the tourists' five-run win in a last-ball thriller on Tuesday.
AFP Sport looks at some of the main talking points from an entertaining contest:
England's batting depth
Tom Banton, following the absence through injury of Jason Roy, was given a chance in his preferred opening position and the 21-year-old Somerset batsman responded with scores of 71, 20 and 46.
But with Jos Buttler, one of several multi-format players omitted from the Pakistan series, returning for England in three T20s against Australia starting on Friday, Banton's place at the top of the order is by no means assured, even if Roy is still sidelined.
Ahead of next year's T20 World Cup in India, even as consistent as a performer as Dawid Malan, who has seven scores of over fifty in just 13 matches, cannot be certain of their spot.
Test captain Joe Root will be keen to regain his place after being left out of the T20 squad to face Australia. He has not played a T20 international since May 2019.
England national selector Ed Smith insists it is the kind of problem he loves to have and it is certainly one he has to deal with.
England, in common with several teams, still look vulnerable when in the field during the powerplay overs.
That makes the ongoing omission of left-arm paceman David Willey all the more curious, especially with Ben Stokes missing on compassionate leave while the star all-rounder spends time with his ill father in New Zealand.
The 30-year-old Yorkshire all-rounder has taken more wickets in the powerplay than any T20 bowler in English history, but did not feature against Pakistan.
And despite being England's man of the series in last month's one-day international campaign against Ireland, when he took eight wickets and scored 98 runs for once out across the three games, he has also been left out of both the T20 and one-day squads for this month's series against Australia.
"He's playing good cricket and still has ambitions to be in all the England white-ball sides. But that's one of the unfortunate consequences of having a lot of strength in depth," said Smith.
Age is just a number for Pakistan
Pakistan have long had a reputation for giving fledgling talent a chance on the world stage and that tradition was maintained when the 19-year-old Haider Ali marked his international debut with a sparkling 54 on Tuesday.
But any suggestion Twenty20 is a young man's game was countered by Mohammad Hafeez's unbeaten 86 -- the 39-year-old's fourth half-century in his past five innings in T20 internationals.
Haider and Hafeez shared a stand of exactly 100 during which it was hard to tell which one was the novice despite the 20-year age difference between them.
"He was good under pressure and just expressed himself," said Hafeez of Haider.
"I was just trying to back him every time, tell him 'you are playing well, continue like that'. It is great to see youngsters coming from our system and performing well."
© 2020 AFP