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Pakistan v England 2022/23

Predicting the England XI for the first Pakistan Test

Stokes and McCullum, in charge of picking the England XI for the first Pakistan Test
Ben Gardner by Ben Gardner
@Ben_Wisden 3 minute read

England begin their three-Test series against Pakistan on Thursday, December 1, but who will be in the XI?

With Alex Lees dropped and Stuart Broad staying home for the birth of his child, England will make at least two changes from the team that beat South Africa at The Oval. The England squad has a fresh feel to it: there are three uncapped players – Will Jacks, Liam Livingstone and Rehan Ahmed – and three who have yet to feature under Brendon McCullum – Mark Wood, Ben Duckett and Keaton Jennings.

Conditions in Pakistan are also hard to predict. In general, surfaces have been flat, but there has been the odd seamer’s paradise. Rob Key has hinted that a part-timer, two quicks, and a spinner could be the preferred balance, but the XI England will pick is still far from certain.


Predicting the England XI for the first Pakistan Test

Zak Crawley

Whatever your thoughts on him are, by this point it should be clear: he plays. And who knows? Some flat tracks on Pakistan could be the key to unlocking all that potential.

Ben Duckett

Having been given the opening spot for England’s warm-up game against England Lions, and having been in the squad for the final Test of the summer, Ben Duckett looks to have edged out Keaton Jennings in the race to partner Crawley.

Ollie Pope

England’s No.3 had a solid summer, and a rapid century against England Lions suggests he is in form.

Joe Root

Root is at No.4. Obviously.

Harry Brook

Brook sat out of the England Lions warm-up, rested after having been on the road since the start of England’s first trip to Pakistan. With Jonny Bairstow injured, he will slot in at No.5 for his second Test cap.

Ben Stokes (c)

Stokes will captain England. There is a possibility he could promote himself above Brook, but Stokes likes the No.6 spot.

Ben Foakes (wk)

A spectacular stumping against England Lions highlighted Foakes’ value. He could shift down to No.8 if England want to push whichever dashing part-timer they pick up.

Will Jacks

Jacks outperformed Liam Livingstone against the Lions with bat and ball, and has recent red-ball form to his name, so is in the lead in the race to be England’s second spinner/eighth batter. However, this is a close-run thing, and Rehan Ahmed is also an option. England may also use Jamie Overton here if they feel the pitch won’t assist the tweakers.

Ollie Robinson

After a stint out of the side, Ollie Robinson, fit and firing again, is now arguably England’s first bowler on the team sheet.

James Anderson

40 years old and still as good as ever. However, the make-up of England’s fast bowling attack is far from certain. The pacers picked (two proper quicks, two wily seamers) suggests England will pick one of Mark Wood and Jamie Overton and one of Anderson and Robinson per Test, with rotation key in taxing conditions. However, with Wood set to miss the first Test through injury, England may be tempted to simply pick Robinson and Anderson, their two best bowlers. England could pick any two of the three, or all of them.

Jack Leach

Despite the presence of three other spinners in the spot, Jack Leach’s position as England’s first-choice slow bowler is not in doubt.

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