The man – the boy – who causes the greatest excitement is Naseem Shah, the 17-year-old with the fluid side action that Michael Vaughan has compared to that of Fred Trueman. At just 17, he can play 90 mph, swing the ball back and forth and already has a test hat-trick, against Bangladesh earlier this year. There are fears for the strains of England. It is complemented by Shaheen Afridi, who so impressed last year’s World Cup.
Facebook Facebook logo Sign up for Facebook to connect with Babar Azam is the choice of stick. His last tour of England in 2018 ended after a single run when his wrist was broken by a Ben Stokes bullet during 68 years at Lord’s. He is now the third batsman in the ODI standings and the sixth in the test standings – and has been compared by his captain to Steve Smith and Virat Kohli in terms of talent. A stint with Somerset last summer will have helped her acclimatize to English conditions.
England, who have announced a 14-man squad unchanged from the final test against the West Indies, are awaiting Ben Stokes’ aptitude at bowling. And another milestone looms: James Anderson only needs 11 wickets to reach the 600 mark. What about the weather? Puffy, wet and gray, but no rain is expected until this afternoon.