Jofra Archer returns for England as Pakistan choose to bowl

Pakistan

Pakistan won the toss and chose to bowl first vs England

Jofra Archer has been named in England’s team for Saturday afternoon’s T20I against Pakistan in Birmingham. It means he will play his first professional match in 385 days and his first home international since September 2020, after recovering from a lengthy lay-off due to an elbow injury.
Archer was due to play in the first T20I on Wednesday night at Headingley but was made to wait three extra days by the Leeds rain, which washed that match out without a ball being bowled. He has warmed up by playing for Wildey, his club side in Barbados, and Sussex’s 2nd XI but the next three games will be England’s main chance to test his fitness before the T20 World Cup.

Speaking to Sky Sports before the game, Archer said that he felt “like a hamster on the wheel” during his prolonged rehabilitation. “You’ve got to get up and keep going, day in, day out,” he said. “But I’m back here, so it has to be worth it… being around the guys has been really refreshing. I’ve been rehabbing as long as I can remember, so it’s great to be back here.”

Archer said he is viewing his return on a “game-by-game” basis, adding: “I’ve been bowling since November last year, but the step-up, there’s always that extra 10% more intensity that you put in, especially in big games. Hopefully I can get through today, get through the other two games and get myself on the plane… as long as I bowl my four overs today, I’m happy.”

Babar Azam, Pakistan’s captain, opted to bowl first after winning the toss. They handed a recall to Shadab Khan, who was left out of their final two T20Is against Ireland earlier this month after he conceded 54 runs in four wicketless overs in the first match of the series.
Naseem Shah misses out in the first match but there is a return for Haris Rauf, who has not played any cricket since dislocating his shoulder at the PSL in February.

This is Gary Kirsten’s first match in charge of Pakistan since his appointment as their white-ball coach. “It’s good to see him. He’s a positive coach and he’s given us good planning,” Babar said, while acknowledging the green shirts in the sold-out Edgbaston crowd. “Always, when we are coming to Birmingham, the supporters are on the top. We enjoy it a lot.”

England opted to leave out Sam Curran, the player of the tournament at the 2022 T20 World Cup and the player of the match when these sides last met, in the final of that tournament. Curran has struggled for form over the last 18 months and has been omitted in favour of Chris Jordan and Liam Livingstone, who has recovered from a knee injury.

England: 1 Jos Buttler (capt/wk), 2 Phil Salt, 3 Will Jacks, 4 Jonny Bairstow, 5 Harry Brook, 6 Moeen Ali, 7 Liam Livingstone, 8 Chris Jordan, 9 Jofra Archer, 10 Adil Rashid, 11 Reece Topley.

Pakistan: 1 Babar Azam (capt), 2 Saim Ayub, 3 Mohammad Rizwan, 4 Fakhar Zaman, 5 Shadab Khan, 6 Azam Khan (wk), 7 Iftikhar Ahmed, 8 Imad Wasim, 9 Shaheen Shah Afridi, 10 Haris Rauf, 11 Mohammad Amir.

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