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Moeen Ali keen to downplay England’s Twenty20 World Cup chances before Pakistan tour

Stand-in England captain Moeen Ali keen to play down England’s WC20 chances as preparations begin with Pakistan tour after three consecutive series defeats

  • Moeen Ali has played down England’s 220 World Cup chances this winter
  • England are preparing for a long series with Pakistan which starts tomorrow
  • The team has lost all three T20 series since former captain Eoin Morgan retired
  • Several players are injured or rested ahead of the tournament in Australia
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Preparations for England’s latest bid to unify world cricket’s white-ball titles begin in the fervent atmosphere of Karachi tonight – with stand-in captain Moeen Ali keen to play down their chances.

Ali, wearing the armband until Jos Buttler returns from a calf injury, believes a team that retains at its core some of the best limited-overs players this country has ever produced does not need the burden of dragging a favorite brand with him for Twenty20. World Cup in Australia next month despite reaching the semi-finals in each of the last four global events.

– It is important that we do not put pressure on ourselves and say that we must win a WC. “We’ve been such a good side over the last two or three years but we’ve also missed a few times, which is about the weight of expectation,” said Ali.

England's stand-in captain Moeen Ali has played down England's World Twenty20 chances
England's stand-in captain Moeen Ali has played down England's World Twenty20 chances

England’s stand-in captain Moeen Ali has played down England’s World Twenty20 chances

They have lost three consecutive series since Jos Buttler (left) and Matthew Mott (right) took over
They have lost three consecutive series since Jos Buttler (left) and Matthew Mott (right) took over

They have lost three consecutive series since Jos Buttler (left) and Matthew Mott (right) took over

‘We have to focus on one game. World Cup we win one match at a time by playing our best cricket and not worrying about the end result. It will sort itself out.

‘It suits our style not to be so desperate for anything. Of course everyone wants to win it, but let’s see how it goes and play our best.’

There have been significant changes since the 2021 T20 tournament ended with a last-four exit to New Zealand last November: Eoin Morgan’s mid-summer retirement has been followed by the omission of Jason Roy and the year-end injury to Jonny Bairstow.

And it will be difficult to quantify the side’s progress on this tour, especially in the short term, given the huge turnover of personnel from the team set to start the seven-match stretch here and the one expected to take the field in Perth against Afghanistan on October 22.

Ali said England's poor form is partly due to the departure of former captain Eoin Morgan
Ali said England's poor form is partly due to the departure of former captain Eoin Morgan

Ali said England’s poor form is partly due to the departure of former captain Eoin Morgan

In addition to Buttler, bowlers Mark Wood, Chris Woakes and Reece Topley will have comebacks from injury carefully managed, while Ben Stokes, Liam Livingstone and Chris Jordan will strengthen the squad down under.

England have already used 23 players in Twenty20 this calendar year and nine more can expect game time against Asia Cup runners-up Pakistan.

Such drastic changes in personnel have undoubtedly affected the results, with all three bilateral series in 2022 ending in defeat.

Ali suggests poor performances earlier in the summer were partly a hangover from Morgan’s departure and partly a loss of tactical identity.

This tour can therefore be seen as a ‘starting point’, said Ali, who added: ‘This is not a reset, the test side has been reset and when Morgs took over it was a reset, but this is more about how we going to develop and move forward.

Eoin Morgan (right) stepped down as England's white-ball captain at the start of the year after seven years
Eoin Morgan (right) stepped down as England's white-ball captain at the start of the year after seven years

Eoin Morgan (right) stepped down as England’s white-ball captain at the start of the year after seven years

Pakistan will provide a stern test for England as preparations for the World Cup begin
Pakistan will provide a stern test for England as preparations for the World Cup begin

Pakistan will provide a stern test for England as preparations for the World Cup begin

‘Yes, we want to be bold and aggressive as we have always been, but there is also a method to that. Maybe this summer we went out and tried to be really aggressive and got kicked out. The fundamentals of batting are still there, we just have to get that balance right.’

Things are not going to get any easier over the next fortnight. Pakistan have a formidable record at the National Stadium – which will host four 30,000 sell-outs in six nights before the series moves on to Lahore – winning all nine white-ball matches at the venue since international cricket returned to the country three years ago.

The opening game has significance on several levels: for Birmingham-born Ali the honor of captaining the country of his legacy, for Pakistan a first home match against England in 17 years and for the country itself a means of raising money as all proceeds will be used to provide relief to the millions affected by the recent devastating floods.

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