It has been a memorable first week or so in Pakistan for all of us. It was an honor to be a part of this tour and the noise that welcomed us in Karachi before every match was very special.
The passion for the game is something else here and it’s great to see so much support for England.
Leading England is something I cherish every time and what a series it has been so far. The first game flew Pakistan out of the blocks, but we dragged them back. Luke Wood was outstanding on his debut and Rash (Adil Rashid) bowling Babar Azam with his googly was a key moment.
Harry Brook showed himself well during the T20 Pakistan tour in England
And when Halesy (Alex Hales) – to do that during his first game back was seriously impressive. It’s not easy with the pressure around him, but the way he played showed what he stood for. I was delighted with Halesy, but it certainly didn’t surprise me that he hit 50 and Brooky (Harry Brook) came in and played with real class to bring us home.
On Thursday, Babar and Mohammad Rizwan were just too good for us. The atmosphere lifted and it takes some effort to chase 200 without losing a wicket.
They showed their quality and we couldn’t get them out. I put myself on bowling hoping to make a breakthrough, but they knocked me down. I thought we hit well to set a target of 200, but sometimes you have to admit you were outplayed and we were, by the Pakistani opening pair.
But Friday showed how strong our mentality is and how good the depth of the English white ball cricket is. Will Jacks came in on the debut as we rotated and immediately looked like an international player.
Mooen Ali is impressed with what he has seen of the 23-year-old so far
The way he played his own game was a joy to watch. He was not impressed with the bowling, nor with the atmosphere and his credit for putting us in a really strong position, even though we were three times behind for 80 odd when he was sacked in the ninth over.
Don’t worry though. My word, Harry Brook and Ben Duckett – their collaboration was outstanding. One of the best I’ve seen in England, colors in T20 cricket. It saved me from batting!
That combination of right and left worked well and the pair complemented each other very well. The way they immediately pressured Pakistan and didn’t let the spinner settle was amazing to watch.
Duckett has looked fantastic as the series has progressed and in Brook we have a real special player. He is a talent that will last for years to come. He took the pace and spin back and the way he took the holes was ridiculous. He had all the answers. Brooky really is a 360 degree player who plays good cricket shots and he has all the tricks in the book – scoop, sweep, you name it, he’s got it.
If you hit first in Karachi, a terrain known for its high scores, you need to score high. Being away from home, without the likes of Jos Buttler, Jonny Bairstow, Ben Stokes and Liam Livingstone, speaks for itself.
And Woody (Mark Wood) on his return was incredible. If you have a raw pace, it’s a different ball game. We are happy to have him back after injury and I just told him to be aggressive with the ball. It was his first game in England since March, so I didn’t really have to tell him. But trust me, he was fast and bowled one of the fastest spells I’ve seen.
Brook r is a 360 degree player who plays good cricket shots and has all the tricks
Both Woody and Reece Topley pretty much put us in the driver’s seat, with Babar and Rizwan out early. Woody’s comeback was faster than expected and that can only be good for us going into the World Cup, but we don’t want to overdo it. He is a huge player and we need him for every game in Australia.
Sunday was just a great game. One of those games that swung side to side. Daws (Liam Dawson) smashed it and nearly pulled it off, but it just wasn’t our day.
We should have chased 167 with ease. With a few more runs out of the top order, the game was ours. It was disappointing to fall short, but again, it showed our strength in depth.
There will be more rotation in the coming matches, giving everyone opportunities. It’s always nice to see guys make their debut in England. We are in a good place at the moment, playing fearless, aggressive cricket and we can still improve.
It’s an interesting series as we prepare for the World Cup and look to boys for the future. But it’s been off to a good start and it’s an exciting time for English cricket.
We traveled to Lahore on Monday and although we are restricted by security in Karachi it was a great experience. The atmosphere was electric. The hotel and food were brilliant and so were the people.
A lot of FIFA has been played to kill time and play cards and David Willey brought his coffee machine so we have a small coffee club. With the late start and late finish, the guys tend to sleep quite late and me and Rash usually stay up until Fajr (the Islamic morning prayer) to play FIFA. He may take more wickets than me, but I’m definitely the better FIFA player.
Rashid’s family is also from Mirpur which is not far from Lahore so his parents and relatives will be there for the matches. That will be a very special and emotional moment for all of them – to see one of their own players play for England in Pakistan.
Me and Rash have had tons of ticket requests, as you would probably expect!
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