England face Pakistan inTwenty20 at Bristol

Published: Monday, August 28, 2006, 23:53 [IST]
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London: England and Pakistan will face each other in a Twenty20 International at Bristol today for the first time after the controversial Oval Test, which witnessed unprecedented series of events and kicked up a row in the cricketing world.

In the aftermath of the dramatic events in the final Test at Oval, this match and the following five One-day Internationals, were in serious doubt, as Pakistan threatened to pull out from the tour as they faced ball-tampering allegation in the oval Test.

England captain Andrew Strauss wants to leave controversy behind when his side face Pakistan this Twenty20 international. "The most important thing is for people to see good cricket being played, to see good, tight games," said Strauss.

"Then hopefully the attention will be turned back to the good parts of cricket rather than what's happened."

He added: "It's been a pretty extraordinary week for cricket, though not something that has involved us a huge amount. "Now it's time to move on from there and in order to do that both sides will be looking to play some good cricket and hopefully provide some on-field highlights."

As against Sri Lanka earlier this summer, the Twenty20 match is a curtain-raiser for a 50-over, five-match One-day series. England lost to Sri Lanka at the Rose Bowl and went on to concede the one-day series 5-0 so they are acutely aware of the importance of the shorter match.

A new-look squad sees veteran Darren Gough and all-rounder Rikki Clarke return, while paceman Stuart Broad and batsman Michael Yardy are new faces. Pakistan have never played a Twenty20 international, a one-day warm-up last week was ruined by rain and the ball-tampering controversy must have distracted them.

High-profile fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar, who has had little opportunity to prove his recovery from back trouble, returns to the squad. All-rounder Shoaib Malik, whose absence from the top of the batting order because of an elbow injury was seen as key to the Test series defeat, is also back to fitness.

Coach Bob Woolmer said his players were eager to "get on with the rest of the tour" following the recent controversy. "We want to play cricket, entertain everyone as much as we can and win this series.

"We are looking forward to the cricket and getting everything else that's happened over the past week out of the way." "We can now prepare for the World Cup, which is the whole point of playing these one-day internationals."

England (from): A Strauss (capt), I Bell, S Broad, R Clarke, P Collingwood, A Cook, J Dalrymple, D Gough, S Harmison, E Joyce, J Lewis, S Mahmood, K Pietersen, C Read, M Trescothick, M Yardy.

Pakistan (from): Inzamam-ul-Haq (capt), Younis Khan, Mohammad Yousuf, Shoaib Malik, Mohammad Hafeez, Shahid Yousuf, Shahid Afridi, Abdul Razzaq, Kamran Akmal (wk), Imran Farhat, Shoaib Akhtar, Rana Naved, Rao Iftikhar, Mohammad Asif, Umar Gul, Danish Kaneria.

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