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Azhar Ali ready for England after Ireland washout

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DUBLIN: Pakistan one-day captain Azhar Ali is happy with his side’s preparation for next week’s one-day series against England despite the second ODI against Ireland being abandoned without a ball being bowled on Saturday.

The overnight rain did not stop until an hour after the scheduled start at Malahide and although there were a few bright spots throughout the day, the rain kept returning and the umpires officially abandoned the game at 3:30pm (1430 GMT).

However, with a total of 337 for six in a crushing 255-run victory over Ireland at Malahide in Thursday’s first of a two-game series, it will be a confident Pakistan side that head into their next match, the first of a five-game series against England, in Southampton on Wednesday.

Azhar’s only regret was that he didn’t get the opportunity to accommodate the other members of his one-day squad in a second game in Ireland.

“It was a very good performance in the first ODI, we wanted to experiment with a few more things today,” he explained after Saturday’s washout. “It was another international to win and we would have loved to have played but the rain had the better of the day.”

He added: “I am still very satisfied with our preparation, and although because of the rain we couldn’t get much practice in here, we have two days in Southampton and we will be ready to go for the first game against England.”

The 15-man squad shows eight changes from the party which drew the recent four-match Test series in England 2-2 but Azhar is happy with the selection and he gave special mentions to spinner Imad Wasim, who took five wickets in Thursday’s ODI and Sharjeel Khan, who made a memorable 152 in the same match.

“We have lot of options, especially with the all-rounders coming in, Mohammad Nawaz and Imad Wasim and if they keep performing, and if Sharjeel performs and continues his form into the England games, we are looking very good,” he said.

“It looks a very balanced side and if we perform to our potential we can produce very good results. As a unit we are very confident.”

Ireland’s next assignment is the fourth game in the Intercontinental Cup, against Hong Kong in Belfast, starting on August 30, when they resume their quest for Test-match status.

They then head off to South Africa at the end of September for ODIs against the hosts and Australia in the space of three days.

 

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