England skipper Jos Buttler said Thursday he hopes his injury-hit Twenty20 side embrace the challenge of facing a strong Pakistan team on their first tour of the country in 17 years. Security issues have meant Pakistan has struggled to attract visiting sides since an attack on the Sri Lankan team bus in 2009, but tours have slowly resumed in the past few years — with England the latest. This seven-match series is seen as a preparation for next month’s Twenty20 World Cup to be held in Australia, and Buttler hoped his young side build up well for the mega event.
“We look forward to the tough challenge and to be battle-hardened for the World Cup after this series,” said Buttler, who will miss the first few games to recover fully from a calf injury.
Two of England’s World Cup squad members — Liam Livingstone and Chris Jordan — are also missing this series as they recover from ankle and finger injuries respectively, while Test skipper Ben Stokes was given a rest.
Buttler said he hoped the injuries would give an opportunity to other players hungry to show their talent.
“Obviously the main aim for everyone is to turn up for Australia fully ready,” said Buttler of the event to be held from October 16 to November 13.
He said seven of his squad — David Willey, Phil Salt, Will Jacks, Liam Dawson, Harry Brook, Luke Wood and Ben Duckett — had featured in the Pakistan Super League (PSL) this year and would know local conditions.
“Plenty of our players featured in the PSL and shared the positive experiences of being here and about how much the public love the game,” said Buttler.
“We know Pakistan are a very great side. We look forward to challenge ourselves against them and I expect to see some great cricket.”
The England skipper also hoped his side would perform well to honour Queen Elizabeth II, who died last week.
“Obviously, with her majesty the queen passing, we were deeply saddened by that. We have seen the reactions over in England.
“We hope to honour her in our own way as a T20 team and play in a fashion to do that.”
The first four matches will be in Karachi on September 20, 22, 23 and 25, and the next three in Lahore on September 28, 30 and October 2.
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