Stokes lauds match-champ Mahmood as Pakistan look to keep away from whitewash


Stand-in captain Ben Stokes said on Monday Saqib Mahmood’s dynamic impact with the ball for England against Pakistan will make the team’s established stars fear for his or their places once they return from coronavirus (Covid-19) isolation.

Eoin Morgan’s first-choice one-day squad was forced to quarantine after a Covid-19 outbreak before the series.

That left pace bowler Mahmood together with the experienced options available to England head coach Chris Silverwood despite owning just four caps. The 24-year-old took four for 42 and two for 21 within the first two matches against Pakistan, dismissing the world’s favorite 50-over batsman Babar Azam on both occasions.

One more strong performance at Edgbaston on Tuesday, when England will look to comb the series 3-0, will only increase his rapidly rising stock and will see him rocket up the hierarchy.

“With the squad getting exhausted, the one positive was that we could see guys come who are on the perimeter and, for Saqi, coming in and being the senior bowler has done him the planet of excellent,” Stokes said. “He hasn’t been fazed by anything, he’s been taking the new ball and I’ve asked him to return back on at crucial times in games where he’s performed rather well.

“So from a private point of view it’s done him the planet of excellent and from an England point of view, it’s another player that lads will need to look over their shoulder for.

“Saqi seems to always want the ball in his hands. He loves every minute of it. He likes to be in those situations where he’s expected to be the person to vary a game and he’s done it whenever he’s bowled on behalf of me this series.

“Competition for places is usually an excellent thing to possess at any level so once you get an entirely new squad and that they have put in such performances, that basically adds to the expectation that gets placed on to the most guys’ shoulders once they come .”

With the series already won, England has the chance to seal an interesting whitewash. Their two victories thus far are hugely impressive and showcased the depth that English cricket has within the limited-overs formats.

Given what has gone before within the series, England is probably the favorites to end things off with another win. they need to outclass a Pakistan team that has struggled badly with the bat. Although there’s much quality within the tourists’ line-up, their top order has failed twice — they need to lose their first four wickets for 26 and 53 runs respectively.

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