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Why Pakistan and England are playing the longest T20I series; seven matches in 13 days

Sep 21, 2022

The first of seven (yes, seven) matches taking place over the course of the next 13 days is the long-awaited T20 international series between England and Pakistan that begins on Tuesday night at Karachi’s National Stadium.

When Malawi hosts Mozambique for seven men’s and seven women’s T20Is in November 2019, it will be the joint-longest bilateral T20 international series in history for both genders and the longest between full-member nations. The only other full-member T20I series with more than five games was between India and South Africa’s women in October 2019, when a sixth T20I was added after rain wiped out the second and third games.

Prior to the World Cup in India in February–March 2023, this series was originally scheduled to include five ODIs, but because to the Covid-19 pandemic, the 2020 T20 World Cup was moved back to October–November 2022 and the 50–over World Cup was moved back to October–November 2023.

Despite the fact that the men’s squad was only scheduled to play two T20Is in Lahore as part of a four-day layover on their route to the T20 World Cup, the ECB abruptly withdrew from a projected visit to Pakistan last year, citing worries about players’ emotional and physical welfare.

In November 2021, Ramiz Raja, the chairman of the PCB, and Martin Darlow, the deputy chair, traveled to Lahore to meet with Raja and discuss the reasons behind their withdrawal, which Raja claimed had led the “Western Bloc” of cricket to “use and trash” Pakistan.

The board decided to add two more Twenty20 Internationals to the series’ schedule during that tour, and both nations will rotate their squads in order to keep important players well and fresh for the T20 World Cup the following month.

Seven games will be difficult, according to Jos Buttler, who won’t be eligible to play again after suffering a calf injury until the tour’s Lahore leg. “Some of them are back-to-back, so we’ll try to manage our team during that,” said the speaker.

Matthew Mott, England’s coach, said: “Initially I thought seven games over here would be a lot but I think it’s actually going to play into our favour. We can get some games in for the guys who are coming back and we’ll get to see different guys under pressure in this series.”

In an official ICC pre-tournament match on October 17, the two sides will play an additional eight games against one another at the Gabba.

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