England have rested Joe Root and Jos Buttler for the first of three T20 Internationals against Pakistan in Dubai.
While both players remain first-choice selections in this format, the England management have decided to take a look at other players with a view to helping them make informed decisions about squad selection ahead of the World T20. England play only five more games, including this one, before they depart for India and that World T20 tournament.
James Vince makes his T20I debut – he has never batted in international cricket, having played in one rained-ruined ODI in Ireland – while Liam Plunkett comes into the side for the first time on the tour. It is his first T20I since June 2006 and only the second international cap in this format of his career. Sam Billings will keep wicket for England for the first time in international cricket.
“It’s an opportunity for guys to come in and showcase what they can do,” Eoin Morgan, the England captain, told Sky Sports after winning the toss and deciding to bat first on the same pitch used for the ODI between these sides only a few days ago.
Pakistan, meanwhile, have been forced into two changes. Ahmed Shehzad misses the game due to illness, while Shoaib Malik is injured. That ensures that Rafatullah Mohmand makes his international debut at the age of 39.
Pakistan have won their last six T20I matches, while England have won their last three. It is, however, only four games since England were defeated by Holland in the last World T20; a result that condemned Ashely Giles to the sack.
Pakistan 1 Rafatullah Mohmand, 2 Sarfraz Ahmed, 3 Mohammad Hafeez, 4 Mohammad Rizwan, 5 Sohaib Maqsood, 6 Umar Akmal, 7 Shahid Afridi (capt), 8 Anwar Ali, 9 Sohail Tanvir, 10 Wahab Riaz, 11 Imran Khan
England 1 Alex Hales, 2 Jason Roy, 3 James Vince, 4 Eoin Morgan (capt), 5 Sam Billings (wk), 6 Moeen Ali, 7 Chris Woakes, 6 Adil Rashid, 9 Liam Plunkett, 10 Stephen Parry, 11 Reece Topley