England vs Pakistan Player Ratings
Refreshing is the only word I can think of that is a fair description of the most recent England vs Pakistan series. Englands football team was generating much stress across the nation with their no-risk, no-nonsense tactics and the events of Sunday night, and Eoin Morgan decided to dull us all to death vs Sri Lanka. Tuesday morning was fantastic as the news broke about the entirely new 18 man squad that had been selected to play vs Pakistan and well the series really was a breath of fresh air. England have been so dominant in this format for so long that they haven’t had any need for change, indeed it was the emergence of the world-class talent that is Jofra Archer which forced England's hand a few weeks before the World Cup. Reluctance to change and sticking by those who have brought you success is something I fundamentally believe all successful sports teams do. Until those players are known quantities and the cycle to which a team was building towards has passed. Post this their respective apprentices should be slowly integrated into the side beginning with naturally worse opposition but gradually they become the mainstays with a few of the old guard still left. England did not do this vs Sri Lanka and some force in the universe almost forced them to do so vs Pakistan. All in all England’s newbies had a solid series and here’s how I rated the whole squad.
Phil Salt: 7/10
I was close to giving Salt an 8 purely for the explosive manner in which he acquired his runs but it didn’t feel right given he only made one 50 in the series. Easily providing one of the most entertaining passages of the series with his demolition job of Shaheen in the 3rd game, Salt showed how he can be England's next opener with relative ease. The Sussex man didn’t quite hit the heights we would’ve expected him to in his first ODI series, regardless he impressed and showcased all the talent we knew was there; a 7 is fair.
Dawid Malan: 3/10
Match winning 50 in the first game and 2 ducks after that a very very poor return from the England man. Hasan Ali had him found out pretty early on with the ball pushed across him on a good length. Malan did leave the original ODI bubbles for personal reasons and it felt like it did show in the 3rd game when he didn’t review his caught behind. Malan may have just shot his test ambitions in the foot and as one of the most senior players on the side, his 2 failures lower his score a fair amount to a 3.
Zak Crawley: 6/10
Able to hit through the line of the ball with ease and make use of his excellent offside play; ODI cricket may be the best format for Crawley. 50 on debut, duck in his second game, and a beautiful 30 in his last, Crawley offered a timely reminder of his talent and how useful he could be on those flat Australian pitches. However, the mode of dismissal in both the second and 3rd game, being clean bowled both times, was disappointing and has earned him a middling 6.
James Vince: 10/10
No more "what-ifs?" No more nearly moments. James Vince has done it. Yes, he didn't see the game out but nevertheless Vince was Englands best batter this series by a mile with a fifty and a maiden international hundred. James Vince ladies and gentlemen; James fucking Vince.
Ben Stokes: 3/10
So often the man for England, this time the skipper couldn’t do what was necessary. 2 innings both filled with disaster. Stokes’ first was painful and ended quickly when Hasan Ali rocked his stumps. His second was a tale of fortune and luck with Pakistan dropping many chances especially off the bowling of Shadab Khan who eventually had his man caught behind. Rushed back, yes, but still as England's most senior player and with very little bowling expecting more is fair enough and a 3 is a reasonable score.
John Simpson: 4/10
Simpson was called up to the squad and was easily the biggest surprise of all the debutants in the first game. A ghost with the bat and fairly solid with the gloves it's fair to say that Simpson scoring a 4 shouldn't be a gripe with many.
Lewis Gregory: 9/10
Arguably man of the series Gregory was exceptional with the ball up top and his lower-order runs came in handy across both the 2nd and 3rd game. Gregory is a player who I earmarked as a more than feasible number 7 for England and through his combination of seam movement, middle overs bowling, and power-hitting Gregory has justified that call. Shame he couldn't see the final game through to the end but overall Gregory was excellent. Barely put a foot wrong all series a 9 is more than fair.
Craig Overton: 5/10
4 wickets at an average of 31 were hardly inspiring front the Somerset man on his return to international cricket. Often looked hittable throughout the series and lacked anything to really hurry the Pakistan batters. Bowled well in spurts throughout the series but lacked any real consistent threat. The low score is partly due to the hype around Overton and how drab his performances were.
Brydon Carse: 6/10
6 wickets for Brydon Carse but 5 of them came in the final game and in the final 5 overs when the score was already threatening 350. An economy of 5.44 reflects the role he performed as a strike bowler, often hitting an attacking line and length at a high pace but never for many rewards. Carse will hope this isn’t his last taste of international cricket. Lack of wickets throughout the series, and when it counted, was an issue but he did offer a point of difference with his high pace. Carse scores an average 6.
Matt Parkinson: 5/10
Parkinson was slow, like really slow. In the first two games he bowled well when he was facing the lower-order batters but in the third Parkinson struggled against the two set batters of Babar Azam and Mohammad Rizwan who just worked him for runs. 5 wickets at an average of 28 isn’t a bad return and overall he has cemented his spot as England's backup spinner and scores a somewhat underwhelming 5.
Saqib Mahmood: 9/10
Quite easily the pick of all the bowlers, Mahmood was excellent. Accurate, hostile, at the batters, and most of all quick, Mahmood finally delivered on all the promise he has shown in recent years for his county. 9 wickets at 13.66 are incredible in of themselves, yet it is the Strike Rate of 18.6 which is most impressive. Babar Azam could hardly play him in the first two games and Mahmood has now surely cemented his place in future ODI Squads? Pace and pure aggression mixed with wicket-taking ability mean Mahmood secures a solid 9.
Overall an excellent series for England with some exceptional performers. England have some serious depth in white-ball cricket. Do you agree with my ratings? Think I was too harsh or too kind? Let me know on Twitter @therunoutblog1