England holds first training session ahead of Pakistan series

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By our correspondent

KARACHI: England cricket team on Friday held their first training session here at the lush green National Stadium to begin preparation for the seven-match T20 series against Pakistan.

The series also will be a prelude to the ICC T20 World Cup which will be held in Australia in October-November.

The series will begin with the opener here on September 20. English team had landed in the provincial metropolis on Thursday.

With the flags of both Pakistan and England fluttering inside the venue, England team was brought to the stadium in bulletproof vehicles amid thick security arrangements. Even three hours before the team movement from hotel to the venue large contingents of police were seen on the Shahra-e-Faisal.

The SSU units, as usual, had taken control of the venue. Around 7:15 pm English players got onto the lush-green park and started warm-up with football. After 20 minutes of such exercise the players also held a stretching session before doing some light running. It was followed by fielding and catching practice in different groups. And at 8pm they went into the nets. Three nets had been installed for practice purposes on well-prepared tracks, with two near the scoreboard and one in the centre where English players practiced.

The NSK ground-staff was also seen rolling the pitches on which matches will be played between the two sides.

This is after long 16 years that England team have arrived in Pakistan. They had toured Pakistan last time in 2005 for a full-fledged Test and ODI series held from October to December.

Meanwhile Pakistan team players had also started assembling in the team hotel on Friday. According to a Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) source all the players had been advised to report at the hotel until 12pm Friday night.

Pakistan team, which recently played Asia Cup final in the UAE, will also hold its first practice session here at the NSK on Saturday (today) at 7pm. The team was announced on Thursday and some fresh faces in the shape of leggie Abrar Ahmad and all-rounder Amir Jamal will also be seen.

Karachi will be hosting four matches which will be held on September 20, 22, 23 and 25. The second leg matches will be held at the Gaddafi Stadium Lahore on September 28, September 30 and October 2.

The players who practiced included Jos Buttler (captain), Moeen Ali (vice-captain), Harry Brook, Jordan Cox, Sam Curran, Ben Duckett, Liam Dawson, Richard Gleeson, Alex Hales, Tom Helm, Will Jacks, Dawid Malan, Adil Rashid, Phil Salt, Olly Stone, Reece Topley, David Willey, Chris Woakes, Luke Wood and Mark Wood.

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