England captain Ben Stokes has revealed his side’s playing XI for the upcoming second Test against Pakistan, scheduled to begin on Friday, December 09, at Multan Cricket Stadium. The tourists have already won the three-match series opener in Rawalpindi and will be aiming for another win to take the unassailable 2-0 lead.
Fast bowler Mark Wood has returned as a direct replacement for all-rounder Liam Livingstone, who sustained a knee injury on day two of the Rawalpindi Test and was ruled out of the entire Test series.
Further, Ben Foakes, who missed out on the opening Test due to illness, has not found his place in the final XI despite being fully fit. Notably, Foakes had been Stokes’ go-to keeper since the Christchurch-born became captain of England, featuring in six out of seven Tests. But Ollie Pope, who did a good job behind the wickets in Rawalpindi, has retained his spot.
Stokes was sympathetic to Foakes for not including him in the XI for 2nd Test, terming him as the best technical wicketkeeper in the game right now.
“The communication to Ben was that the real positive for him to take out of this selection is that it’s just for this Test match. Foakesy still is the No. 1 gloveman in England, and I’ll still keep saying it that he’s the best keeper in the world. It must sound a bit silly to not be picking him, but you’ve got to look at the conditions we face out here. Pakistan is a very hard place to come and bowl,” said Stokes in the pre-match presser.
“Adding Mark Wood into the side gives us the best opportunity to take 20 wickets. That’s what we came here to do, we came here to try and win games of cricket, not be concerned, especially going into this game with a 1-0 lead. We want to keep continuing to press the way that we play, and we felt bringing Woody into the team was the best opportunity for us to do that out here in this specific Test match,” he added.
England XI for the second Test: Zak Crawley, Ben Duckett, Ollie Pope, Joe Root, Harry Brook, Ben Stokes, Will Jacks, Ollie Robinson, Jack Leach, Mark Wood, James Anderson.