England vs Pakistan 2021 – England’s success in opening ODI shows depth of talent in county game

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One of five men to debut in nine-wicket win over Pakistan hopes opportunity could lead to World Cup selection

Lewis Gregory believes England’s success in the first ODI of the series against Pakistan demonstrates the depth of talent within the county game and the strength of domestic competitions.

And Gregory, one of five men to make his ODI debut as England cruised to a nine-wicket victory, hopes the unexpected opportunity for county players to show what they can do on the international stage could lead to some of them breaking into the T20 or 50-over World Cup squads.

There is a danger that the quality of England’s performances of late could be minimised by concerns over the strength of their opposition. And it’s true that Sri Lanka, who were well beaten in both limited-overs formats in recent days, are a shadow of the team that routinely used to thrash England out of sight.

But this Pakistan team actually have an impressive record. Before arriving in Cardiff, they had lost just one of their 12 previous completed ODIs and, if they win at Lord’s, they could still rise to second in the World Cup Super League. They didn’t enjoy perfect preparation, it is true, but England’s success against them is no mean achievement in any circumstances. Coming, as it did, with a hastily-assembled squad lacking around 20 of the best white-ball cricketers in the land, it was even more impressive.

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