England open the One Day International series with Pakistan in Cardiff on Sunday with the first of the two Twenty20 matches.
Scandal has affected both camps in the run-up to the series, from Kevin Pietersen’s foul-mouthed rant on twitter to the huge impact the betting scam has left, and both sides will be hoping to restore some confidence to the sport on Sunday.
Pietersen has since apologised for his outburst and claims he fully understands why the England selectors left him out, but it’s a big blow for his ego ahead of the Ashes series in the winter.
Salman Butt, Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Amir will miss the series after the decision was made by Pakistan team manager, Yawar Saeed, to leave them out.
Pakistan Cricket Board chairman Ijaz Butt believes they could still play a role in the tour.
But Saeed said, “I have decided to leave them out, they have not been suspended.”
England will be looking to build on their Test series victory over Pakistan and are 4/7 to win the first T20 match on Sunday and Pietersen’s replacement, Ravi Bopara is 7/2 to be the top runscorer.
However, Pakistan defeated Australia 2-0 in their most recent T20 series and England will need to be aware of captain Shahid Afridi, and bowler Umar Gul, who are the world’s leading T20 wicket takers.
With so many changes made from the Test squads, the form of the Test series doesn’t count for much and Pakistan are the value at 5/4.
Cricket needs some inspiration which the England and Pakistan teams will hope to provide on Sunday. See the full England vs Pakistan T20 betting market here.