Afridi to put England in deeper spin as troubles turn to one-day series
England’s problems in coping with Pakistan’s three-pronged spin attack in the Test series have been well documented and things could soon get even worse now that the one-day encounters are set to begin.
Saeed Ajmal claimed the man of the series accolade for his 24 wickets across the three Test matches and he was ably supported by Abdur Rehman, who chipped in with a further 19.
England struggled against spin so badly on the pitches in the UAE that this pairing plus fellow spin bowler Mohammad Hafeez all ended the series with bowling averages of under 17.
This does not bode well for England ahead of the four one-day showdowns upcoming with Pakistan, with the same threesome sure to play an influential role in the outcome.
However, things may be even tougher with a fourth quality spinner set to enter the fray, as Shahid Afridi prepares to make an impact on the series.
Afridi is perhaps best known for being the joint leading wicket taker at the 2011 World Cup after collecting 21 dismissals, while his current form is also strong, helping himself to five wickets in a recent victory over Bangladesh.
Worryingly for England, Afridi is also likely to shine with the bat, as well as the ball.
Pakistan look good value at 5/4 in the cricket odds to also triumph in the one-day series and England have been far worse in this form of the game in recent years than in the Test arena.
England are 5/2 to make some amends for their Test flop with one-day series victory and the hope will be that a slightly different batting unit and the general attitude of being more aggressive will reap better rewards against the spinners.
There is the chance that the series could end all square and 7/4 is the price on the draw.