SHARJAH - England begin their much-awaited tour of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) when they face Pakistan ‘A’ in a two-day warm-up match at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium in Sharjah on Monday.

England will look to get acclimatised to the local conditions ahead of the all-important matches against the full-strength Pakistan line-up for the upcoming tour that will feature three Tests, four One-Day Internationals (ODIs) and three Twenty20 Internationals (T20Is), as well as a one-off T20I against UAE. The visitors will be led by Alastair Cook for the upcoming match, which will be followed by another two-day warm-up against the same side. READ: James Taylor eager to shine after Test recall.

While England may not have any rigid plans for the warm-up fixtures, the skipper and the team manager might opt to field some of the players who haven’t had much international experience in the recent past. Samit Patel would be a case to consider in this aspect, for he returns to the Test side after a gap of three years and was included in the squad only as a replacement for young Zafar Ansari, who dislocated his thumb during a practice session after earning a call to the national side. James Taylor, who hasn’t played a Test in the last three years, will aim to get used to the longer format before the start of the Tests.

Among the other England players likely to feature in the warm-up would be Joe Root, who missed out on the ODI series against Australia in order to get some rest after a hectic schedule around the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015. One of the main talking points in the England camp would be the opening combination, with Moeen Ali and Alex Hales being the top contenders for opening the innings alongside Cook. While it is not clear who will open the innings in the two warm-up fixtures, chances are that the performances of the two will be closely monitored in order for the team management to take their final pick for the upcoming series.

The Pakistan ‘A’ squad, which consists of many young faces, will be led by pacer Junaid Khan with Adnan Akmal taking up the wicketkeeping responsibilities. Junaid, who did not make it to the Pakistan Test squad for the upcoming series, will look to impress the selectors in order to get ready for the one-dayers and T20Is, as will be the aim for many other members of the squad.


PAKISTAN ‘A’: Sami Aslam, Khurram Manzoor, Fawad Alam, Umar Amin, Ali Asad, Iftikhar Ahmed, Usman Salahuddin, Adnan Akmal (wk), Mohammad Asghar, Zafar Gohar, Junaid Khan (c), Ehsan Adil, Zia-ul-Haq, Mir Hamza.

ENGLAND: Alastair Cook (c), Moeen Ali, James Anderson, Jonny Bairstow, Ian Bell, Stuart Broad, Jos Buttler (wk), Steven Finn, Alex Hales, Samit Patel, Liam Plunkett, Adil Rashid, Joe Root, Ben Stokes, James Taylor, Mark Wood.