Pakistan won the ODI series against Ireland by 1-0 © AFP
Pakistan won the ODI series against Ireland by 1-0 © AFP

After a hard-fought Test series which saw Pakistan rising to world No. 1 rankings, the touring side will be eager to keep making waves as they return back to England after winning two One Day International (ODI) series against Ireland. It is time for visitors to take on the hosts for their first ODI at The Rose Bowl in Southampton. Pakistan had a successful outing in their ODI series against Ireland last week in Dublin, winning the series by 1-0 as the second game was washed out. As far as momentum is concerned, both the teams will find rather difficult to adjust to the 50-over format with Pakistan getting only one game in Ireland and England playing their last ODI series against Sri Lanka in June-July.  FULL CRICKET SCORECARD: Pakistan vs England, 1st ODI at The Rose Bowl

Both the teams have made some changes from their Test squad. One will surely miss the veterans like Misbah-ul-Haq and Younis Khan for Pakistan and Alastair Cook from England in action. However, Pakistan have included two newbies to their side in the form of Mohammad Nawaz and Hasan Ali. Let us have a look at the probable XI the Pakistan captain Azhar Ali will field against England:

Top-Order: Skipper Azhar’s form has not been at its best since the New Zealand series in comparison to his score of 101 against Bangladesh in 2015. His gradual progress of 8, 22, 36 and 44 against England in their tour of UAE was better than his recent run in Tests and previous ODI against England and Ireland. Azhar will have to build his form through this series. Sharjeel Khan was exceptional in the ODI series against Ireland. He scored his maiden century and broke a few records as well in his knock of 152 runs off 86 balls. Even if Azhar is unable to regain his form, Sharjeel might cover it up for the lack of runs on the top.

Mohammad Hafeez will need to prove his mettle after severe criticisms he faced in Tests. His on and off form can be worrisome for Pakistan. From his century against England in UAE and being ordinary against Ireland is definitely drastic. Hafeez will have to build strong partnership with one of the opening batsmen, in case one of them fail to perform. ALSO READ: Pakistan vs England, 1st ODI: Key clashes

Middle-Order: Babar Azam had an excellent series against England at UAE and fared well against New Zealand as well. He will be excepted to go all guns blazing. Sarfraz Ahmed can come handy with the bat, especially in crunch situations. He was gone for two against Ireland and this time he will want to score better in this series. He is very accurate behind the stumps as well. Shoaib Malik has always been there when Pakistan needed a batsman to stabilise the innings. He can either go all out or can mellow down when needed. Mohammad Nawaz was impressive on his debut. That pretty much seals his spot against England at least for the first ODI. His partnership against Malik shows how he can be a reliable source in the middle.

Lower-Order & Bowling: Imad Wasim will be playing lower down in the order and has never got an opportunity to showcase his talent with the bat. But his five-wicket haul made him the star of the match, after Sharjeel’s blitz against Ireland. Can he repeat the same against a tougher side like England? That is something to watch out for. Hasan Ali is another new comer for Pakistan. He is yet to show his batting and bowling prowess to the fullest. This increases the burden on Yasir Shah but his 11-wicket haul against England in first Test and consistency keeps him ahead for the first ODI. He has the power to rattle the hosts. ALSO READ: Pakistan are No. 1 and cricket is proud of it

Mohammad Aamer will be ready to take on the likes of Jason Roy and Alex Hales. He can also bat around a bit and has a few powerful shots in his arsenal. The pace unit will be incomplete without the veteran and comeback man, Umar Gul. With a three-wicket haul against Ireland, the hosts will need to be wary about this pacer.

Pakistan Likely XI: Azhar Ali (c), Sharjeel Khan, Mohammad Hafeez, Babar Azam, Sarfraz Ahmed (wk), Shoaib Malik, Mohammad Nawaz, Imad Wasim, Yasir Shah, Mohammad Aamer and Umar Gul.

(Shruti Hariharan is Content Writer with CricketCountry. You can follow her on Twitter at @Shruti_2890)