Jos Buttler looks forward to ultimate challenge against Pakistan in historic T20 tour

England to play seven-match T20 series during first tour of country in 17 years

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England landed in Pakistan on Thursday for their first tour of the country in 17 years and captain Jos Buttler said he expects his injury-hit T20 side to embrace the challenge of facing a strong Pakistan team in the seven-match series.

Security issues meant Pakistan struggled to attract visiting sides after an attack on the Sri Lankan team bus in 2009. But tours have slowly resumed in the past few years, with England the latest. Earlier this year, Australia toured successfully for the first time in nearly a quarter of a century.

England last played in Pakistan in 2005 and were due to visit last year, but cancelled at short notice after New Zealand pulled out of a tour citing safety concerns.

With a little over a month to go for the T20 World Cup in Australia, this series will be the perfect preparation for Buttler's team against Babar Azam's side that reached the final of the Asia Cup in the UAE.

“We look forward to the tough challenge and to be battle-hardened for the World Cup after this series,” said Buttler, who will miss the first few games to recover from a calf injury.

Two of England's World Cup squad members – Liam Livingstone and Chris Jordan – are also missing this series as they recover from ankle and finger injuries respectively, while Test skipper Ben Stokes was given a rest.

Buttler said he hoped the injuries would give an opportunity to other players.

“Obviously the main aim for everyone is to turn up for Australia fully ready,” added Buttler.

“Plenty of our players featured in the PSL and shared the positive experiences of being here and about how much the public love the game.

“We know Pakistan are a very great side. We look forward to challenge ourselves against them and I expect to see some great cricket.”

The wicketkeeper-batsman hoped his team and Pakistan can play an exciting series to raise the spirits of millions of people suffering from the devastating floods in the country.

Massive floods have affected more than 33 million people and displaced over half a million people who are still living in tents and makeshift accommodation.

Rising water has destroyed 70 per cent of wheat, cotton and other crops in Pakistan. At one point, a third of the country’s territory was submerged.

“These are tough times that the people of Pakistan are facing with the floods,” Buttler said.

“As a team, we’re making a donation which will be matched by the [England and Wales Cricket Board] as well to try to do a small part to help the people in need at the moment. Hopefully, some exciting games of cricket will be a small tonic to raise some spirits as well.”

The port city of Karachi will hosts four T20s from September 20-25, and the remaining games will be played in Lahore from September 28 to October 2.

England will return in December to play three Test matches.

Updated: September 15, 2022, 1:02 PM
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