England narrowly defeat Pakistan

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England have scored a 2-1 series victory in the Natwest challenge against Pakistan.

All credit must go to this young England side which has been assembled in the aftermath of another disappointing world cup.
As usual, many of the old guard have either retired or been cast aside and the bright young things of English cricket have been brought in to the squad.

This is very much an experimental squad and one which will be tested further against South Africa and Zimbabwe in the forthcoming triangular tournament.

However, the old hands which remain still have an important part to play.

Marcus Trescothick showed what a destructive batsman he can be and the return of Darren Gough provides England’s seam attack with some much-needed experience, although Andy Flintoff’s bowling gets better with every match he plays.

Of the youngsters, James Anderson continues his meteoric rise, and his hat-trick in the second game confirms his potential.

Vikram Solanki batted well at the top of the order, and James Troughton also impressed, though he didn’t make as many runs as he would have liked.

The biggest compliment to the wicket-keeper Chris Read, is – barring his innings in the final game – he went virtually unnoticed, and if a wicket-keeper goes unnoticed that means he is not making any mistakes.

Rikki Clarke and Anthony McGrath still have some work to do to cement their places.

Captain Michael Vaughan showed intelligence and an attacking instinct, something his predecessor, Nasser Hussain, had often been accused of lacking, preferring to be conservative rather than risk giving away runs.

The only negative issue surrounding Vaughan is his well-earned reputation as one of the world’s top batsmen.

The English press are notorious for building sportsmen up only to knock them down and hopefully, bearing this in mind, Vaughan will rediscover his best form for later this summer.

The signs are encouraging for England’s new generation and the most refreshing thing about this team is their positive nature.

With the likes of Paul Collingwood and Simon Jones returning from injury, this squad can only get stronger; and if Vaughan can maintain the spirit then this England team can become a force to be reckoned with in international one-day cricket.