By Rob Barnett
England Physical Disability’s hope of gaining revenge over Pakistan rests with their batting, according to captain Jimmy Williams.
Williams is leading England on their second trip to face Pakistan in Dubai, having lost the one-day and Twenty20 series in the same surroundings two years ago.
The 43-year-old believes England’s batting will be stronger this time, particularly given the addition of Alex Hammond and Jordan Williams.
Top-order batsman Hammond, 18, was prolific for Hampshire club Alton last year and fellow newcomer Williams, predominantly an opening bowler but also a powerful striker, has impressed for Denton West in Lancashire.
Skipper Williams, a member of the EPD set-up since its formation in 2010 who players for Cheshire-based Poynton, told ecb.co.uk: “We’ve got stronger in the batting department.
“We’re much of a muchness with the bowling and fielding side of things. If we can nail our batting element, we’ll be far more successful this time round.
“Alex scored lots of runs last summer, a very solid batsman in either format of the game. He’s probably going to be opening the batting, which strengthens us in that area.
“We’ve got Jordan to come in around five or six and give that hitting ability lower down the order.”
The EPD squad, who are overseen by head coach Chris Ellison, spent plenty of time together last season, playing around 10 games, and have trained with one another regularly over the winter at Edgbaston and the National Cricket Performance Centre in Loughborough.
They will have had four whole days in Dubai to prepare for three games in each format at the ICC Global Cricket Academy. Tomorrow they play two T20 internationals and another on Saturday, with all three to be streamed on the ECB's YouTube channel. The one-day internationals are spread over next week.
Besides all this preparation, Williams and his fellow tourists of 2012 have been able to tell the six new squad members what lies ahead in terms of conditions and opponents.
“It was a big learning experience last time,” the left-arm seamer added. “There’s nine of us here from last time so we can give the new guys here a bit of a better understanding of what to expect.”
Williams sat out today’s nine-run win over local side Golden Warriors.