Cricket

Allan Lamb warns not to expect too much from England in the next few months

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Allan Lamb fears England's Ashes heroes could be in for a rude awakening over the next few months.

Alastair Cook's side, fresh from regaining the urn in a see-saw series against Australia this summer, head to the United Arab Emirates to face Pakistan next month.

They then embark on a tour of South Africa to take on the number one ranked Test nation and former England batsman Lamb has warned against expecting too much too soon from an up-and-coming team.

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"It will be hard for us to beat Pakistan," Lamb told Press Association Sport. "We are still growing and we may have jumped the hurdles too quickly, beating Australia which no one thought we would do.

"We've been pegged back in the one-dayers but if we'd won that it would have made a big difference - people would be on too much of a high. So Pakistan will be difficult and then we have South Africa - it's going to be tough.

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"These can be very tough tours. I'm sure (director of cricket) Andrew Strauss is looking over a four-year period to build his this team up. So I think don't expect too much. We have some young players coming through, let's see how they go."

One of the major talking points ahead of the autumn is who will open the batting alongside captain Cook.

Adam Lyth was dropped after a poor Ashes series but Lamb is unconvinced by the alternatives, either moving Moeen Ali to the top of the order or turning to uncapped Nottinghamshire batsman Alex Hales.

"Unfortunately Lyth has been dropped due to his failures but he's a good player and I'm sure he'll come back," added Lamb. "They've got to work out who's going to open, that's the big thing. Moeen Ali is just a bit too loose to open, and Alex Hales hasn't really done anything to deserve a spot.

"They are talking about Moeen opening and bringing in Adil Rashid, and Rashid has to play. Spin will be the key, especially in Dubai, where the wickets are like India and Pakistan."

Lamb was speaking ahead of the Cricket For Heroes match at The Oval on Thursday, for which tickets are still available.

MS Dhoni, Brian Lara, Brendon McCullum and a host of other world-class stars will be on show when a Help for Heroes XI, captained by Strauss, take on a Rest of the World XI in a Twenty 20 match.

"The players are playing for free because they know what a worthy cause it is, to help our injured servicemen," said Lamb. "They've all come over here to entertain, so it should be good fun."

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