Saad Shafqat August 25, 2010

A tribute to Pakistan's resilience

Going into the final Test at Lord's, Pakistan find themselves in a position they have never been in before
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Going into the final Test at Lord's, Pakistan find themselves in a position they have never been in before. On only four previous occasions have they bounced back to win a Test match after being 2-0 down. These were all unexpected victories, and most fans will be able to recall them without much mental effort. It happened in West Indies in 1958 (where the deficit was actually 3-0), in Australia in 1981 and 1995, and at home against Sri Lanka in 2000. Neither of these can be considered a genuine comeback, however, because in each case the series was already lost and the contest had been reduced to a dead rubber.

Now ask yourself, how many times has Pakistan bounced back to win a ‘live’ Test after being 2-0 down? The answer is never - until last week at the Oval. Coming from behind is surely the greatest achievement in any battle, including sporting ones. Of all the things that made Oval 2010 special for Pakistan - rise of new blood, return of a legend, emergence of a healthy captain-coach combination, and psychological exorcism of a forfeit - it is this statistic that is perhaps the most special, and it conveys the scale of the accomplishment.

It isn’t that Pakistan haven’t bounced back before. No less than sixteen times have they recovered to win a Test after being 1-0 down. But keeping a series alive after being 2 Tests down is at a different level altogether. You find yourself flat on the mat, shoulders pinned down and your breath squeezed out. Even raising your head from that position is a huge effort, let alone getting back on your feet and delivering a knock out.

More impressive still are the non-cricketing factors that were surmounted, foremost of which is the negativism that has taken hold of Pakistan’s cricket-following public. Coming on the heels of hard times in Pakistan’s economy, society, and politics – not to mention the worst floods in anyone’s memory – this is no ordinary negativism but a fevered and deafening chorus of naysayers to which even the most diehard optimists have fallen prey. To be sure, the sense of doom and gloom is not unwarranted – Pakistan’s spineless batting performances and preposterous posturing from the PCB have certainly been a very trying combination for the fans – but it does underscore the deep confidence deficit that the team overcame.

Will this newfound momentum count for something at Lord’s? There are some encouraging indications that it will. Mohammad Yousuf’s presence has served as a potent batting tincture that is finally providing the bowlers with some decent scores to bowl at. Meanwhile the bowling is skilled enough to overpower any opposition so long as there are runs on the board. If the catching also comes off as it did at the Oval, then Pakistan could well tie the series after being 2-0 down – a feat that has not been performed in Test cricket in over 50 years.

England are armed with arguably the best side in the world, supported by a stable administrative infrastructure, an astute coach, a retinue of assistants and analysts, and a tradition of method and application. Pakistan's assets are less tangible – raw talent, the innocence of youth, and an internal rhythm whose psychology and chemistry defy logic. They must also draw inspiration from Pakistani heroes known for English exploits in decades past. Fazal Mahmood, Zaheer Abbas, Imran Khan and Javed Miandad are names they have grown up with. Then there is Waqar Younis sitting as coach in the dressing room, and Wasim Akram sitting inside their heads as a publicly embraced idol.

Perhaps most important of all is Pakistan’s stealth weapon – the sane and stable captaincy of Salman Butt, and his productive equation with Waqar. Butt has now captained his team to two wins from four Tests, playing against top opposition away from home. He is obviously doing something right. If the intelligent and articulate manner in which he conducts himself during the post-match conference is any indication, he is headed for a long and fruitful tenure. This would normally be great news for the fans, but in Pakistan it evokes fears that the PCB bosses, with their reverse-Midas touch of turning gold to dust, will get to him before long. One can only hope and pray it will not be so.

If all this is new territory for Pakistan, it is also a highly unexpected spot for England. Confirmation of England’s discomfort came from coach Andy Flower, who gave a testy response to Salman Butt’s endorsement of Australia as Ashes favorites. Throughout the summer, England have viewed Pakistan as merely a savory appetizer before the grand feast of the Ashes is tackled Down Under. Now the appetizer has released an acrid taste at the Oval and is threatening to get stuck in the throat at Lord’s.

Saad Shafqat is a writer based in Karachi

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Jalab Pushaab on September 21, 2010, 15:56 GMT

    "the sane and stable captaincy of Salman Butt"

    I wont say anything as you're articles are sincere.

  • Toescrusher on August 28, 2010, 16:15 GMT

    Pakistan tour of England, 4th Test: England v Pakistan at Lord's, Aug 26-30, 2010

    England 446 Pakistan 74 & 2/0 (0.5 ov)

    A tribute to Pakistan's resilience?

  • Friend on August 27, 2010, 17:30 GMT

    This article reeks of the subcontinental tendency to make too much out of one (or a few) results. Truth be told, Pakistan cricket has been long-term decline mirroring the increased political turmoil within the nation.

    As an Indian, the feeling when an Indo-Pak match is on is not the same anymore. Till the mid-90's, Pakistan had the edge over us. Each chap in your 11 was a potential matchwinner. And what a bowling attack you guys had. Imran Khan and the 2 W's were probably the best pace trio to play at the same time (at some point) for any country. And you had two amazing spinners in Mushtaq and Saqlain, both legends in their own right.

  • Jacob on August 27, 2010, 10:31 GMT

    LOL, one victory and Pakistan are world beaters already! Anyone can bowl in swinging conditions. Even ordinary bowlers look like world beaters in swing friendly english conditions. The tircky part is bowling when the sun is shining down and on a flat pitch. Pakistan bowlers were found wanting in flatter aussie wickets.

  • Mian Waheed on August 27, 2010, 5:50 GMT

    Till such time we dont get rid of Ijaz Butt-Pakistan cricket will never improve.He is the biggest hurdle for that.

  • Hassan on August 26, 2010, 16:16 GMT

    personally think this is just a beginning for bigger things to come.Would absolutely love to see pakistan level the series.Beautifully written article well thought sir..

  • Toescrusher on August 26, 2010, 15:23 GMT

    When Pakistan is able to chase at least 300 runs in the forth inning only then they deserve high recognition. With the present team comprise of players from Punjab a region known for producing bowlers holding key batting positions doesn’t shows even a glimpse of hope that they can ever be able to chase 300 runs in the fourth inning. Salman Butt will keep on talking big since he was told to do so you are in naïve world if you pay more attention to his remarks then it really requires else you are just feeling good; getting out on 70s and 80s suggests that we are not far from club cricketers category. Remembering acidic appetizer given to England and completely forgetting the poisonous appetizer given to Pakistan by England and Australia is a mind set of the fantasy world.

  • Iqbal Hassan on August 26, 2010, 12:27 GMT

    Hey Guys.!!!!!!!!!!!!pls stop dreaming...Pakistan is the weakest team today....even weaker than Bangladesh...Accept or dont accept it...our choice..Dont go by bowling efforts in England..every bowler can be effective in these conditions...Even Umar Amin could take wickets...Shane Watson who is not a specialist bowler could take 2 FIVERS...The areas we need to improve are batting and fielding...unless we improve we can be in the cadre....Dont make heros out of normal performers....Look at Umer Akmal...he is yet to score 1000 runs and averages in low 30's has been made a super star out of nothing.....Hold on guys...!!

  • TARIQ on August 26, 2010, 10:09 GMT

    WELL!ITS TOO EARLY TO PREDICT ANYTHING ABOUT THE WORLDS MOST UNPREDICTIBLE TEAM.NO DOUBT THE TEAM IS IN GOOD SPIRITS BUT THEY WILL HAVE TO KEEP THE SAME MOMENTUM AND OF COURSE THEY NEED TO IMPROVE THEIR BATTING AND FIELDING AS WELL.THEN ONLY THE "GREEN TEAM" IS GOING TO BECOME INVINCIBLE.ALL THE BEST "GO GREEN TEAM GO"

  • Taimur Khan on August 26, 2010, 9:16 GMT

    The series is deliciously poised! If Pakistan win the toss & decide to bat under overcast conditions, we can have another double digit total since the Pakistan top order (bar Yousaf) is in callapso mode. Even if the ball does not swing, they are a par 200 side, if it swings, par 120, if it swings & seams, par 80, if it swings, seams & bounces (as in SA and Adelaide) we'll see a new world record bettering 26 all out of a century ago, provided they don't play Yousaf, Younis or Hameed). But if England bat under clouds & ball seams & swings (Lords) and Waqar has taught the bowlers how to blow the tail (& they've worked our Prior) England could go for under 140. Cook has averaged under 5 bar one knock, Strauss, Morgan, Peterson & Collingwood average less than 15 if all catches were taken by Pakistan this summer, and Trott wastes the productive period after the shine goes & before ball get old (read reverse & doosra). If it clears up for Pak, we could have another lead & another win 4 Pak

  • Jalab Pushaab on September 21, 2010, 15:56 GMT

    "the sane and stable captaincy of Salman Butt"

    I wont say anything as you're articles are sincere.

  • Toescrusher on August 28, 2010, 16:15 GMT

    Pakistan tour of England, 4th Test: England v Pakistan at Lord's, Aug 26-30, 2010

    England 446 Pakistan 74 & 2/0 (0.5 ov)

    A tribute to Pakistan's resilience?

  • Friend on August 27, 2010, 17:30 GMT

    This article reeks of the subcontinental tendency to make too much out of one (or a few) results. Truth be told, Pakistan cricket has been long-term decline mirroring the increased political turmoil within the nation.

    As an Indian, the feeling when an Indo-Pak match is on is not the same anymore. Till the mid-90's, Pakistan had the edge over us. Each chap in your 11 was a potential matchwinner. And what a bowling attack you guys had. Imran Khan and the 2 W's were probably the best pace trio to play at the same time (at some point) for any country. And you had two amazing spinners in Mushtaq and Saqlain, both legends in their own right.

  • Jacob on August 27, 2010, 10:31 GMT

    LOL, one victory and Pakistan are world beaters already! Anyone can bowl in swinging conditions. Even ordinary bowlers look like world beaters in swing friendly english conditions. The tircky part is bowling when the sun is shining down and on a flat pitch. Pakistan bowlers were found wanting in flatter aussie wickets.

  • Mian Waheed on August 27, 2010, 5:50 GMT

    Till such time we dont get rid of Ijaz Butt-Pakistan cricket will never improve.He is the biggest hurdle for that.

  • Hassan on August 26, 2010, 16:16 GMT

    personally think this is just a beginning for bigger things to come.Would absolutely love to see pakistan level the series.Beautifully written article well thought sir..

  • Toescrusher on August 26, 2010, 15:23 GMT

    When Pakistan is able to chase at least 300 runs in the forth inning only then they deserve high recognition. With the present team comprise of players from Punjab a region known for producing bowlers holding key batting positions doesn’t shows even a glimpse of hope that they can ever be able to chase 300 runs in the fourth inning. Salman Butt will keep on talking big since he was told to do so you are in naïve world if you pay more attention to his remarks then it really requires else you are just feeling good; getting out on 70s and 80s suggests that we are not far from club cricketers category. Remembering acidic appetizer given to England and completely forgetting the poisonous appetizer given to Pakistan by England and Australia is a mind set of the fantasy world.

  • Iqbal Hassan on August 26, 2010, 12:27 GMT

    Hey Guys.!!!!!!!!!!!!pls stop dreaming...Pakistan is the weakest team today....even weaker than Bangladesh...Accept or dont accept it...our choice..Dont go by bowling efforts in England..every bowler can be effective in these conditions...Even Umar Amin could take wickets...Shane Watson who is not a specialist bowler could take 2 FIVERS...The areas we need to improve are batting and fielding...unless we improve we can be in the cadre....Dont make heros out of normal performers....Look at Umer Akmal...he is yet to score 1000 runs and averages in low 30's has been made a super star out of nothing.....Hold on guys...!!

  • TARIQ on August 26, 2010, 10:09 GMT

    WELL!ITS TOO EARLY TO PREDICT ANYTHING ABOUT THE WORLDS MOST UNPREDICTIBLE TEAM.NO DOUBT THE TEAM IS IN GOOD SPIRITS BUT THEY WILL HAVE TO KEEP THE SAME MOMENTUM AND OF COURSE THEY NEED TO IMPROVE THEIR BATTING AND FIELDING AS WELL.THEN ONLY THE "GREEN TEAM" IS GOING TO BECOME INVINCIBLE.ALL THE BEST "GO GREEN TEAM GO"

  • Taimur Khan on August 26, 2010, 9:16 GMT

    The series is deliciously poised! If Pakistan win the toss & decide to bat under overcast conditions, we can have another double digit total since the Pakistan top order (bar Yousaf) is in callapso mode. Even if the ball does not swing, they are a par 200 side, if it swings, par 120, if it swings & seams, par 80, if it swings, seams & bounces (as in SA and Adelaide) we'll see a new world record bettering 26 all out of a century ago, provided they don't play Yousaf, Younis or Hameed). But if England bat under clouds & ball seams & swings (Lords) and Waqar has taught the bowlers how to blow the tail (& they've worked our Prior) England could go for under 140. Cook has averaged under 5 bar one knock, Strauss, Morgan, Peterson & Collingwood average less than 15 if all catches were taken by Pakistan this summer, and Trott wastes the productive period after the shine goes & before ball get old (read reverse & doosra). If it clears up for Pak, we could have another lead & another win 4 Pak

  • fer on August 26, 2010, 9:05 GMT

    good one!

  • arsalan on August 26, 2010, 9:00 GMT

    well said- quite true as well

  • Mohammed Meeran on August 26, 2010, 8:19 GMT

    Pakistan is a very good team. If they want to become No:1 in International Cricket then they need unity. They have to divide the team for all the formats of the game. For Example: Younis Khan is a perfect test cricketer & cannot play in T20 format, while Razzaq is a specialist in shorter format.

    They need to isolate the team depending on the format.

    For ODI & T20

    Salman Butt / Misbah ul Haq Imran Nazir / Nasir Jamshed Umar Akmal Shoaib Malik / Mohammad Yousuf (ODI) Abdul Razzaq Kamran Akmal Shahid Afridi Umar Gul / Sohail Tanvir Mohammad Amir Saeed Ajmal Mohammad Asif / Rana Naved / Shoaib Akhtar

    For ODI & T20

    Salman Butt / Misbah ul Haq Imran Nazir / Nasir Jamshed Umar Akmal Shoaib Malik / Mohammad Yousuf (ODI) Abdul Razzaq Kamran Akmal Shahid Afridi Umar Gul / Sohail Tanvir Mohammad Amir Saeed Ajmal Mohammad Asif / Rana Naved / Shoaib Akhtar

    For Test Add Azhar Ali, Yasir Hameed, Danish Kaneria, Mohammad Yousuf & Younis Khan.

  • Farhan haider on August 26, 2010, 8:13 GMT

    Pakistan Team is hoping for 2nd win against England and as are fans.This will be the real test of character for the pakistani batsmen, and also hope for the bowlers to deliver again as they are doing previously.Any how Good luck Pakistan

  • Omer on August 26, 2010, 7:56 GMT

    I love those last two lines... savoury appetizer, Really well said!!

  • Muhammad Fazil Sheikh on August 26, 2010, 7:49 GMT

    My team for ODI 1.Salman Butt 2.Kamran Akmal 3.Muhammad Hafiz/Fawad Alam 4.Muhammad Yousauf 5.Umar Akmal 6.Shahid Afridi 7.Abdul Razzaq 8.Muhammad Amir 9.Umer Gul 10.Saeed Ajmal 11.Shoaib Akhter

  • Subhasis on August 26, 2010, 6:44 GMT

    Best of Luck Pakistan Team...play well..Level the series!!

  • Abdul Quddoos on August 26, 2010, 6:39 GMT

    At last PCB makes good decision..

    Drop Shoaib Malik who was whole curse in team. Thanks God someone is still have thinking brain in PCB

  • Saad bin Rasheed on August 26, 2010, 6:22 GMT

    First off all, hats off to Saad for a wounder full article, it is really a morale booster. As far as Ejaz butt is concern, he is working in isolation and that is not good for Pakistan cricket and we hope and pray that management of PCB will be changed soon. Oval's victory was outstanding and most importantly the quality of test cricket which we got in last test match was fantastic. This kind of test matches are very good for the game.

  • Najeeb on August 26, 2010, 6:18 GMT

    I still believe, its too early to comment on salman butt captaincy capabilities. He first needs to prove himself as a consistent batsman. This is the 1st task ahead for him because its his batting for which he is in the team. You can't live as a team who wins unfortunately. You should be a habitual winner

  • dmqi on August 26, 2010, 4:35 GMT

    Well, Pakistani writers are very good in writing articles but reality is different. Mohammad Yusuf may not be as successful in 4th test as he was in the 3rd test. Same could be true for Azhar Ali. God Forbids, if that happen, who is going to fill up those two gaps? No one. Now think, if Younus Khan and Fuad Alam were also in this team, how much confidence and support would the bowlers and the tail enders would receive. I would not give much credit to Salman Butt as Pak won two important matches ( just barely) against the heavy defeat they received for drop catches and poor team selection. As long as Ijaz Butt's undue hold will be there in the team selection, Pakistan will suffer. The coach and captain should have the guts to tell I. Butt, that they must get the best resources, otherwise they will find their way out. That arrogant shameless person should not spoil good cricketer's career.

  • Babar Shameem on August 26, 2010, 3:18 GMT

    There, indeed, is a tremendous opportunity for Pakistan to redeem themselves ... batsmen will have to play out of their skins ... two centurions are required if Pakistan are to win ... time for Yousuf and Salman to step up ... for Kamran Akmal to find his form ...

    By the way, Salman's record as captain stands at 2-3, not 2-2 ... he's captained two against Aussies and three against the Poms ....

  • Hassan on August 26, 2010, 1:26 GMT

    Pakistan is a land of Great Fast Bowlers, We have produced fast bowler like Sarfaraz Nawaz, Imran Khan, Wasim Akram, Waqar Younis, Aqib Jawed, Shoaib Akhter, Mohammad Asif, Mohammad Amir and now the latest addition of Wahab Riaz. I am excited to see Irfan, i have seen him bowling in the domestic cricket and he looks good but we won't know unitl we give him a chance to prove himself like Wahab.

  • Waqar Qazi on August 26, 2010, 0:46 GMT

    I think the unpredictability of Pakistan team is attributed to the fact that their fielding is unpredictable!!! When they field well, one gets 90% sure they'll win! And the players, they know it... They Know, the only problem with their team is their catching and fielding... So even if they lose a match with a big margin, they go into next match with a hope they can win if the catching is good or if maximum of opposition is clean bowled or given LBW with minimum part played by the unpredictable fielders.. In Pakistan fielding is not given much importance. And I guess fielding plays minimum part in selection of players in Pakistan. Take S Ajmal. He only bowls well but he's a horrible fielder. I saw posts which suggested Pakistan would have been a super team if pakistan had Sehwag and Tendulkar in their batting line up! I disagree... Pakistan would have been a super team if they had fielders of Aussie calibre!

  • DesiHungama on August 25, 2010, 23:57 GMT

    What I'm interested in seeing is how Butt and Afridi coexist when success knocks at their feet and how the players around them respond. Go Pakistan Cricket!

  • Shan on August 25, 2010, 23:43 GMT

    Great piece, Saad. You should take over the 'Pakspin' blog- I don't even bother reading that column.

  • MirzaSaheb on August 25, 2010, 23:17 GMT

    Well written article Saad. I think the only two factors that were different in the last test were that Pakistan(read Akmal)did not drop any catches and Yusuf lent sanity and confidence to the batting. Otherwise with dropped catches the results may have been entirely different - you can't play 11 versus 16 each time and expect to win! Regarding Salman Butt and his batting form, if his educated demeanor is able to impart intelligence and craft to Pakistan's captaincy and inspire the team, who knows we may have our own Brearley - "useful" batsman but worthy captain.

  • Anonymous on August 25, 2010, 23:16 GMT

    well done bro u really make pak proud n us too.

  • inshi on August 25, 2010, 22:03 GMT

    go pakistan GO! our prayers are with you- yousuf repeat your 2006 performance at Lords!!

  • Zeeshan on August 25, 2010, 21:42 GMT

    Great article mate, i and hoping English will bat tomorrow and Paksitan will get them all out before 200, i really wish that, secondly there is no doubt what so ever that we can win this from here onwards, the only thing which we need to concentrate is our fieling, fingers croos we will swallow all our chance, Bowling is good and the Batting is coming of age slowly and surely ...come on boys go for it

  • mirwais on August 25, 2010, 21:27 GMT

    i dont think if pakistani team can win a one day match with out shahid afridi man,if pak team plays with confedence,tht thy dont have in themself they can be the real heros at all time.Because they have that talant that even one hase it,even not Aust,but theyr louking self confendence that i dont know y they dont have that.wish them best of luck in the fourth test against eng,but we belive in pak team tht they can be world chapms again amin

  • ali_a on August 25, 2010, 21:25 GMT

    Good performance from Pakistan. But I would still stay it was possible in some part due to calmness that Yousuf brought to the team. S Butt is a good captain, but I think Younis still has few years left as a captain with Butt his deputy. Please don't take any side for Mr. "short-cut" Afridi who ditched the team in the middle and fled. Come to think of it, he's the captain of ODIs (I am ok with him for 20-20). But unless Pak has Younis as ODI captain, they cannot win the WC. Afridi thinks he single-handedly won the 20/20, but it happened under leadership of Younis who brought some maturity to Afridi's batting in 20-20. Look what happened after that, Mr Afridi has been back to his old batting of 10-20 runs here and there. Younis experience is still far better that some of the youngsters, and we need to keep a balance of youth and experience in the side. Also to remind that until last match it was Pak bowling (aka due to Waqar) that kept them in the game- so all this talk of age is bullsh

  • zubair on August 25, 2010, 21:18 GMT

    My odi Team for England tour will be :

    Salman butt Kamran akmal Yousaf Umar akmal Azhar ali Shahid Afirdi Abdul Razzaq M amir Saeed Ajmal Umar Gul Asif / Shoaib akhtat

    bt I know that the pakistan will go wid this team Salman butt. Shahzaib Hassan Azhar ali Yousaf Umar akmal Sahahid Afridi Kamran akmal M amir Saeed ajaml Shoaib akhtar Asif

    good luck to them

  • sanambaywafa on August 25, 2010, 21:18 GMT

    great Ariticle. I love the last paragraph. "Appetizer stuck in the throat". I hope it really stuck Inshallah.

  • zubair on August 25, 2010, 21:09 GMT

    i dont read all the artical bt i ve read some comments though. All the ppl predicting abt the ashes that aussies ill win easyly. i dont think it ill be easy for aussies to beat Englnd. England batting line up is better than aus.

  • Pawan on August 25, 2010, 20:53 GMT

    Excellent article by Saad Shafqat. Mohammad Amir and Asif are the best Fast bowlers in World. All Pakistan needs is few good middle order batsmen and i totaly agree with the team to persist with Azhar Ali.Pakistan cant rely on Mohammad Yusuf, need to nurture youngsters. Hope Pakistan batsman comes out with flying colors at Lords and post a very good total.

  • ruzo on August 25, 2010, 19:56 GMT

    Always been a huge fan of Pakistan pacers' raw talent ... except when they play against India :). Still vividly remember the days when Waqar wreaked havoc in England with his inswinging banana yorkers , so much so that writers/commentators would say "waqared" instead of saying "yorked" ! Real/test cricket needs real mean ... bring back Younis Khan for tests .

  • Wasim-88 on August 25, 2010, 19:31 GMT

    @ Sanjeev - I totally agree with your comments . We Pakistanis at times do get carried away and I am pretty sure there are equivalent number of similar fans in India .

    People loose focus very quickly . One test win has made Salman Butt an increasingly reliable Capt , just wait for a loss and all of his weaknesses will overshadow any good that he has . Very similar to the way Indians treated Dhoni after T20 worldcup win and a subsequent loss in the latest T20 WC .

    It is the psyche of our people and only the great Imran khan decoded it when he said " Never pay heed to public opinion as it is subject to rapid change , just concentrate on the task at hand "

    Best of luck PK !!

  • Ejaz Siddiqui on August 25, 2010, 19:18 GMT

    Good Article Saad, Best of luck team Pakistan.

  • Murtaza on August 25, 2010, 19:08 GMT

    "England are armed with arguably the best side in the world"

    Come on!, this is out of context, Neither England nor Australia are top three best sides let alone the best side!!!

    I would consider progress until Pakistan get results against Sri Lanka, South Africa, and their biggest opponent India (who are No. 1 after all) A Test series against India represent the pinnacle for both teams, the shear mental, pressure, and physical ability are tested to the limit. Beating or losing to England will really won't make difference, as conditions play a lerge part than skills.

    Give me Amir, Asif, Gul, Ajmal against Sehwag, Tendulkar, Dravid, Laxman now that's real test against proper players. Eoin Morgan who??

    GO PAKISTAN!!! PS Umar Akmal should be promoted as ultra-aggressive opener.

  • safwan on August 25, 2010, 18:40 GMT

    only if pakistan had a wicketkeeper instead of a volley ball player (kamran akmal), they wudnt have lost in sydney or at leeds or at trentbridge. They need to replace the useless imran farhat with khurram manzoor, azhar ali with younis khan, and the preposterously incompetent umar amin with the excellent fawad alam. our test team should read: khurram manzoor, salman butt, younis khan, mohammad yousuf, umar akmal, fawad alam, zulqarnanin haider/sarfraz ahmed, mohammad aamer, saaed ajmal, mohammad asif, wahhab riaz/umar gul.

  • Hashir on August 25, 2010, 18:35 GMT

    Excellent piece as usual Dr Shafqat. Hope this managerial team (Aqib and Ijaz seem to be doing a good job, in addition to Waqar) and Butt are given a long run. If only the great sage known as Ijaz Butt would see some reason and let Younis back in the squad..... we'd have a pretty useful team then.

  • GopalaKrishna on August 25, 2010, 18:33 GMT

    On my comments on few blogs of Kamran Abbasi..I was predicting Pakistan to win at least one test against England and they did that.My expectations of this team are nothing but know they have potential to be world beaters with this bowling attack and only with improved batting.Yousuf gives bit credibility to their batting but still they need a lot of application and focus in order to face world bowling attacks. This captain is very impresive and PCB if it has any since of purpose has to trust it's faith in this captain and team. Elements like S Malik and even Kamaran Akmal and other couple of wrong attitude guys must be fixed once for all for this Pakistan cricket and it's Captain to perform better.

  • waheed on August 25, 2010, 18:26 GMT

    That's one of the problems with Pakistani fans, they exaggerate a small achievement too much and thus exerting too much pressure on the team, which is very inexperienced yet..

    We should wait and see, and don't over-expect.. England has alot of seasoned players and it's their home ground too..

  • adnan on August 25, 2010, 18:14 GMT

    i wish all the best of luck to pakistan for the 4th test..inshaAllah we will win...

  • fhs on August 25, 2010, 18:12 GMT

    Salman Butt must shine as a batsman /play captain innings. He must come at #1 position and stay at the crease for long period of time /make centuries. This will allow him to demand the same deliverables for rest of the players. Bottom line - everything will be fixed if the captain performs.

  • Immad Azim on August 25, 2010, 18:06 GMT

    All said is true, but in my opinion Pakistan may well find themselves at the loosing end,in spite of all the positives highlighted; mainly because of their inconsistency and complacency which creeps in after every bright performance. Moreover, England would be bent upon to improve their shortcomings, and as they are methodical in their approach, they are likely to overcome their opponents' short periods of brilliance. Having written that, I sincerely wish I prove wrong. On the topic of Salman Butt's improved show as a captain and his sensible handling of media, as expected PCB bosses would not like a logical person to confront them, so his tenure is expected to be spoilt in another PCB peculiar style; though I again wish to be wrong. But Insha Allah, sooner we will get rid of an egoistic Ijaz Butt and Pakistan Cricket may well prosper Insha Allah.

  • sohail ahmed on August 25, 2010, 18:00 GMT

    Good analysis. Although Salman is young, raw and yet to learn a lot, the problem is always with our men when they are supposed to speak tactfully; he has to be careful on that account.... Winning strategy includes giving least extras, minimum dropped catches, no missed run-outs, bowling according to a well-set field plan, knowing weaknesses of opponent batsmen. Likewise, batting has to be according to book, i.e., measured against type of balls being received by the batsmen, hitting in areas where fielding and catching is least probable, keep the shots low as far as possible, taking safe air route only where fielders are close etc. All these points have to be shared with the players almost during every over being bowled. That is an area where pakistanis have to work hard. Off the field, they have to take full rest before coming to the ground.

    Obviously, Salman will have to bat well; Azhar, Umar and Kamran will have to deliver with bat. That is how the Lord's match can be won.

  • Ali on August 25, 2010, 17:58 GMT

    Imran Farhat Yasir Hameed Salman Butt, Mohammad Yousuf, Azhar Ali, Umar Akmal Kamran Akmal (wk) Mohammad Amir, Umer GUl Saeed Ajmal, Mohammad Asif

  • Lance Gibbs on August 25, 2010, 17:55 GMT

    Very well written Mr. Shafqat. Good points. Pakistan's problem has always been consistency. Lets hope they can pull it off in Lords. Especially in light of the recent agro evident in comments between the players of both the teams. Will depend on the amount of runs made by the batsmen. We need younis khan a victim of politics.

  • Imran on August 25, 2010, 17:53 GMT

    Real Cricket is played in Asutralia/England/South Africa and New Zealand.It is very nice that Pakistan will playing a long series in New Zealand in the end of the year. There is no charm in the dead wickets of Asia even the world cup will not produce supporting pitches.Real cricket is the one when Batsman have to ready with Chin Music rather then bowls even not bouncing over the wicket.

  • Wani manaan on August 25, 2010, 17:09 GMT

    We have got worlds top most bowlers in d form of amir,asif @ ajmal it is 2 early to comment on W.Riyaz. Well I would love 2 see Y.Hameed M.Yousf@ U.Akmal getting some great knocks to get their team over the line.Imran farhat should not be part of playing 11 2marow

  • cricket 101 on August 25, 2010, 17:01 GMT

    go pakistan

  • cricket 101 on August 25, 2010, 16:57 GMT

    go pakistan but i'd make some changes my team would be Yasir Hameed, Salman Butt , Azhar Ali, Mohammad Yousuf, Younis Khan Kamran Akmal (wk) for 20/20&, ODI/and haider for tests Mohammad Amir, Umer GUl Wahab Riaz, Saeed Ajmal, Mohammad Asif

    get ijaz butt axed and replace him wasim akram or some other pakistani legend (not imran khan because he's busy with politics

    hope they do that and add some better batsmen because our bowlers are good if salman butt doesnt go up to performance take him off as captain or maybe even the squad inshalla pakistan will win

  • Wasim-88 on August 25, 2010, 16:48 GMT

    Lords will present a great ordeal and England will not let the series win slip through their grip so easily . One win does not prove much , I dont understand why we feel so proud of ' The most unpredictable team ' label .

    A lot of individuals need to step up in order to ease of the pressure from young shoulders of Amir . The last thing you would like to see in the long run is Amir leaving the international scene for a couple of years like Imran and Waqar due to injury .

    We the Pakistanis get carried away too easily . It needs to be learned the results have precedence over emotions .

    Good luck PK at Lords !!!!

  • sanjeev on August 25, 2010, 16:48 GMT

    @omar well dont forget we beat you in asia cup so stop comparing with india, both teams are good i mean pakistan and india and yes it is good if you beat england because india actually won test series against england in england in 2007, and well pakistan has the best bowling line up in the world, and so how many of you guys were against yousuf joining the team well we indians rate him highly it is impossible to replace a person who is as classy batsman as yousuf, younis also should join the team may be in place of umar akmal, the other batsman who scored 90+ is a promising lad. best of luck for the next test

  • Mudassar Iqbal on August 25, 2010, 16:34 GMT

    Great article I agree with you that Salman Butt can be the savior of Pakistani cricket. The upcoming test at Lords is important but it is not the end of the world. Pakistani cricket will show continuous improvement

  • Mukund on August 25, 2010, 16:29 GMT

    Well its a one off game where luckily Pakitstan has won due to poor english batting.still their batting have a long way to go...England win this without any fuss

  • ahmed khan on August 25, 2010, 16:28 GMT

    well written article..but exagerate a bit about Butt...he is not performing with the bat..and his fielding being the worst doesn't set any example either. We won, because of the bowlers. Regardless anyone being the captain, if the bowlers get 7 wickets giving away 28 odd runs...the credit doesn't go to captain but to the bowlers. Still, Butt is presentable during interviews and i hope he improves his batting and specially fielding. Good luck Pakistan for the 4th test..hope we win. Just last bit...i hate imran farhat

  • Omar Khan on August 25, 2010, 16:19 GMT

    Don't you think that is a wee bit premature to start calling our side resilient? After all, we limped to the victory in the last test chasing the meager total of 140+. Team and people should have a more somber approach towards cricket instead of boasting and then later feeling embarrass by our boastful claim when we just fall on our faces and just bites the dust. I say we have a long way to go to nurture our talent and produce a world class cricket team and more work needs to be done.

  • Saleem Khwaja on August 25, 2010, 16:15 GMT

    While we all wish Pakistan and Pakistan cricket well, it is better to measure your strengths and weaknesses sensibly and in practical terms. There is no place to be boastful on the strength of single win. Courage and wisdom should dictate what Pakistan achieves.

  • yahya on August 25, 2010, 16:14 GMT

    rightly said...now umar akmal have to perform well in lords ..

  • Ryan on August 25, 2010, 16:08 GMT

    so many ppl praising the article.. smelling something fishy :P

  • prashant on August 25, 2010, 16:05 GMT

    had pakistan taken 90% of their catches, they would b leading in this series. pakistan never say die attitude can be seen clearly. i hope they draw confidence from their whole tour in england. best of luck

  • Mohsin Qureshi on August 25, 2010, 15:36 GMT

    The strength of the team lies in team combination, selflessness and team spirit. This is something Pakistani team has been lacking for some time now specially in Australia it created a quagmire. In Oval the team spirit and synergy were the pleasant surprises. If the things continue in the same manner under Salman, Pakistan will not be far from making history.

  • Nick on August 25, 2010, 15:31 GMT

    Good article but, to read all these posts, you'd think England were no-hopers. I'm looking forward to going for the duration (I suspect 4 days max), but realistically don't think much of Pakistan's chances. The batting's too immature, the bowling can be great, fielding poor, and tactical nous seems absent. Other than that, bags of talent, but a lack of application. England are less talented- they just work harder and have a much better team spirit, and their management seems vastly superior. All in all more professional (but less unpedictable and less fun to watch).

  • Usman Khan on August 25, 2010, 15:25 GMT

    Good article. I hope Pakistan wins at Lords. That will be sweet. Go Green!

  • M S Tarar on August 25, 2010, 15:03 GMT

    i think you don,t know any thing about cricket. pcb made a foolish decesion to declare salman butt as a captin as a result of that pakistan realy lost an inform opner in the form of salman but, whoes average in now below 30. so playing as a captin and specialist batsman at the top of the order is some thing wich is not acceptable. I think younas is a strong candidate of captincy still a PCB should select him in the team before that the new PCB chairman comes in place of Ijaz Butt he surely take younis as captin of the team because a man playing in the top order averging below 30 does not deserce of captincy by any means.

  • Wani manaan on August 25, 2010, 15:03 GMT

    Good luck pakistan for lords test.

  • haleema Dheen on August 25, 2010, 14:57 GMT

    I think everyone in pakistan should openly protest on a wide scale and to get rid of pcb chairman and to bring back younis khan back. this is unfair, anddd why are the people of pakistan keeping quiet after announcing the squad and youniskhan name not included. He is the best captain after inzaman. the two U's should be in the team,. why is pcb chairman so selfish and ruining a young man career in this way. what is your president doing. Go protest in a big way and get rid of IB.

  • haleema Dheen on August 25, 2010, 14:56 GMT

    I think everyone in pakistan should openly protest on a wide scale and to get rid of pcb chairman and to bring back younis khan back. this is unfair, anddd why are the people of pakistan keeping quiet after announcing the squad and youniskhan name not included. He is the best captain after inzaman. the two U's should be in the team,. why is pcb chairman so selfish and ruining a young man career in this way. what is your president doing. Go protest in a big way and get rid of IB.

  • Murtaza Moiz on August 25, 2010, 14:44 GMT

    Don't get so excited, its a 5 day game!

  • Shahid on August 25, 2010, 14:43 GMT

    English batsmen, specially straus and KP are under pressure and I hope pakistani bowlers will use that leverage. Catches will make us or break. Even cook was dropped on 20 on his way to 110. Come on Kamran give your best. And you know, one more good innings from Azhar and will be on his way to be a star.

  • Shahid on August 25, 2010, 14:37 GMT

    English batsmen, specially straus and KP are under pressure and I hope pakistani bowlers will use that leverage. Catches will make us or break. Even cook was dropped on 20 on his way to 110. Come on Kamran give your best. And you know, one more good innings from Azhar and will be on his way to be a star.

  • Mohammad Asad on August 25, 2010, 14:34 GMT

    Mohammad Asad from USA...... Though I am Bangladeshi but a good fan of Pak Cricket !!!! Yeah, its a nice article Mr. Saad S !!! Positive thinking !!! To level this series; Pak batsman have to perform well..... Just come to know that Gul is fit now ....What a bowling depth !!! I guess Wahab should play at Lords...and keep Gul in stock for T20..... Anyway Good Luck for Lords !!!!!!!

  • mohsin manzoor on August 25, 2010, 13:52 GMT

    Nice article and there is definitely chance of pakistan win in final test vs Englang.

  • Salman Afridi on August 25, 2010, 13:44 GMT

    Bring back Younis Khan :D

  • israr on August 25, 2010, 13:40 GMT

    They say Pakistan do not have back up bowlers, well this time arround it looks all diff i think Pakistan has the best attack in English conditions Asif with swing Aamir with quick movement and wahaab aur gul providing excellent seam and quick bowling. Ajmal is the best Pakistan spinner over keneria who has taken over 250 wkts. With arrival of Yousuf the batting order has changed and azhar ali and co can play shots, imran farhat now can flash his bat at bowls which needed to be hit in the first place. All we need is a TON from top 3 and one from middle order. We can win Umar akmal is due for runs and like Ramiz said 'WE ARE TAKING FROM HERE ' so beware England inshaAllah we are back and roaring :)

  • shafiq Ur Rehman on August 25, 2010, 13:39 GMT

    well don Saad pakistan team need support specialy ar this condition. This kind of selection and many more negitive steps taken by PCB chairman. there is no justification to keep Younis Khan out of the team but bringing back Mohammad Yousuf is a positive step. Loock what heppend to Shahid Afridi y he resign and he took the blame? Why Umer Ameen ,Umer Akaml, Shaoib Malik, Kamran Akmal Azhar Ali wer existing in the team. and why Younis Khan, Abdul Razzaq, Mohammad Hafeez has not been tried. Many more questions in the minds of cricket fans.

  • Adnan on August 25, 2010, 13:39 GMT

    This one was really good, emotionally charged. You must've been screaming your heart out praying..."no no...not again, please don't crumble". I am as relieved as you. Have to mention though, as others have; and that is Butt's batting inconsistencies...ok fine!let's just give him some time boys.

  • cricket46 on August 25, 2010, 13:24 GMT

    I am a Bangladeshi supporter who just loves cricket. This is a very unbiased article and the posts are also very modest and civil. It is annoying when people start saying we are #1 and what not after a single win. Even worse is when the never-ending arguments starts up with Indian fans. Please keep it clean and have good honest debate. I hope Pakistan wins the next test, but it will not be easy.

  • ifeelsikdal on August 25, 2010, 13:20 GMT

    The emotive analysis of linking the past and the terrible tragedy of the floods that is unfolding in Pakistan to the test match at the Oval is overblown hyperbole. And there is a lot of it about in the newspapers and cricket websites. Firstly, one swallow does not make a summer. A 3-1 defeat for Pakistan is still on the cards.The bowlers are blameless. The facts are that the test defeats of the teams that played against Australia at Lords through to Edgbaston could have been predicted simply based upon the composition and form of the team that was dished out. The defeats had a little to do with attitude and competence but mostly to do with a mediocre batting line up. The reason for this is entirely administrative and managerial, rather than other causes such as lack of form of players or injury. Until the root of internecine conflict in the dressing room is sorted out along with the administration, there will remain gainful employment for pundits to connect obscure dots.

  • Aiqib Irshad on August 25, 2010, 13:04 GMT

    i dont understand y Hasan Raza is not in the test team atleast he has been scoring runs,but the selectors keep on ignoring him...

  • Mohammed Mehdi on August 25, 2010, 13:00 GMT

    Go Ijaz Butt go.

    Salman Butt should be groomed as a captain by all the senior previous captains of Pakistan.He will do mistakes and hey, he is human,but dont change him PCB.His body language is great and he is preety composed when talking.Combine the youth with experience ( Two Y'S )and with our lethal pace trio,we can become the top team in the world.Good Luck for the next test. Mehdi Singapore

  • Suhaib on August 25, 2010, 12:56 GMT

    Although the third test was a great victory, I believe the series will be remembered by the result of the final test. If England win, the third test will be a mere footnote of a 3-1 drubbing. If Pakistan win, a tied series would be a great achievement by a young side coming from behind. Given the strong bowling and weak batting line-ups, the chances of a draw are nearly zero.However if it is a draw, both sides will be disappointed a bit. I think England were looking for more than a 2-1 win at the start of the series. Pakistan would be disappointed not to even the series.

  • Sha USA on August 25, 2010, 12:46 GMT

    Pakistan back in business after the return of Mohammad Yousuf, it means experience matters in all format of the game. Azhar's poor performace thru out the series but he made 92 under the guidance of Yousuf. PCB is being unfair to the quality player like younis khan and I strongly believe he is the best candidate for captaincy. He has proved he did better captaincy then wasim, waqar, inzamam, butt and afridi. Pak won t20 2009 under younis belt so why pcb old man ijaz butt is treating him this way?? As far as T20 is concerned there was no point to drop Malik he is a quality player. Yousuf deserves to be in T20 and Hamid, Haider and Ifran and Nazir should be given chance instead of Butt, Hafeez, and akmal brothers.

  • Kashif Siraj on August 25, 2010, 12:42 GMT

    Inspired and wise team selections based upon merit and consistency in the selection is what Pakistan has never had except for Imran's tenure. Butt (Ijaz) regularly intervenes with the TEAM MANAGEMENT'S plan and if history is any indicator, he would not stop until he is at the helm. There is no doubt that this team has some distance to go before they become a unit and start performing consistently. Butt (Slaman) needs a couple of years before he can lay claim to the membership of successful captains club. But the signs are encouraging and what is required is to stick with this group and concentrate upon identifying horses for courses as well as develop bench strength.

  • Kazq on August 25, 2010, 12:36 GMT

    very well written. Best article

    Please write more articles

  • Muneer on August 25, 2010, 12:34 GMT

    Just wait till the team for the WC is announced and you will see Ijaz Butt's ego damaging Pakistan cricket yet again. He should be the first person to be sacked. Bring back Younis, keep Shoaib Malik out of the team until after the WC, groom 2-3 young batsmen and atleast 2 backup wicketkeepers. Umar Akmal after a very promising start is going downhill. Bring in a batting coach like Zaheer Abbas, Miandad, or Mudassar, i.e. people who never gave up their wickets easily. I know thats asking for too much, but one can only dream and hope that we atleast do one thing right, which is to sack Ijaz Butt.

  • Waqar Khan on August 25, 2010, 12:22 GMT

    The key to Pak winning this contest is the opening pair must get to a good start, Mohammed Yousef holding the middle order in place to achieve a good total. The 'main' key for Pak to succeed if they are to win is the wicket keeper Kamran Akmal if he does not perform with the gloves then Pak are in trouble that is the week link. Hopefully he will have another good game and will score some runs too. Everything else is down to the team and handling pressure too. Come on Pak do it for all the Pakistani's. Give us hope!!!!

  • Asim Amsa on August 25, 2010, 12:11 GMT

    I dont remember when was the last time Pakistan scored more than 600 runs or 2 or 3 of their players scored centuries in a test match. Unless they enforce some sort of consistent stability in their batting performances, the consistent victories in test matches are unlikely to come.

  • Haroon on August 25, 2010, 12:10 GMT

    I just want a century from 1 or 2 players. It could be Salman Butt, Mohammad Yousaf, Umar Akmal, or Azhar Ali. I would be delighted to see Umar or Azhar score 100, then it means the future in test for Azhar is good especially for Umar. I predicted about him that he would be Tendulkar for Pakistan, so far the guy has not shown his full potential. But I thought he got carried away with overnight star status. I hope he would score a century in Lords, same thought for Azhar too, he is also amazing, I hope he would bring his form in ODI's as well. We know a century from one down position carrries how much value for the whole team. Good luck Pakistan!

  • Saif on August 25, 2010, 12:01 GMT

    it will be a gr8 achievement for Pakistan if they beat the England team, n that too considerin the fact that they were 2 down n if they happen to beat them then it wud be at the Mecca of Cricket, Lord's.

    n the best way for Pakistan to bolster their chances of a win wud b to take their catches, thats it! its an old cliche which Pak team always seems to not agree with, bt it holds true, Catches win Matches.. they took their catches in Oval n they've won it! the one thin naggin me is our wicketkeeper, Kamran Akmal! i hope he doesnt mess it up, coz his blunders have always gone a loooong way in deflatin the morale of the entire team, n eventually find ourselves at the losin end!!

    Great achievement nevertheless from a young inexperience side in alien conditions, jus hope they win at Lords coz the world needs a vibrant n passionate Pak Cricket Team:)

  • anser on August 25, 2010, 11:57 GMT

    good article saad shafqat... we as a nation and cricket loving country needs such wins... 2-2 will be a win for us..so go team green n win the final test.. best of luck lads...

  • Farhan on August 25, 2010, 11:48 GMT

    Pak batsmen got to believe in themselves. if they play up to their skills and talent, eng will be facing world's best team at lords and if they continue playing in fear eng gona face a minnow team like BD. Butt, Ali, Umar, Kamran and Yousuf all have skills and talent to perform well. just the matter of self belief like pak bowlers always have. come on guys play without fear and deliver the best.

  • Mian Abdul Waheed on August 25, 2010, 11:42 GMT

    Someone must be held to account for neglecting Yusaf from the Pakistan Cricket team.Had he been in the squad from the very beginning the results would have been different.Someone must be hanged for this criminal neglect.Same applies to Yunis-what crime he has committed.He has served Pakistan cause for such a long time.It is high time that Ijaz Butt should be sacked immediately and some additional punishment should be given to him for ruining Pakistan cricket

  • FaisalK on August 25, 2010, 11:32 GMT

    Excellent article. I too agree with a previous poster that this article ranks as one the best I have read on Cricinfo. Saad you should write regularly. Generally speaking, I am not looking for a piece of writing which is biasedly laden with praise for Pakistan or any team for that matter, but one which is balanced, real, and fun to read. Job well done.

  • talha salim on August 25, 2010, 11:30 GMT

    love the last sentence really!

  • Anonymous on August 25, 2010, 11:29 GMT

    Well done Pakistan!!! Go go and become the World No.1 as you have been in 1992.

  • Hafsa on August 25, 2010, 11:29 GMT

    Good article Saad Shafqat......i've always enjoyed your work!

  • Junaid on August 25, 2010, 11:18 GMT

    Now the appetizer has released an acrid taste at the Oval and is threatening to get stuck in the throat at Lord’s.

    i hope that it remain stuck for 1 week, so that from next time they can forget appetizer officially and think on some valid grounds.

    perhaps they should had learn the lesson from their counter-parts Aussies appetizer

  • Nadeem on August 25, 2010, 11:18 GMT

    I think Pakistan has one of the best bowling attack in the world. If the fielders and specilly Kamran Akmal take 95% of catches, Pakistan can bowl out England very cheaply.

    Both Akmals and Butt is due for a big innings even from the law of averages perspective.

  • haider on August 25, 2010, 11:14 GMT

    hi this is me haider from dubai...looking at the three tests that have been played b/w pakistan and england shows that its the effort and the will to perform well rather then having great players in your team...

  • Imran on August 25, 2010, 11:03 GMT

    How the heck does Salman Butt deserve much credit is beyond me!!! I give full credit to Zulqarnain for giving courage to other batsmen. Then of course you have excellent Ajmal, Aamir and Asif. Hats off to these guys for bowling their hearts out despite despite abysmal batting. Salman Butt is clueless guy.

  • Akbar on August 25, 2010, 11:01 GMT

    Good article, i am an optimist but still england have better chances to win at lords

  • JAsim on August 25, 2010, 10:57 GMT

    Pakistan as a nation has been through many ups and down, but one positive we can take is that pakistan as a nation stick together in hard time and come out strong. e.g earthquake 2005 the whole nation went out with donation work etc etc

    Now Floods, the whole nation and other countries are pouring out to help, the local charities are working round clock to help people, the oversea pakistanis are pouring money into Charity organisation like mad, just to help there Pakistani brothers and sister...

    the Pakistan country spirit is rare to be found in todays age but Pakistan has it and its beuatiful...

    Coming to Pakistan cricket team, they are cornered tigers, they strike back when its needed, yes they have performed bad recently but thats due to international boycott and PCB screwheads, we have a complete new team and they have managed to beat Australli and England the worlds best team in test...

    Wait and see PAkistan as nation and in cricket will only rise back stronger! PAK ZINDABAD

  • Salman on August 25, 2010, 10:48 GMT

    I wonder who is the boss of the "reverse-Midas capable PCB" and what is he doing up till now?

    Pakistan is a country of talent, and has the worst managers in the world. Pakistan talent fight not just with opponents on the ground, but with the PCB at home, and other influences lingering around them. Someone has told them that they got to play docile, because it is a "test match", and so most players had lost their positive style of play, for which Pakistan is known, in this struggle. This needs to be corrected and immediately. We need to play aggressive, because we are aggressive, and in test cricket. It is our natural game and in it we excel.

    With all this, I have great hopes in Pakistan cricket, and it will come back on top and very soon, inshallah!

  • Furquan Kidwai on August 25, 2010, 10:43 GMT

    Very well said, Saad. England's intractable allegiance to the Ashes and its abject view of the Pakistan series is near a venomous end. It is only for the young guns to continue the fire.

    Salman indeed seems like the right choice; my only apprehensions being his lack of form/technique/class which could hinder him leading from the front and inspiring these upcoming stars over a long term.

  • Musarrat on August 25, 2010, 10:37 GMT

    GO PAKISTAN GO. We can do anything like nothing, So stay tune Cricketing World.

  • Shahid on August 25, 2010, 10:36 GMT

    Nice article. One of the things that has been glossed over has been the underperformnce of the English batsmen in this series. This came into stark contrast at the loss in the last game. The momentum is with Pakistan and they will hopefully step up their batting for the game. But England will be riled and will be pumped up to win the game.

  • Umer Farooq on August 25, 2010, 10:36 GMT

    Good to see positive comments written about Pakistan team. The batsmen have not been performing for a while but still we as fans need to see something positive about them. Pakistan team fielding will be like that as it has been in past years as well. If only batting clicks consistently this team can do a comeback. Good luck to them for tomorrow.

    Umer

  • Amit on August 25, 2010, 10:32 GMT

    Typical pakistan. Never count them out when down. And..... Never count them in when up.

    Its fantastic to see them perform with all that is going on and its great for (test) cricket.

  • Adnan Butt on August 25, 2010, 10:24 GMT

    i hope this doest turn out to be a Jinx

  • A.R.Shakir on August 25, 2010, 10:24 GMT

    I think Pakistan must have to work hard for the win at oval. There are still some gray areas to consider. If conditions at Oval suits swing bowling then it will be a very tough task even for Mr. Yousuf to cope up.

  • David McIregor on August 25, 2010, 10:22 GMT

    As superb an articles at least I have ever seen on Cricinfo's blogs...very well written...a master piece!!

    You should write regularly for CI :)

  • omar on August 25, 2010, 10:20 GMT

    ALL THE BEST FOR THE FINAL BOYZ ..........THIS TIME IS FOR PAKISTAN

  • Chaudhry on August 25, 2010, 10:14 GMT

    Batting line can further be strengthen if Younis Khan is in lineup. I feel that our Test team is incomplete without him. But still all of them are young guns and need some time to adjust and i am sure if they continued playing the way they performed in Oval very soon they are going to be among the best teams.Wish them best of luck for Lords Test.

  • Arbab Siddiqui on August 25, 2010, 10:08 GMT

    these days the boys in green are playing for the pride of their country and this reason is the driving force for their hard fought comeback in the Oval test.

  • Tahir on August 25, 2010, 10:03 GMT

    Beautiful, beautiful article......

  • noman on August 25, 2010, 10:02 GMT

    very nicely inducted coloumn, as far as the revival of Pakistan cricket is concerned, they have the talent all over and the experience as well(of which unfortunately due to the redicilous Ijaz butt, younus is sitting at the backyard). To become a good test playing team, Pakistan will need some time, but I think they are well settled to become a dangerous Limited overs' team under the captaincy of the furious and aggressive BOOM BOOM AFRIDI.

  • Rizwan Younus on August 25, 2010, 9:57 GMT

    Salam To everybody and Ramadan Mubarak to all brothers and sisters. Very good article however lets not get carried away after 1 test win there are still problems with this team. Salman still needs to find some form however the biggest problem is at the top of the order. We have a donkey at the top of the order named Imran Farhat having watched international cricket nonstop for over 15 years in all countries this guy is the biggest load of rubbish i have ever seen. He cannot bat and his catching?? well lets just say that he couldnt catch a cold. He either blocks everything or tries to hit everything he has not got a clue about test match tempo whatsoever. The real problem with him?? everybody knows hes only in the team because his father in law is in the selection panel get rid of both! Full credit to the A-Team Asif,Aamir And Ajmal Inshallah Englands Ashes plans get wrecked by the unpredictable bunch!! Khuda Hafiz.

  • The great Ramondo on August 25, 2010, 9:56 GMT

    If PAK had a stable administration with good infrastructure and a logical way of doing things, we would be a top 3 side in all formats of the game. Instead the crony culture of our politics has seeped into the PCB and as long as Ijaz Butt has the backing of Mr 10% zardari our cricket is doomed. We need a popular uprising in our nation, with the shackles of neo-slavery imposed on us to be thrown off. New Govt staffed by young and educated individuals who want to make the country a better place instead of looting it like the present incumbents. An overhaul in our education system to bring us out of the dark ages and in line with the world, and lastly an end to the poisonous fundamentalism and Mullahs who have taken our us into a medieval warzone

  • Ali on August 25, 2010, 9:49 GMT

    Hahaha I LOVE the last sentence "Now the appetizer has released an acrid taste at the Oval and is threatening to get stuck in the throat at Lord’s", especially the part about getting stuck in the throat...lol

    Great Article

  • Sohaib on August 25, 2010, 9:44 GMT

    Saad your column generally gives the true analysis but here I am a bit disappointed over the favour given to Salman Butt. He has lead the side to two consecutive new lows, not performing with the bat expect for the 2nd innings of 3rd test. He doesnt deserve the captaincy, if he did then every other member did.

  • fahd on August 25, 2010, 9:41 GMT

    yea, surely if Pakistan batsmen can manage 300 runs on the board and can take the catches that come there way, one feels they have a realistic chance of leveling the series. And if that happens then on paper they would end up leveling the series but for the this young team and the fans back home, this would be nothing but total victory.

  • Ather Aziz on August 25, 2010, 9:39 GMT

    Love the ending man good article all together

  • Syed Danish Bilal on August 25, 2010, 9:38 GMT

    Good article. Amazing comeback from Pakistan. Now they just need to believe themselves and do their best. The 3rd test showed us how much experience matter. I wish we could bring Younis Khan back too, but I think I'll just take Yousuf. Salman Butt has proved himself a smart and brave captain and good luck to him and his teammates.

  • Osama on August 25, 2010, 9:35 GMT

    Very good article! Summed everything up very succinctly and was a pleasure to read. Keep it up!

  • Masood Sharif on August 25, 2010, 9:25 GMT

    An excellent article and absolutely on the button. I will still be wanting England to win in the Ashes.

  • Omar on August 25, 2010, 9:24 GMT

    Good article by Saad, Top of that I want to add some icing. We win 2 major games against the top 2 team and in their own condition and should not be forget that after losing the initial test. I want to remind Ponting that he says after losing the test that Pakistan can not beat England but we did and then wining first 2 x test by Strauss, He says that we will win all the matches and do the white wash. That is my reply to both captain. Should not forget that despite Indian having the big team (on paper) they lost all the last major tournament not even lost they out on first round and Pakistan play all the semi's / final. Inshallah our future is bright and I love to see PCB managments with the Name of Wasim, Ramiz, Miandad, Moin, Rashid and etc who knows the game not like Ijaz Butt who is destroying cricket and Players because of his ego. Good wishes for Pakistan Players and all Paistani's

    Go well!!! Pakistan

  • Asim on August 25, 2010, 9:23 GMT

    Pakistan is viewed as "savory appetizer"?? OK... If English batsmen are struggling against "savory appetizer"... then you can take your imagination to any point you like..Agreed, Pakistan batting n fielding was main culprit to defeats, with Yousuf inclusion and dropping Shoaib....20-30% batting has increased and fielding has improved 20-25 percent... on the other hand English batsmen have slummped 25-30%. equation favoured Pakistan at Oval and will favour in Lords (Rest Assured) Pakistan will win Lords test in more or less same way they won at Oval...

  • sam on August 25, 2010, 9:22 GMT

    Pak can be more resilient if they get rid of useless players like daddoo (kamran akmal)and club cricketers like shoaib malik and the likes , i mean imran farhat and so on so forth...until and unless nepotism and politics are purged from PCB, Pak can never perform like they did under Imran...All of a sudden PAk is branded to be the most unpredictable team in the world, if Imran was still around God knows well that such attitude would have never been there.

  • Umar on August 25, 2010, 9:21 GMT

    nice article hope so that Pakistan will perform even better @ Lords InshaAllah.

  • junaid on August 25, 2010, 9:17 GMT

    ya with all that happened in the recent past,the oval victory is tremendas. Pakistan can take this victory as a start of new era for them but for victories 2 come regularly they should have a solid midle order bcz evrytime our bowlers wil not be successful.This can be done by including Younis khan and with Mohammad Yousuf already there, things will be different as far as the batting is concerned.

  • tjriz on August 25, 2010, 9:15 GMT

    best of luck to pakistan at Lord's, all i can say is boys play your heart out, you are all young and talented this is the time for you to shine and prove you are worth it. Salman Butt has been really impressive over the last few weeks, May God save him from PCB and the deamon Ijaz Butt.

  • Obaid on August 25, 2010, 9:14 GMT

    This young Pakistan team needs encouragement,support and backing of all the Pakistan cricket lovers. As long as they put up a fight, no matter if they lose we will back them. All the best for Lords

  • Irfanwasim on August 25, 2010, 9:11 GMT

    This pakistan team will have tough challenge and untill world cup they will play 15 matches (England - 5, South Africa - 5 & New Zealand - 5). I don’t foresee they can win a single match in these 15 matches. Anyway they will have a good chance to win 3 matches in world cup (Kenya, Canada and Zimbabwe) Till world cup they cant cross 200 runs. Their good bowling lineup will avoid humilating defeats. Best of Luck.

  • Irfanwasim on August 25, 2010, 9:11 GMT

    This pakistan team will have tough challenge and untill world cup they will play 15 matches (England - 5, South Africa - 5 & New Zealand - 5). I don’t foresee they can win a single match in these 15 matches. Anyway they will have a good chance to win 3 matches in world cup (Kenya, Canada and Zimbabwe) Till world cup they cant cross 200 runs. Their good bowling lineup will avoid humilating defeats. Best of Luck.

  • hafeez ahmed khan on August 25, 2010, 9:10 GMT

    I am totally agree withcoments and anaylsis of Mr.Saad Shfaqat, Pakistani tem is always unpredictiable, you don't know in the next game what they are going to do, but it is a very positive step the cooperation and coordination between coaches and captain and between players and catain, specially when you see in the field captain always taking advise from his senior player Mohammed Yousef, if this spirit continue I am sure no one can defit the team. Also Salman is very lucky on his very first assignment as captain thee are two big wins against the very best test playing countries Australia and England, I don't know why Andy Flower want to keep mouth shut for Salaman , every one has its right to comments what he feels, the other what english players tellingt against our team, no one from our managment tell the english men to keep their mouth shut.Of course there are too much chances for Australia to win the series the plus point is they have their home series and crowed power play with

  • tanoli on August 25, 2010, 9:10 GMT

    Australia will slaughter engand...Eng is simply over-rated just b/c they won ODI series aginst Aus....Dont forget they have lost aginst Bangla;) By the way, the first test aginst pakistan was totally given to Eng...akmal corporation dropping so many catches

  • Umair Liaquat Qureshi on August 25, 2010, 9:08 GMT

    Beautifully thought and written. Hats off to Saad Shafqat. ;-)

  • spindoctor on August 25, 2010, 9:06 GMT

    well written article dr. sahab. Pakistan have emerged just at the right time and the fans hope that they will deliver the knockout punch to english side at lords and in the limited overs series just round the corner. Andy flower and strauss will be left stranded at the end of the summer, definitely. Score big team pakistan and leave the rest to asif and amir.

  • Farhan on August 25, 2010, 9:04 GMT

    Its just one win - lets not blow this out of proportion. The tail has really helped with setting competitive scores and there are still some very big questions unanswered. Such as Imran Farhat and the Akmals. Hopefully Butt regains his form, he has the makings of a good captain.

  • MT KHUSRO on August 25, 2010, 9:02 GMT

    NICE ARTICLE!!

  • Syed Osman Ali on August 25, 2010, 9:00 GMT

    Absolutely spot on Saad. I just wanna say we deserve this so much. I dont care what happens at Lords as I savor this one. One thing though I think with Salman and Waqar/ Ijaz there is an unpublicised method and application approach going on too, as you pointed out cant win 2 matches against top teams without doing something right. your former student, Osman

  • s.khan on August 25, 2010, 8:58 GMT

    can some one tell me n tell people pakistan how to get rid off the interferrance from prisident of pakistan to appoint those individuals who donot even know a b c of sport??????

  • Asad Ali on August 25, 2010, 8:56 GMT

    Very true, if only the PCB can back the team and captain rather than unsettle the players with their negative tactics then the future can be bright for Pakistan cricket.

  • Mohammad Aftab on August 25, 2010, 8:51 GMT

    I believe the greatest challenge any Pakistani captain faces, isn't just how he manages his players (on & off the field), but also how he deals with the PCB. As you put quite aptly, the PCB bosses possess the rate ability to turn gold to dust. Lets just hope Salman Butt's skin is thick enough to deal with all these intangible pressures, that is part of the baggage of being Team Pakistan's captain.

  • Ali Shah on August 25, 2010, 8:50 GMT

    "Throughout the summer, England have viewed Pakistan as merely a savory appetizer before the grand feast of the Ashes is tackled Down Under. Now the appetizer has released an acrid taste at the Oval and is threatening to get stuck in the throat at Lord’s."....LOL.......wonderfully well written.

  • Noman on August 25, 2010, 8:38 GMT

    Good luck pakistan a century from yousuf would be a treat

  • Muhammad Shafique on August 25, 2010, 8:36 GMT

    Well done Saad Shafqat! Such articles are needed to raise the morale of the team and nation when chips are really down. All the media is after Pakistan Cricket. Let us hope that Ejaz Butt also thinking positive and reinstating Younas Khan. If he were there with Muhammad Yousuf, pakistan would be 3 up in the series.

  • Yassar on August 25, 2010, 8:36 GMT

    World cricket has known for a long time now that if Pakistan could harness is undoubted talent that it somehow keeps producing then it would be a force to be reckoned with in world cricket. Unfortunatley Pakistan cricket is continiously being hampered by incompetent administrators and politics. Anyway i think there is still a long way for Pakistan to go but what the Oval has shown is that talent in Pakistan has always been there and every now and again it will show its promising head.

  • Muhammad Shafique on August 25, 2010, 8:36 GMT

    Well done Saad Shafqat! Such articles are needed to raise the morale of the team and nation when chips are really down. All the media is after Pakistan Cricket. Let us hope that Ejaz Butt also thinking positive and reinstating Younas Khan. If he were there with Muhammad Yousuf, pakistan would be 3 up in the series.

  • Vaseem Siddiqi on August 25, 2010, 8:34 GMT

    It was pleasing to see TEAM PAKISTAN do well in all departments at the Oval, particularly fielding. All catches were held (apart from one)and the wicket keeping of Kamran Akmal was of required standard. To do well at Lords TEAM PAKISTAN will have to play as well as they did at the Oval. Unfortunately the TEAM is not being helped by PCB Chairman, Ijaz Butt who continues to keep Yunus Khan out of the team. All the fans are calling for his inclusion. If Pakistan fail to win at Lords it will be because of lack of runs, you cannot just depend on Mohammed Yusuf, and poor fielding. For me as a fan this continues to be a worry. If we fail to win due to lack of runs than the full blame would be on Ijaz Butt and in my opinion he should be removed as he is totally incompetent and has made job of the players difficult.

  • Hassan Khan on August 25, 2010, 8:31 GMT

    well said indeed. Salman Butt is right guy for the next 5 years if he can keep his batting up to the mark. He needs to get his average to the 40s , spend some time at the crease and get a couple of centuries in the next few months. There is enough test matches to come Pakistan's way. The comeback is not a fluke , it is more of the inevitable, I think the England batting is too over rated, and except for Swann and Anderson , their bowling is mediocre. So Pakistan's chances of leveling up the series are bright. The only thing i request from PCB is persistence for the young batter Azhar Ali and the comeback kid Yasir Hameed. Also there should be a rotation policy with Wahab Riaz showing some flare now in order to keep our bowlers fit and out of injury. We need to get a couple of pacers such as Mohammad Irfan playing and touring also. As far as wicketkeeping is concerned, Zulquairnain for tests and Kamran Akmal for one days and T20s. We can only pray for the catching abilities.

  • Imran Ghumman on August 25, 2010, 8:24 GMT

    Now they can dream to level the series and they should... Hope they do... but they need some more resistance and form from the batsmen...

  • Khurram h on August 25, 2010, 8:23 GMT

    It all boils down now on the fact that which team is able to handle the pressure under the given situation. Pakistan team has nothing to loose they should be going all out because after Oval's defeat England will definately need to reassess their stretegy which will be first time they will be needing to do in the series. All the very best to our cricket team!before i end i want to recall the famous victory at Lord's in which Waseem and Waqar should us their batting talent by winning the game for Pakistan.

  • Nadir on August 25, 2010, 8:23 GMT

    I hope PCB is not reading your article.. Otherwise you never know Shahid afridi is axed from his captaincy from ODI and T-20 and new captain in that format is even Salman Butt. These are early days, we cannot be sure of performance of Salman Butt at all. Thing questionable is the fact that captain himself is taking pressure and not scoring runs after becoming a captain. Still wonderdul to see the team advancing. Best of Luck :)

  • Rameez on August 25, 2010, 8:09 GMT

    Get ready, Mr Flower and England, We are taking it from here.

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  • Rameez on August 25, 2010, 8:09 GMT

    Get ready, Mr Flower and England, We are taking it from here.

  • Nadir on August 25, 2010, 8:23 GMT

    I hope PCB is not reading your article.. Otherwise you never know Shahid afridi is axed from his captaincy from ODI and T-20 and new captain in that format is even Salman Butt. These are early days, we cannot be sure of performance of Salman Butt at all. Thing questionable is the fact that captain himself is taking pressure and not scoring runs after becoming a captain. Still wonderdul to see the team advancing. Best of Luck :)

  • Khurram h on August 25, 2010, 8:23 GMT

    It all boils down now on the fact that which team is able to handle the pressure under the given situation. Pakistan team has nothing to loose they should be going all out because after Oval's defeat England will definately need to reassess their stretegy which will be first time they will be needing to do in the series. All the very best to our cricket team!before i end i want to recall the famous victory at Lord's in which Waseem and Waqar should us their batting talent by winning the game for Pakistan.

  • Imran Ghumman on August 25, 2010, 8:24 GMT

    Now they can dream to level the series and they should... Hope they do... but they need some more resistance and form from the batsmen...

  • Hassan Khan on August 25, 2010, 8:31 GMT

    well said indeed. Salman Butt is right guy for the next 5 years if he can keep his batting up to the mark. He needs to get his average to the 40s , spend some time at the crease and get a couple of centuries in the next few months. There is enough test matches to come Pakistan's way. The comeback is not a fluke , it is more of the inevitable, I think the England batting is too over rated, and except for Swann and Anderson , their bowling is mediocre. So Pakistan's chances of leveling up the series are bright. The only thing i request from PCB is persistence for the young batter Azhar Ali and the comeback kid Yasir Hameed. Also there should be a rotation policy with Wahab Riaz showing some flare now in order to keep our bowlers fit and out of injury. We need to get a couple of pacers such as Mohammad Irfan playing and touring also. As far as wicketkeeping is concerned, Zulquairnain for tests and Kamran Akmal for one days and T20s. We can only pray for the catching abilities.

  • Vaseem Siddiqi on August 25, 2010, 8:34 GMT

    It was pleasing to see TEAM PAKISTAN do well in all departments at the Oval, particularly fielding. All catches were held (apart from one)and the wicket keeping of Kamran Akmal was of required standard. To do well at Lords TEAM PAKISTAN will have to play as well as they did at the Oval. Unfortunately the TEAM is not being helped by PCB Chairman, Ijaz Butt who continues to keep Yunus Khan out of the team. All the fans are calling for his inclusion. If Pakistan fail to win at Lords it will be because of lack of runs, you cannot just depend on Mohammed Yusuf, and poor fielding. For me as a fan this continues to be a worry. If we fail to win due to lack of runs than the full blame would be on Ijaz Butt and in my opinion he should be removed as he is totally incompetent and has made job of the players difficult.

  • Muhammad Shafique on August 25, 2010, 8:36 GMT

    Well done Saad Shafqat! Such articles are needed to raise the morale of the team and nation when chips are really down. All the media is after Pakistan Cricket. Let us hope that Ejaz Butt also thinking positive and reinstating Younas Khan. If he were there with Muhammad Yousuf, pakistan would be 3 up in the series.

  • Yassar on August 25, 2010, 8:36 GMT

    World cricket has known for a long time now that if Pakistan could harness is undoubted talent that it somehow keeps producing then it would be a force to be reckoned with in world cricket. Unfortunatley Pakistan cricket is continiously being hampered by incompetent administrators and politics. Anyway i think there is still a long way for Pakistan to go but what the Oval has shown is that talent in Pakistan has always been there and every now and again it will show its promising head.

  • Muhammad Shafique on August 25, 2010, 8:36 GMT

    Well done Saad Shafqat! Such articles are needed to raise the morale of the team and nation when chips are really down. All the media is after Pakistan Cricket. Let us hope that Ejaz Butt also thinking positive and reinstating Younas Khan. If he were there with Muhammad Yousuf, pakistan would be 3 up in the series.

  • Noman on August 25, 2010, 8:38 GMT

    Good luck pakistan a century from yousuf would be a treat