Pakistan January 17, 2012

England to win 1-0. Or 2-1. Or tie

The Official Confectionery Stall prediction for the series in the UAE
95

As I write, Pakistan and England are hours away from resuming a rivalry that has sparked some of our great sport’s most cantankerous cricket and least savoury squabbles. This time, hopefully, tempers will be tempered, and the cricket will not be an incidental curtain raiser to the controversy.

Provided that the Gulf pitches are not unremittingly somnolent ‒ and they have had a tendency to display the spritely vigour of a hypnotised and hibernating walrus ‒ the cricket should be compelling. Pakistan have been stable and steady, if not resurgent, and are unbeaten in six series since the legal blooper at Lord’s, although of those series, only one was against a team ranked in the top five in the world (a not-especially-thrilling nil-nil draw with South Africa in the Gulf late in 2010, the highlights of which have not been challenging the top of the DVD bestseller charts).

England, meanwhile, have had a prolonged Test break after a nine-month period in which they annihilated two of their greatest rivals. For the previous couple of years, England had veered between brilliance and debacle, as if they had read Rudyard Kipling’s smash-hit poem “If”, taken on board his suggestion that they should seek to treat the two impostors Triumph and Disaster just the same, and therefore attempted to spend plenty of quality time with both of them in turn. They then decided that Triumph was the preferable impostor to hang around with, and have since scaled peaks of performance dominance untouched by English cricketers for generations.

This dominance has been founded principally on high-class swing bowling ‒ which will be a less potent force in the billionaires’ sandpit that is Dubai ‒ supported by a batting line-up that has pulled off one of the most startling collective improvements of recent times, feeding off each other’s successes and confidence like lions at an all-you-can-eat zebra buffet.

Some stats: In England’s three major series before last winter’s Ashes (v Australia in 2009, South Africa in 2009-10, and Pakistan in 2010), only Jonathan Trott averaged over 38, with Alastair Cook and Kevin Pietersen below 30. In England’s three major series after that (Ashes 2010-11, and against Sri Lanka and India last summer), five of England’s regular top seven have averaged over 50, with Cook and Ian Bell close to 100. Were they underachieving wildly before, or are they overachieving wildly now? Probably a little bit of both. This year should provide a reasonably reliable answer, and Pakistan in the UAE should offer a stern challenge for a side that is reaching for greatness.

The official Confectionery Stall series prediction: England to win 1-0, provided they are not distracted by wondering how and why Dubai came to be full of so many empty skyscrapers. Or scuppered by the wiles of Saeed Ajmal. Or neutered by the heat and pitches. Or about to embark on a startling collective dis-improvement. Or possessed by a sudden urge to abandon the seven-batsman-four-bowler strategy that has served them so well. In which case, they will win 2-1. Possibly. Or it might be 1-1. Depending on what happens, and who does what, and when they do it.

One to watch (England): Monty Panesar He has been out of the England side for so long that it is easy to forget that Panesar was once much more than a bizarrely (and very intermittently) stylish No. 11 batsman, who in effect won the 2009 Ashes single-handedly. He was for a couple of years, against everyone other than India, a bowler of skill and penetration, and England’s most consistently effective spinner since Derek Underwood. He was then surpassed by the new England’s most consistently effective spinner since Derek Underwood, Graeme Swann.

Panesar is 29, with 125 Test and 500 first-class wickets under his specialist belt. With away series in the UAE, Sri Lanka and India, 2012 is a good year for him to be entering his tweaking prime. (Although his record in Tests in Asia is hopeless.) (But those Tests were quite a long time ago now.) (And England might not pick him anyway.) (Predictive punditry is pointless.) (What am I doing with my life?)

One to watch (Pakistan): Azhar Ali Azhar Ali is a throwback, a one-man war against 21st-century batting fripperies, a defiant protector of the coaching manual. Of the 55 top-seven batsmen who have played ten Tests this decade, Azhar has the second slowest scoring rate, behind only Tharanga Paranavitana. Throughout his 18-Test career, Azhar has shown defiance, patience, and a willingness not to edge the first available outswinger to the slips that some more celebrated batsmen around the world would do well to emulate. He has the classical style and methodical approach of a 1950s cricketer (although it should be noted that his strike rate of 39 runs per 100 balls faced would, by 1950s standards, have made him something of a reckless cavalier). I find him quite fascinating to watch. I would not want all batsmen to play like Azhar Ali, but I do want some batsmen to play like Azhar Ali. Including Azhar Ali.

(Warning for neutral spectators: four of Pakistan’s current top six are in the Eight Slowest Test Batsmen of the Decade list. Whether that is a negative warning or a positive warning is up to you.)

Extras I will write more about India’s statistically staggering disintegration next time. I have not enjoyed watching this cricketingly-macabre series, for all Australia’s excellence with the ball, and Warner’s thermonuclear innings in Perth. For a man recently viewed as a Twenty20 specialist, he has played two of the best innings of the decade in his first five Tests, which he, the baggy green selectors, and the whole of Baggy Greenland must be quite excited about. Maybe Pakistan should unleash Azhar Ali in their next T20s.

Most players and teams eventually decline before finally departing the scene, but few have done so as precipitously as Dhoni’s India. A year ago they had won several Tests by chasing down testing totals with skill and resilience. They had won in England, drawn in South Africa, and beaten Australia twice. They were about to successfully withstand arguably the most-high pressure cricketing campaign of all time. They were a good team, and a tough one. Now they are neither of those. They have responded to adversity in England and Australia by fighting like cornered tigers ‒ but tigers which, once cornered, have been shot at point-blank range and turned into fetching fireside rugs.

At least if India want to seek inspiration from a team that has emerged rapidly from an apparently long-term slump, they need only to knock on the home dressing room door and ask for a cup of tea and a chat.

Andy Zaltzman is a stand-up comedian, a regular on the BBC Radio 4, and a writer

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • waterbuffalo on January 25, 2012, 1:54 GMT

    Aah bet 5 pound Panesar and Swann play then we'll get a right proper game of crickeeet! Seamers are useless in the Desert! Pieterson can twirl a few down, too...imagine 6 spinners bowling all day, beautiful.

  • jogesh99 on January 20, 2012, 12:28 GMT

    Missed a minor stat Andy: Last 10 years - 18 tests against the Sub-continental Big 3 resulted in 1 win, 8 losses, 9 draws.

    Make that 19: 1, 9, 9.

  • Zahir Chaudhary on January 19, 2012, 21:39 GMT

    Dear Andy, it is really a pleasure to sit back after a long arduous day at the office and relax on the couch, reading your witty article with chuckles throughout!

    Cheers!!

  • Raja Kashif Kayani on January 19, 2012, 17:16 GMT

    hahahaha ........... Where is Tesra .............. three loins are in search is tesra .......... hahahahah

  • mir on January 19, 2012, 14:44 GMT

    Aliens abducted Andy,,,,,,hahaha......:))... Poms have been soundly crushed....

  • Shabbar on January 19, 2012, 14:32 GMT

    Hmmm... I wonder how this article will live on the internet, forever reminding Mr. Zaltzman of what an unnecessary prediction he produced out of a need to just "write" something and post it :)

  • Khalid Mustafa on January 19, 2012, 13:27 GMT

    Dear Andy,

    I wrote something 2 days before. Can you please read it again and tell all of us how do you feel now. First test just finished.

    Thanks

    Khalid Mustafa Sunbury On Thames, London.

  • mr_hag on January 18, 2012, 15:28 GMT

    Andy, it's time to admit what the cricketing world has been ignoring for too long, that your favorite cricketing legend, the effervescent Gary Kirsten, was the difference.

  • david on January 18, 2012, 10:36 GMT

    Thanks Andy. I love this blog. I particuarly liked the end of the Monty Paragraph: Punctuation humour is a rich but largely unmined seam.

  • hajib on January 18, 2012, 10:30 GMT

    hy !!!!!!!!!!! that;s intersting ,every cmnts is enjoyable some are aggresive and some are supportive .but see the reality ,cricket is just a game , enjoy it ., not break yours emotions , i m not giving the comnts either win eng or pak ,but just say 4 pak. oh!!PAKISTAN .ALLAH bless u ,gud luck pak. PAKISTAN ZINDABAD

  • waterbuffalo on January 25, 2012, 1:54 GMT

    Aah bet 5 pound Panesar and Swann play then we'll get a right proper game of crickeeet! Seamers are useless in the Desert! Pieterson can twirl a few down, too...imagine 6 spinners bowling all day, beautiful.

  • jogesh99 on January 20, 2012, 12:28 GMT

    Missed a minor stat Andy: Last 10 years - 18 tests against the Sub-continental Big 3 resulted in 1 win, 8 losses, 9 draws.

    Make that 19: 1, 9, 9.

  • Zahir Chaudhary on January 19, 2012, 21:39 GMT

    Dear Andy, it is really a pleasure to sit back after a long arduous day at the office and relax on the couch, reading your witty article with chuckles throughout!

    Cheers!!

  • Raja Kashif Kayani on January 19, 2012, 17:16 GMT

    hahahaha ........... Where is Tesra .............. three loins are in search is tesra .......... hahahahah

  • mir on January 19, 2012, 14:44 GMT

    Aliens abducted Andy,,,,,,hahaha......:))... Poms have been soundly crushed....

  • Shabbar on January 19, 2012, 14:32 GMT

    Hmmm... I wonder how this article will live on the internet, forever reminding Mr. Zaltzman of what an unnecessary prediction he produced out of a need to just "write" something and post it :)

  • Khalid Mustafa on January 19, 2012, 13:27 GMT

    Dear Andy,

    I wrote something 2 days before. Can you please read it again and tell all of us how do you feel now. First test just finished.

    Thanks

    Khalid Mustafa Sunbury On Thames, London.

  • mr_hag on January 18, 2012, 15:28 GMT

    Andy, it's time to admit what the cricketing world has been ignoring for too long, that your favorite cricketing legend, the effervescent Gary Kirsten, was the difference.

  • david on January 18, 2012, 10:36 GMT

    Thanks Andy. I love this blog. I particuarly liked the end of the Monty Paragraph: Punctuation humour is a rich but largely unmined seam.

  • hajib on January 18, 2012, 10:30 GMT

    hy !!!!!!!!!!! that;s intersting ,every cmnts is enjoyable some are aggresive and some are supportive .but see the reality ,cricket is just a game , enjoy it ., not break yours emotions , i m not giving the comnts either win eng or pak ,but just say 4 pak. oh!!PAKISTAN .ALLAH bless u ,gud luck pak. PAKISTAN ZINDABAD

  • Ali Kiani on January 18, 2012, 8:25 GMT

    ... To early to predict the end result of the series but Pakistan have the best bowling attack on any Pitch......( there bench strength is even stronger) .. How about having Wahab, Junaid Yasir Shah and Hassan Raza.. it still very strong.. Test Cricket is about taking 20 wickets .. I think it will be a very close series and the team that wins the first one will have overall command in the series.... if Pak bat well they cannnot lose....

  • Ravi on January 18, 2012, 8:19 GMT

    How come so many people don't even realize that this is a page 2 article and is supposed to be taken comically...Funny people blindly attached to their team...

    As for Andy, looking forward for your article on India's debacle...May be you can postpone it till Jan 25 so that we will get a result in the 4th match also...India is improving by every test and hence if we get a result on the second day...nothing like it...players will get some quality time to spend with their families and nothing like that before T20 and ODIs...

  • a khan on January 18, 2012, 5:12 GMT

    Andy - Here are possible ways to get out of your prediction after yesterdays England Performance:

    1. Claim your account was hacked and someone else wrote this. 2. Blame Prescription medicine 3. Claim you were abducted by aliens and were made to write this under duress 4. All of the above

  • Ace on January 18, 2012, 4:54 GMT

    I very look forward to following your enjoyable humor during the series Andy. Gonna be supporting Pak but hoping for some exciting cricket from both sides. Would also love to hear your views about Bob Wills in your following blog, suddenly bringing up Ajmal's twice already cleared action just when he pulled off some brilliance, that was just silly, and mean IMO.

  • Junaid on January 18, 2012, 4:20 GMT

    thats very positive and fresh stats for pakistani batsman, which proves that they have the desire to stick with the pitch at all times, and no wonders why we are not expecting the batting collapse of 2008-2009. Very refreshing change for our batting line up.

  • Nadir Khan on January 18, 2012, 3:24 GMT

    Make sure you order humble pie for dessert after the ongoing match.

  • Talha Irfan on January 18, 2012, 3:07 GMT

    Maybe Pakistan should unleash Azhar Ali in their next T20s

    Hahahahahaa.....you rock

  • Abdul R. Siddiqui on January 18, 2012, 2:57 GMT

    I agree with the point that Azhar Ali is a real rarity; when everyone lately seems to be concerned with triple-digit strike rates and "playing positively," here is a man who plays with caution and chooses the delivery that is worth walloping with great care. For some time now, Umar Akmal has been touted as the future of Pakistan's batting line-up and, while I do admit that Akmal possesses all the strokes in the game, I still believe that the real hero for the future will be Azhar Ali. Akmal may have him beat in terms of pure talent but Ali has the temperament of a test-cricketer, something that Kamran Jr. seems to be missing. What does worry me is the fact that Ali is a bit too patient at times and, if he does not learn to adjust his pace to the situation, making him the leader of a batting line-up might result in more draws than is acceptable. Of course, given the fact that the current top 6 includes Taufeeq, Misbah and Shafiq, I think the draws are already a concern.

  • majeed abdul on January 18, 2012, 2:19 GMT

    azhar ali is a best player of our team .he is very telented batsman.in his presence pakistan middle order future vverry strong well played azhar

    best regards god help u in every problem

  • Raghuram on January 18, 2012, 0:47 GMT

    I just loved it. I learnt how to write! I appreciate this article.

  • Jango on January 18, 2012, 0:06 GMT

    Fantastic. I think this is the best one I ever read from you...believe me.

  • Uzair on January 17, 2012, 23:46 GMT

    hahahahaha @"but tigers which, once cornered, have been shot at point-blank range and turned into fetching fireside rugs." Mr Zaltzman, you just cracked me up soo bad! Its just painful to watch India suffer like they are in Australia! and mind you, the pitch at WACA was suppose to be good for batting!

  • Naeem Zafar Khan on January 17, 2012, 22:35 GMT

    Shame on the media pundit Bob Willis. Had England ended up with 250 for 2 at the close of play today he would not have brought up the bowling action of Saed Ajmal. Why can't Bob Willis just except the England front line struggle with Pakistan spin bowling. We are trying to rebuild our reputation after the 2010 tour of England which was tainted by Match fixing. We shall prove the likes of Bob Willis and any other pundit that slates our team and the way we play our game. Just face it Bob we have the expertise to bowl the doosra, teesra and wait for it Bob and may be the chotta. Enjoy the rest of the tour Bob.

  • bmg on January 17, 2012, 22:09 GMT

    Just when England thought it was safe to start bragging. They fall in a heap.

  • anonaid on January 17, 2012, 21:58 GMT

    Calling 2010-2012 a decade is misleading.

  • Faraz Saleem on January 17, 2012, 21:24 GMT

    classic! great work once again andy!

  • Ed on January 17, 2012, 21:03 GMT

    Did the writer say that England will win 2-0 or 2-1? It must be the other way round! England will not be able to handle the spin. The best is yet to come...wait till Rehman and Hafeez get into the rhythm.

  • Wilbur on January 17, 2012, 21:01 GMT

    What rubbish. England will struggle in the gulf. They are arrogant and have relied on Home Series wins and a ridiculous scoring system to gain their number 1 ranking which after a loss in this series should be taken away from them. Australia had a scare against New Zealand and are now thrashing the Indians. South Africa are the real number one team in my opinion but the gaps in the top 8 countries have closed considerably. 2 nil to Pakistan will be the result of this seriesand lets hope it changes the ICC ratings

  • SZ on January 17, 2012, 20:05 GMT

    Nice! Just note that Pakistan also drew 1:1 with Australia in England before the 2010 England-Pakistan Series which obviously could have been 2-2 (as England was 60-6 in the 4th Test) affair given no naughtiness was involved or exposed or both :-)

  • noggins on January 17, 2012, 19:21 GMT

    Rankings don't mean much Zaltzy when the #1 team in the world is bamboozled by a delivery that doesn't exist (teesra). In fact I suggest ICC implement a point policy that does not award any points for a test match won at home. That way rankings would be inverted.....Bangladesh might go to the top of the rankings and England to the bottom. Pakistan will surely be buoyed by the fact that they now have a wicket keeper who catches 80% of the catches.....It will be hard to stop them in the somnolence of a U.A.E backdrop, where hopefully they don't fall asleep on the flat tracks of Sharjah before the job is done. I suggest U.A.E facilities play clapping and cheering on their speakers to remind the cricketers they are playing a live event.

  • pakspin on January 17, 2012, 19:20 GMT

    I guess someone is trying to put their hand in their mouth just about now.

  • Noman on January 17, 2012, 19:00 GMT

    The comment about Pakistan only playing a single top five side in the period after Lord's test in 2010, is not accurate.

    At the time, Pakistan played SriLanka, the Lankans were #5 in the world, and in fact were ranked even better just a series before that against Australia.

    In any case, the rankings these days have little correlation with the on-field results. If you take out Bangladesh, in the last few series (Aus-SL, Pak-SL, SL-RSA, NZ-Aus, Aus-Ind) out of 14 test matches so far, 7 were won by lower ranked teams (at the time of test match) and only three by the higher ranked ones.

    Hopefully the on-going Pak-Eng series will offer more such results that go against the rankings.

  • Kumar on January 17, 2012, 18:57 GMT

    Pakistan will win all matches. Because england players are lack of confidence for past few months

  • mashood yunus on January 17, 2012, 18:51 GMT

    good article! what did the last line mean. what were you trying to say? " if India want to seek inspiration from a team that has emerged rapidly from an apparently long-term slump..." are you asking India to consult with one of their local teams?

  • Rashid Khan on January 17, 2012, 18:48 GMT

    Very funny indeed. Uleash Azhar Ali in T20 - hahaha. Going by the 1st day of the 1st test, looks like England tried Warner's style but failed miserably. Maybe Azhar Ali will now try Warner's style - who knows!

  • Sameer Ashraf on January 17, 2012, 17:40 GMT

    Some thing tells me the prediction is not going to hit its mark. With resurgent Pakistani team and home like conditions for Pakistan.... the prediction seem far fetched. I would predict the same numbers but with flipped teams.

  • ZeeMan on January 17, 2012, 17:21 GMT

    Regarding the last sentence, nothing like a good knock on the head or in Pakistan's case to the whole body, to cleanse the team and focus on what should be obvious - playing good cricket for the love of the game and the country. Mr. Zaltzman does not give Pakistan any chance to win the series. Perhaps some change of thought after the first day? This isn't the Pakistan team from 2 years ago.

  • Chris Purnell on January 17, 2012, 17:12 GMT

    Re: Reckless cavalier. Who can forget the sacking of Ken Barrington for his 'slow' 275? He was, I think, the first victim of tabloid witch-hunting. Another great blog.

  • Aftab Qureshi on January 17, 2012, 16:11 GMT

    Scoring fast has been the winning formula for Australia and others. But if Pakistan has the bowling to take 20 wickets within the time their slow batters allow the bowlers, that is their winning formula. After all, nothing succeeds like success. But it is still early days and England are not India. I would expect them to work out their own formula to get the best results posssible in UAE.

  • Sohaib on January 17, 2012, 15:55 GMT

    Agreeing with the article, except for the Topic, this is Pakistan's Series all the way. By the time the England players learn how to play Ajmal, the series will be over :)

  • Khalil on January 17, 2012, 15:54 GMT

    Hi Andy, Hilarious comments on Azhar Ali! And there was me thinking not many people had noticed. You have to admire how in this day an' age of your Sehwag's and Warner's, your Pollards and Afridi's, your Gayle's and KP's he's happy to go along nurdling a single every other over!!! Classic Test Cricket as it used to be! Lol.

  • foursandsixes on January 17, 2012, 15:50 GMT

    England will lose 0-3 to Pakistan, they will lose 0-3 when they tour India, and 0-2 when they tour SL. You should worry about Eng first - they are going to go downhill faster than India. India's problem is aging batters who have lost reflexes and the side needs changing - England's problem is more acute - young batters in their prime who cannot play spin! Guess who will fare better in the longer run?!

  • Anonymous on January 17, 2012, 15:46 GMT

    TIL Ramiz raja s got great sense of humour..today when England cricket team was doing very badly..and england bowling coach Mushtaq ahmad seemed very worried in the balcony with england team..Ramiz commentated "mushtaq seems very worried . Had he been passing all the wrong information".

  • MAK on January 17, 2012, 15:20 GMT

    Zaltzman pure genius - working out how not to chuckle at your brilliant observations without guffawing aloud. Day 1 guess to Pakistan and as usual whenever England get bowled out its ball tampering, dodgy actions, or the new incident to review is Pakistan is getting incentivised not to lose. Cant wait for Sctoland Yard to investigate :) WHat is it with KP and left hand spinners....and ive never heard of another chinamen bowler than Brad Hodge - have you?

  • Cool Britt on January 17, 2012, 15:06 GMT

    Lets sleep for another three weeks to let the nightmare come true; Barmy Army 0, Controversially lions 3 after three weeks

    When we will open our eyes we will say to AS England had to win 1-0, 2-1 or tie

    Then, nightmares will only become true when Barmy Army would be facing drought - SL in Sri Lanka

    Sorry my head is spinning with Stock, Dosra, Teesra, Mystery - where is offspinner

  • Anonymous on January 17, 2012, 15:01 GMT

    lets wait and see.

  • Alex Khan on January 17, 2012, 14:59 GMT

    Well Sir, Your observation and vision of the game as compare to what happened in the ground kind of tells me that you don't know diddle-doo of cricket.

  • Sam on January 17, 2012, 14:57 GMT

    Mr. Zaltzman, maybe you should've waited on your final verdict on England to win until the end of the day as from their disappointing performance it does not look like they will win ANY of the matches let alone 2-0! Still loved the article!!

  • shahzad on January 17, 2012, 14:48 GMT

    Im reading one article after another in diff. ways saying the same things that it'l b a walk in the park for England and pakistans run rate is bad england's is awsome. But everyone forgets these are not english or aussie pitches nor outfields. But these are similar pitches to those where england recently lost 5-0, india. And the first day clearly showed where their RR is now and will be. You all are calculating it wrong in my opinion by using stats of english conditions to predict results on slower pitches and even slower outfields

  • Laeeq Ahmad on January 17, 2012, 14:41 GMT

    Andy,

    You forgot to mention that England can loose as well ... You also missed Saeed Ajmal :)

    Hope your next article covers both :)

  • syed on January 17, 2012, 14:38 GMT

    After mis-matches in Austrailia and South Africa we have real matches on hand.WI in 70,s and 80,s were No 1 then for 20 years it was Austrailia. England rise to No 1 was far more impressive than that of India. England may be No 1 but just statistically not in reality. Among Austrailia, England, South Africa and probably Pakistan any team can claim or reclaim No 1 position.Exciting series in prospect.

  • Sameer on January 17, 2012, 14:26 GMT

    After today's play, i would disagree with Zaltzman's predictions. England are looking very edgy in sub-continent like conditions and their top order doesnt seem to be picking Saeed Ajmal's doosras. English team has shown no character of a team having no.1 slot in test rankings.

  • andrew schulz on January 17, 2012, 14:23 GMT

    Excellent points raised. One question that must be asked: can Sri Lanka be considered a major series? A good point, too, about Australia's resurgence. What a shame for you poms that it didn't turn out to be a long term slump.

  • Muhammad Ali on January 17, 2012, 13:47 GMT

    I am confident about pakistan that pakistan will clean sweap the test series (3-0) against England because pakistan has better bowling and batting side than england and it will be proved after this series.

  • nenmini neelakandan on January 17, 2012, 13:42 GMT

    Nowdays almost all countries are unbeatable in their home conditions except may be Bangla desh,Zimbabve , Windies and to a small extend Sri lanka . All are doctoring their home pitches to suit their strengths.India is almost unbeatable in their home pitches. Their inexperience to play swinging,bouncy deliveries cost the series against England &Australia. Overdose of 20-20 cricket-Mainly IPL caused indias misery. BCCI should come boldly in this regard but chances for such a move from BCCI is most unlikely to come

  • rauf on January 17, 2012, 13:39 GMT

    i am sure pakistan will win the series 2-0 atlest if not 3-0 and zaltzman need to find another job to please the english press or suporter. how can some one can predict winng the series who lost to india 5-0 and pakistan unbeaten record for last 12 months is something i can expect from zalzman he is not good in cricket and i am sure if he concentrate on other sports will help him.

  • Sigismund on January 17, 2012, 13:37 GMT

    Andy, you have already used your "fighting like tiger-skin rugs" gag in its proper place - describing the Bangladeshis' defiant Test cricket on their last visit to England; and a beauty it was too. Don't wear it out! (Pun intended)

  • Reece on January 17, 2012, 13:12 GMT

    Are you supposed to be funny?

  • Bilal A. Khan on January 17, 2012, 12:40 GMT

    hahahahah absolutely epic stuff this!

  • Khalid Mustafa on January 17, 2012, 12:04 GMT

    Dear Andy,

    We all know pakistan is the team which can beat any top team in the world. They came out of tough time because of Spot Fixing. In the last few series pakistan played well. When ever pakistani team players are untied they always win and its looks like that Pakistan team is unitied at the moment.

    I just would like to say my forecast. I think pakistan will win the this test series. It can be 2-0 or atleast 1-0.

    Lets see.

    Thanks

    Khalid Mustafa

  • adeel khatri on January 17, 2012, 12:04 GMT

    no i dont think so actually there will be a great upset done by pakistan and they will win the series by 1-0 or 2-0

  • Tafheem on January 17, 2012, 11:53 GMT

    I do not think so it will be the other way round. England batting will struggle against spinners and their bowling against the conditions.

  • Mohan Pai on January 17, 2012, 11:30 GMT

    Very good piece, as usual. [:)] However: "Were they underachieving wildly before, or are they overachieving wildly now? Probably a little bit of both." Should it not be "......a little bit of each."?

    Regards.

  • aku on January 17, 2012, 11:15 GMT

    For a team which has lost so many of its star players in such a short span of time, the performance of Pakistan is nothing short of incredible, thanks to the incredible talent the still carry. Indian team should learn how cornered tigers fight! I have no doubt that they will thrash england this time. Sorry Andy but your prediction is quite simply rubbish and biased.

  • Deepesh on January 17, 2012, 10:56 GMT

    Quite the wrong prediction .... England are bunnies outside of home and dont have a spinner to boast of.... One might say Swann but we all know his 'great' record against batsmen who know how to play spin..... they'll hav to play their best cricket just to avoid a whitewash

  • Amar Ali Khan on January 17, 2012, 10:53 GMT

    Pakistan to win 2-0 or 2-1........

    England won,t be able to face the mysterious deliveries from the likes of Ajmal.....It,s not Monty time.....This time it,s AJMAL,S time......

    Face the teesra........if you can.

  • Shahzeb on January 17, 2012, 10:41 GMT

    At start i also thought that it would be 1-1 but after the seeing the start of the series i now reckon that it would be 2-0 or 3-0 for pakistan.

  • Imran on January 17, 2012, 10:32 GMT

    I think it's possible to trace India's downward trajectory further back to their away series against the West Indies in early 2011 - they turned down some easy chases, taking a draw over a win. Not inspiring stuff, and a sign of things to come.

  • Sam Davison on January 17, 2012, 9:49 GMT

    Well Zatlz old boy... if I were you I'd get as much wear out of that rather preposterous 'World's #1 Test Team' t-shirt you must have as you can. Things happen very fast unless you're very, very, very good (which I'm not sure your lads are - good yes ...but not really very, very, very good wouldn't you agree?). And whatever you do, don't lose it. I have a feeling come this time next year (and into the future) they'll be worth a bob or two on ebay!

  • Ahmed Hassan on January 17, 2012, 9:43 GMT

    ..... Saeed Ajmal ..... Simply beautiful :P

    So much for your prediction :P again ...wink wink ...

  • Zahid on January 17, 2012, 9:31 GMT

    Mr Andy. Get your statistic right. They are tumbling already :-))))

  • vineet singh on January 17, 2012, 9:16 GMT

    i am writing this post hours after the first test has started and the pakistani spinners are suddenly looking mysterious to englishmen. it seems that experts are thinking that having the right balance in the team ensures the victory in every condition. But it is not the case now as some of the recent results in test cricket are suggesting ,performing outside the home conditions is becoming and no team in the world is looking dominant in the outer world. with all the regards to andy i think same scoreline will read after the series favouring pakistan.

  • Tariq Razi on January 17, 2012, 9:13 GMT

    Dear Andy,

    Your zealous perspectives couldn't be much further off the mark. Shows how badly you have read the recent developments in Pakistan cricket and short comings of the English team both in reading pitches and spin bowling. Andrew Strauss had thought at the time of tossing the coin that the wicket would not spin !!! Talk about disconnected from reality and not doing home work. Your man to watch, i.e. Monty Panesar is not even included in the English Team. High time the so called experts of cricket took stock of the realities.

  • Qsm on January 17, 2012, 9:01 GMT

    look azhar is pure test player and test cricket need some players like him that even make you sure that they can play safe cricket and not through their wicket by slashing hard instead of placing the ball.

  • Muhammad Ehsan on January 17, 2012, 8:49 GMT

    England to win 1-0. Or 2-1. Or tie .......... Too early to conclude ........ England does not have a great record against Pakistan in Sub continent to support this prediction.

  • Nish on January 17, 2012, 8:43 GMT

    Hats off sir... A drudge face i was carrying in office today but the lines "(Predictive punditry is pointless.) (What am I doing with my life?)" lit me up...Dawned on me that laughing on yourslef is teh best thing to do...

    an evver guffawing fan of yours

  • Ahmad on January 17, 2012, 8:41 GMT

    eating your words zaltzman?

  • crickcrites on January 17, 2012, 8:37 GMT

    "Wondering if A.Zaltzman is a full time or a part time employee of England Cicket Board." This post is just a Biased!

  • Anonymous on January 17, 2012, 8:23 GMT

    i think that pakistan will going to win this series 1-0 or 2-0 there is no chance that england will going to win this series reason is that pakistan will not going to change there diffencive aproch and that might helped them and pakistan spin department is far better than eng the worst can pak do in this seris that 1-1 coz middle east pitches is made like subcontint wicket and hard for fast bowlers as england surly rely upon broad anderson and onion/tremlet swaan is world class bowler and he alone not able to bowl out pak batting line up therefore i think pakistan have good chance to win this serious lets wait and watch figer crossed

  • Asad on January 17, 2012, 8:15 GMT

    Wiles of Saeed Ajmal, really? Hahah.

  • imran on January 17, 2012, 8:14 GMT

    pakistan will win the series by 2_0

  • Moin on January 17, 2012, 8:14 GMT

    Going by your prediction of 1-1 for india vs australia, I expect Pakistan to win the series 2-0 or even 3-0

  • imran on January 17, 2012, 8:13 GMT

    pakistan will win the series by 2_0

  • Anonymous on January 17, 2012, 8:10 GMT

    hahahahahahahaha loser See your loins in Only First hour

  • onix on January 17, 2012, 8:10 GMT

    keep dreaming mr.zaltzman by the time u wake up from ur dream pak will whjte wash the series !! this aint any england where ur jimmy boy comes on with swing and wins the matches or ian bell will average 100 on home soil .england will struggle like always they did in the subcontinent .come on pak beat eng and show the supremacy of asian teams in subcontinent.only sa or aus are gud enough to come close rest all non asian teams are walkovers in sub continent.swanny boy will luk like a school kid bowling in a inter school tournament

  • faisal on January 17, 2012, 8:03 GMT

    i will ask u if pakistan wins the series

  • Anonymous on January 17, 2012, 8:02 GMT

    keep dreaming mr.author pak will white wash england .england will be all over. the place in sub continent !! come on pak show england what is a typical subcontinental attack.beat them !!

  • Sam Davison on January 17, 2012, 7:54 GMT

    I predict that the Combined XI (or England if you prefer...) will do their best to lose but will ultimately prevail. And even if they do lose, then they will at least have had a chance to show themselves off to cricketers in a new part of the world who may (or may not) want to join the team!

  • Jawad Khan on January 17, 2012, 7:46 GMT

    Well, England will lose the series.. Without a single tie. Clean wash!

  • aftab on January 17, 2012, 6:51 GMT

    Pakistan will win 2-0

  • indranil chatterjee on January 17, 2012, 6:36 GMT

    The question re Monty P is whether he will be playing his "second" test differently. Agreed he may have an "experience" of 35-40 tests but was alleged to have played the same game some 35-40 times! Unless he assimilates learning from his experience, chances are remote that he be picked in the dustbowls of the subcontitent later this year. Given the Pak captain approach, a strike rate of 50 plus may liable young batters to be dropped in the next test unless of course, PCB decides to unleash them in T-20. After all these dull nerve-wecking thrillers throughout last couple of years that did not bring spectators to the ground, it may be a good idea to see four sessions of Azhar Misbah batting followed by another five of Trott and Bell.And Andy, when would you ever learn how to mix marketing with cricket? Sachin's century is the best marketing bet ever done in the history of the game around which the rest revolves and would all vanish together like the maverick make u rich in 30 min salesm

  • ret on January 17, 2012, 6:00 GMT

    Entertaining article but a tad heavy on the hyperbole. If England's 3-1 victory over Australia was an "annihilation" then what is a suitable word to describe their 0-5 loss in their previous visit down under?

  • irshad alam on January 17, 2012, 5:57 GMT

    dear hello and pak and eng series result is that test series 1-0 pak win and ODI's 3-1 pak win ant t20 3-0 pak win inshallah you see

  • Anonymous on January 17, 2012, 5:54 GMT

    Very good

  • Master Turner on January 17, 2012, 5:37 GMT

    Pakistan is not expected to win this series but they must play good cricket, unlike India losing test in two and half days.

  • No featured comments at the moment.

  • Master Turner on January 17, 2012, 5:37 GMT

    Pakistan is not expected to win this series but they must play good cricket, unlike India losing test in two and half days.

  • Anonymous on January 17, 2012, 5:54 GMT

    Very good

  • irshad alam on January 17, 2012, 5:57 GMT

    dear hello and pak and eng series result is that test series 1-0 pak win and ODI's 3-1 pak win ant t20 3-0 pak win inshallah you see

  • ret on January 17, 2012, 6:00 GMT

    Entertaining article but a tad heavy on the hyperbole. If England's 3-1 victory over Australia was an "annihilation" then what is a suitable word to describe their 0-5 loss in their previous visit down under?

  • indranil chatterjee on January 17, 2012, 6:36 GMT

    The question re Monty P is whether he will be playing his "second" test differently. Agreed he may have an "experience" of 35-40 tests but was alleged to have played the same game some 35-40 times! Unless he assimilates learning from his experience, chances are remote that he be picked in the dustbowls of the subcontitent later this year. Given the Pak captain approach, a strike rate of 50 plus may liable young batters to be dropped in the next test unless of course, PCB decides to unleash them in T-20. After all these dull nerve-wecking thrillers throughout last couple of years that did not bring spectators to the ground, it may be a good idea to see four sessions of Azhar Misbah batting followed by another five of Trott and Bell.And Andy, when would you ever learn how to mix marketing with cricket? Sachin's century is the best marketing bet ever done in the history of the game around which the rest revolves and would all vanish together like the maverick make u rich in 30 min salesm

  • aftab on January 17, 2012, 6:51 GMT

    Pakistan will win 2-0

  • Jawad Khan on January 17, 2012, 7:46 GMT

    Well, England will lose the series.. Without a single tie. Clean wash!

  • Sam Davison on January 17, 2012, 7:54 GMT

    I predict that the Combined XI (or England if you prefer...) will do their best to lose but will ultimately prevail. And even if they do lose, then they will at least have had a chance to show themselves off to cricketers in a new part of the world who may (or may not) want to join the team!

  • Anonymous on January 17, 2012, 8:02 GMT

    keep dreaming mr.author pak will white wash england .england will be all over. the place in sub continent !! come on pak show england what is a typical subcontinental attack.beat them !!

  • faisal on January 17, 2012, 8:03 GMT

    i will ask u if pakistan wins the series