January 20, 2012

Mike Holmans

Can England really be that bad again?

Mike Holmans
Ian Bell was dismissed again by a Saeed Ajmal doosra, Pakistan v England, 1st Test, Dubai, 3rd day, January 19, 2012
If it was the First World War, England's batsmen would have been lined up against the wall for gormlessness  © Getty Images

As Senna the Soothsayer used to say in Up Pompeii, “Woe, woe, and thrice woe!” Except that she was usually wrong, whereas it is the only sensible reaction to England's dismal performance in the first Test against Pakistan, in Dubai.

The bowlers have little to be ashamed of: on a pitch of that quality, keeping Pakistan to under 350 was a pretty decent showing, and most of them showed at least some fight with the bat.

But the batsmen! In the first innings, Matt Prior showed what could be done by someone prepared to be watchful and play with care – which doesn't mean no boundary-hitting, just that you only attempt the biggish shot when it is properly on and there aren't fielders where you want to put the ball. Jonathan Trott in the second innings looked to have the right idea but was not able to keep it going.

Those glimpses apart, the top seven can be glad this is not the British Army in the First World War, or they would have been lined up against a wall today and shot for gormlessness in the face of the enemy. Granted, Umar Gul and Saeed Ajmal are very good bowlers, but there is little need to help them out by wrapping your wicket in fancy paper, tying a ribbon round it and presenting it to them in a gesture of wild generosity.

However, I am not yet drawing any conclusions. England not only talk the talk about bouncing back, but have been walking the walk as well. They have won the Tests immediately following each of their last four losses, at least two of which have been as abject as this one. It is an impressive record of reaction to defeat: any assessment of their likely chances in the next game have to take that into account.

And it is hard to believe that they will be quite as bad next time round. They have all played enough cricket to know what they are supposed to be doing, even if only a couple of them even gave a hint of such knowledge on this occasion. This is whistling to keep one's spirits up, to be sure, but eternal optimism is the hallmark of the cricket fan – at least until it becomes horribly apparent that the team is in fact dreadful and one just has to start finding humour in their haplessness.

Don't get me wrong. I am in no way trying to belittle what Pakistan achieved, nor am I suggesting that they don't go into the next match as deserved favourites. This was my first viewing of them since the unfortunate events in England and they look a good unit. They are well led and have some outstanding bowling. I wouldn't say that their batting line-up is world-beating, but it is equally apparent that it isn't short of character or competence.

But, as with England, I'm not going to draw firm conclusions from one match. There is no way of knowing how Pakistan will react to thrashing the world No. 1 team until they play the next game. I am not talking about Pakistan's famed inconsistency – there is not all that much recent evidence of it, after all – but they are talking up the victory in a way ominously familiar to England supporters. England have been known to exhibit cup-final syndrome, following an outstanding win with a lax, overconfident performance next time out, and there's no guarantee that Pakistan won't succumb to the same complacence.

If you want to crow about how brilliant Pakistan are and how a team as awful as England does not deserve its ranking, it might be as well to have the grace to wait until that suspicion is confirmed by the match in Abu Dhabi.

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Posted by Darshit Nayak on (January 28, 2012, 19:53 GMT)

"If you want to crow about how brilliant Pakistan are and how a team as awful as England does not deserve its ranking, it might be as well to have the grace to wait until that suspicion is confirmed by the match in Abu Dhabi." these were ur final words Mr. Holman! so take that! England Written Off! it's gona get worst this year.. Good Luck!

Posted by Cliff Adams on (January 28, 2012, 16:53 GMT)

A whitewash is staring England in the face. Pakistan toppled them off the pedestal. Swann and Broad are good cricketers but their high and mighty sometimes arrogant attitude received a good punch. Let's hope that they have learnt and will celebrate their successes on the field more modestly.

Posted by waterbuffalo on (January 28, 2012, 14:36 GMT)

Yahoo! We won! A spectacular victory! Mohsin for Full Time Coach, Misbah Captain for life, Ohhhh you Beauty!!

Posted by smudgey on (January 28, 2012, 12:14 GMT)

Can England really be that bad again? ummm...YES?

Posted by Ehtisham Saleem on (January 25, 2012, 17:37 GMT)

Wicket is helping to fast bowlers as well as to spinners.Tomorrows will be a wonderful day to watch....exellent cricket...good luk Pakistan.

Posted by Saleem zafar on (January 25, 2012, 17:34 GMT)

Although Pakistan middle order collapes but with the responsible inning of misbah ul haq and asad shafiq.Pakistan now in comfortable condition.If Pakistan can make 30 to 40 run tomorrow than Pakistani bowlers will be more confident to get england out at low score.Saeed ajmal will be a key bowler and will play n important role for this match as wicket is helping o the spinner.

Posted by Five-Nil Fletcher on (January 24, 2012, 13:33 GMT)

Shouldn't this series count as a Home Series for 'England'? After all the venues don't belong to either country playing on them & a lot of the 'England' team don't belong to the country they are playing for - so click. Great away win for Pakistan.

Posted by Anonymous on (January 24, 2012, 10:15 GMT)

Mr.Ben Please do not take the advantage back from Pakistani Bowlers. Yes i do agree England batsman also played some bad shots.Next test is really a test of both sides

Posted by Saleem Zafar on (January 24, 2012, 10:10 GMT)

England Must accept defeat because of the quality display by Pakistani Bowlers instead of criticizing the action of Saeed Ajaml

Posted by Saleem Zafar on (January 24, 2012, 10:08 GMT)

It is always known by Pakistani bowlers that England team is very bad to play against spin. This time Pakistan beat England by spin attack as shown in figure 10 wickets by Saeed Ajmal and Five by Rehman. Only five wickets by seamer. Next match is not of spinners only, it is also a test of Seamer. Pakistan must try Wahab Riaz .

Posted by mohsin on (January 24, 2012, 8:17 GMT)

well..let's all see this series as the most exciting one, because now Pakistan and England matches have the same heat as Pak-India matches have ...i really like this new born rivalry between two great talented teams willing to do everything for their pride..it's really good to see Pakistan performing well against England in these situations ...i say this series will be a memorable one for all of us ...!!

Posted by waterbuffalo on (January 24, 2012, 6:17 GMT)

What interests me is the toss. If England wins, should they bat first? Why should they? Shot out for less than 200 both inngs previously, shoudn't they put Pakistan in? Try to reduce Pakistan to 40-5 themselves? Now how would it look? The Number 1 team in the world not wanting to bat first cause they are concerned with Pakistan's bowling? So does England care how it looks? Pride and so on? Or should they protect their batsmen by putting Pakistan in and relying on their bowlers to get the job done? Either way, Pakistan wins. England wins the toss, they bat at their peril, Pakistan wins, you can bet your house that Misbah puts them in. So England must realize they only have one choice. Put Pakistan in,and admit that their top 6 batsmen are not good enough to be called Number 1.

Posted by Salman on (January 23, 2012, 21:38 GMT)

Well, I do not think Abu Dhabi would be the real test, as that wicket is slower and usually does not produce results. It would be much easier for batsmen to score on, and if England does better, it would not be a great reaction, it is supposed to be that way! I look forward to the third and last test match that would decide the fate of England!

Posted by Changaiz on (January 23, 2012, 19:37 GMT)

Ok . Guys Plsss stop being kids it's a gentleman's Game . English media and Bob Willis are not whole Of UK so thier comments Shud not b taken seriously And fir all cricket fans let's just see what happens In next game Coz in the end it's all talk Outside the field it's in the field that matters . I hope it's Game that wins and not negative media talk from both sides.

Posted by lookwhoshere on (January 23, 2012, 17:33 GMT)

Now the question should be "Can England be really that good in Asia?"..the answer is 18-1 so NO(screaming)..worse than 7-0 :)..prove me wrong doosra and teesra coming ..I meant the 2nd and 3rd test so don't get spooked England :)..Ajmal can bowl only 3 balls 1) away 2) straight(not the elbow :)) 3) in..go figure ..oh i forgot England cannot..i give u a clue watch the hand not the elbow :)

Posted by shami on (January 23, 2012, 16:15 GMT)

Stars are going to shine again in the upcoming test. Pakistan will finish the next game in less than 4 days with another victory in its pocket. Don't believe it ! wait and see......

Posted by asifindaze on (January 23, 2012, 13:36 GMT)

this is a time for Pakistan, one thing about misbah's leadership a time was when all crectices WERE WITH HIM, HE WAS THE MAN WITH NO EXTRA PRESSURE TAKING, ON THAT TIME NO ONE CAN HANDLE THAT MUCH PRESSURE BUT HE WAS THE MAN OF WISDOM KNOW AFTER NO CRECTICE has left for HIM HE CAN BIT ANY TEAM

Posted by Bryn on (January 23, 2012, 13:30 GMT)

yes that are that bad, one dimentional. and judging by the way their under 19 and reserve sides are doing, they will be competing with bangladesh and zimbabwe in the future for 9th and 10th in the rankings. the ashes are going to be coming home for a long long time once again.

Posted by Sajju on (January 23, 2012, 12:54 GMT)

Well no doubt Pakistan has come a long way from their unpredictability and inconsistency and their bowling has always been great thanks to likes of Imran, Sarfraz, Qadir, Waseem Akram, Waqar and Saqlain etc and now also they have match winning bowlers who can bowl out any side on their day it is the batting which is still the main concern and this slow batting looks good and settled when playing in UAE but same cannot be said when they go abroad.

Even though they outplayed England in all departments of the game their Batting still was not upto the mark as they lost their way after being on course to making 500+ total.

But it all is going in right direction under Misbah atleast some consistency and discipline in their ranks and good to get rid of spoilers in their ranks and if they keep improving in just Batting and Fielding they can challenge any team abroad also.

Posted by Abu, India on (January 23, 2012, 12:39 GMT)

I watched every ball of the match. Also I watched the highlight of this match 2-3 times. I am very very happy for Pakistan.I want Pakistan to whitewash the English team.

Posted by Mussa on (January 23, 2012, 10:12 GMT)

This home advantage issue is a bit stupid. People say that the 'Gulf wickets are similer to their home wickets'. So if Pakistan play in India, who would have the home advantage? Both teams would be under similar 'home' conditions. Pakistan are playing away from home. Period. Another thing, I wonder what Bob Willis (and the rest!)would have said if England finished off Pakistan inside 3 days. Yes, they would have said England are the best! Ajmal wouldn't even have a mention.

Posted by Ben on (January 23, 2012, 5:33 GMT)

I don't buy the line that 'England can't play quality spin bowling'. It wasn't quality spin bowling that did them really. It was much more to do with poor shot selection on relatively straight balls. The thing that really puts the nail in the coffin for the argument that the spinners did England in is the fact that Umar Gul took 4 in the second innings. England are their own worst enem. The Poms need to work harder if they want to beat Asian sides in Asia (not an easy thing to do).

Posted by Meety on (January 23, 2012, 5:20 GMT)

@Whirling Dervish - whilst I think the that the time rules need some revision, the fact is it should be of no matter where the player was born, rather how long he resided in that country. Pietersen played 1st class cricket for Sth Africa a country that plays test cricket, he should of served a longer period in exile for tests (IMO). Morgan's country of origin doesn't play test cricket, therefor I am OK with him not having a time in exile for Tests, but am annoyed that he plays for England in ODIs. (Ireland are pushing for Test status & W/Cup performances in ODIs seem to count a fair bit). Khawaja was born in Pakistan - emigrated at 3 yrs of age, I think he is fair game to play for Oz. Geraint Jones, PNG born, played for England, is set to return to PNG in ODIs, I think that is a great thing. I think it's a case by case issue. That being said, I do like bagging the United World XI!!!!

Posted by spence1324 on (January 22, 2012, 17:05 GMT)

@Whirling Dervish,thankyou you have answered my question!

Posted by haseeb niazi on (January 22, 2012, 15:54 GMT)

the only point we are happy for pakistan is because they didnt collapse, there wasnt something controversial again, like match fixing, and there was no team politics. otherwise, lets admit it, this isn't the best team pakistan had over the years. and they are playing well. not brilliant. and most english batsmen threw their wickets away. so lets not talk about pakistan being no.1 side or whatever.

Posted by Shahid on (January 22, 2012, 13:49 GMT)

Each team is winning at home and losing on away tours. But that's not the case with Pakistan. They have no home advantage at all. Many will argue that Gulf wickets are similer to their home wickets but that's not the only factor which supports a home team. Second test starts in few days and I smell Abul Rehman taking over his turn to run through England.

Posted by Muhammad Usama on (January 22, 2012, 13:32 GMT)

Writeris reminding us how uncertain we use to be but for couple of years we have been (Allah Ka Shukar Hay)consistent enough that i m not expecting huge decline in performance of Pakistan but yet England can fight back nodoubt should be exciting next match ...

Posted by getsetgopk on (January 22, 2012, 11:37 GMT)

and the south africans amongst them would swiftly raise their hands and say "we are not poms,dont you shoot us, we are just in it for the money" lol

Posted by Mashkoor on (January 22, 2012, 8:49 GMT)

I am surprised at the article. As one friend said in comments above, I have not seen or heard one Pakistani player or official "talking up" this victory. All I have heard from Misbah and the coach and the boys is that "we played well, so we won. If we want to win the next game, we'll have to play excellent again, otherwise England can stage a comeback very easily since they are No. 1 ranked team". Now this doesn't sound like bragging to me. It is plain old realism on Pakistani's part. They are graceful in victory. England media (and the English coach as well) should take care of what they say. It's a game and the side who plays well wins, simple as that! I just read in the paper that the English coach said that it's not his place to comment on Ajmal's bowling action. In the same breath, however, he said that he has a personal opinion about the matter which he doesn't want to mention. I mean, if he has a personal opinion, why does he say stuff like this on media then? What a crybaby!

Posted by Aatif on (January 22, 2012, 8:48 GMT)

I m getting this feeling that Misbah will try for 'no result or draw' for next two tests.

Posted by Observer on (January 22, 2012, 8:14 GMT)

A piece of advice to pak team. Dont get carried away with the victory and more importantly dont get intimidated with English media and press psychological thumping. Make yourselves mentally strong as the contest just started. Now you know, you are against whom. You just play your game and stict to basics. As for heroes, eng is always looking for excuses and traps.

Posted by Catalan4ever on (January 22, 2012, 7:01 GMT)

I was not at all surprise by comments made by Bob Willis. As Andrew Hughes pointed out in his column at Page 2.

"We should never forget one of the fundamental principles of modern cricket, known as Murali’s Law, which states that the extent to which a spin bowler’s action is a problem is directly related to the number of opponents he has dismissed in the current series."

Swann was also wearing long sleeves and so were atleast a dozen other players.

Anyway it is now poised to be a cracking series as the No 1 team have to chase the game and it remain to be seen how the Poms gonna react to that shocking batting display at Dubai. This series gonna be the blue print for their India n Srilanka tour and one which could determine the fate of No.1 position.

P.S. The debate about foriegn players in Eng team is getting boring n stupid. It always appear like a jibe by the fans whose team is thrashed by England.

Posted by Jymbo on (January 22, 2012, 3:57 GMT)

Whirling & Salman - Its not like they played test cricket for other nations and then caught the first plane to the English Test team causing English born players to be overlooked. Majority of them still had to ply and improve their trade in the English County league. Morgan......well, you got me there :-)

Posted by Ali Syedain on (January 22, 2012, 2:10 GMT)

(Continued) So the mantle of the world's best side should remain with England even if they loose the series. But should they settle for such a result? I propose they should: 1. They have a whole year of cricket in the sub-continent and they can improve slowly; 2. Whereas one expects them to play spin better, they might well not play well enough to take the next two tests; 3. Trying to improve IMMEDIATELY, as the British press so humbly seems to suggest, will backfire - patience with this bunch of batsmen is wiser than quick chops and changes. Ranking does not guarantee performance and each game has to be won on merit. England do not play spin well and they have come across the best spin attack since Mural and an undiscovered Mendis came together. It is logical for England to loose the test, perhaps this series. But they will come across lesser spin attacks later this year and can assert themselves then. Pakistanis are busy thumping their chests. But they have a lot more to prove.

Posted by wass on (January 21, 2012, 21:02 GMT)

i've heard it all before "its impossible to reverse swing a ball without cheating"

Posted by Salman on (January 21, 2012, 20:32 GMT)

English team needs another South African!!!

Posted by Riaz on (January 21, 2012, 20:24 GMT)

I am Pakistani supporter and really dont take too much from one win, true celebrations can start when the series is won. I hope this win does not put pressure on the Pakistan team.... It could easily do that. Si iasi all supporters not to get carried away. Everything went Pakistans way, first match this may not happen again, so please be balanced. It is England who have to prove that they are number one and match their words such as creating a legacy with action.I cannot remember west indies and Australia taking about legacy after 2 seasons! Pakistan must recall 2005 victory 2-0 victory at home after England won the ashes. It was Shoaib who terrorised them and of course Pakistan had Inzimam?

Posted by Tahir on (January 21, 2012, 18:54 GMT)

Excellent article... I'm anxiously waiting for next even in Abu Dhabi. I think both the teams are good. While Eng carry the Flag for been the No 1 team Pak on the other hand has to prove that they are a unit as in a team with the whole unit contributing and trying tot make a statement. That statement is simple..... We are here to play good cricket and we will be competitive.... that not to take us lightly and last but not the least.............. WE ARE FOR THE FIGHT TO WIN.......... TO DENY US ENG SIMPLY HAS TO RAISE THE BAR... I be expecting a good fight in the upcoming match... and so let the best team win............ Nice article by the way............

Posted by Whirling Dervish on (January 21, 2012, 18:20 GMT)

Spence - great try buy no cigar - I think you will find that many white South Africans were entitled to a british passport which means like Trott for example he was born to South African parents of English heritage!!!!

And dont tell me that England Cricket team werent making overtures to the Irish Legspinner who played really well in the world cup

Posted by Graham on (January 21, 2012, 17:52 GMT)

Pakistan were at least as good as England in the bowling department, but had wisely erred on the side of spin rather than pace. England really can't seem to get out of this '1 spinner, 3 quicks' mindset and it will really hurt them here and in the subcontinent.

When it came to batting, Pakistan were light years ahead of England. They put a value on their wicket and played sensibly. Compared to what we saw when Pakistan toured England in 2010, it seems like attitudes have been reversed. England batted like Pakistan in the bad old days. This Pakistan team are a much tighter, more workmanlike unit and full credit to them.

England have it all to do now. To be honest, the best they can hope for is a series draw, and that may well be beyond them.

Posted by Mohammed Meeran on (January 21, 2012, 17:35 GMT)

Dear All,

It is really unfair to say this much about England after just one defeat. That too they lost after 18 months. Still they are champion in test. They have such talented players in their playing eleven. Defeat in one match doesn't change their status. Pakistan is growing fast & hope they will continue. Don't blame this English team. You will notice how this team will bounce back in the remainder of series.

Thanks & Kind Regards, Meeran

Posted by Faisal on (January 21, 2012, 17:30 GMT)

Pakistan team have to be very careful in next test match ..Pakistan only need to do is to hope for the best and prepare for the worse because they are thinking of trapping u by every possible way they could ... they could pressurized paki team by blaming paki players or any psychological pressure they can create during match ... Pakistan's' cricket coach has to be very careful and captain also......and get ready to answer them through your excellent Actionnnnn best of Luck Pakistan Allah will help u and InshAllah you will win every series from test to t20 Ameen

Posted by msq on (January 21, 2012, 16:43 GMT)

@ Tom, have you forgotten that Trott, Strauss and Peitersen are from South Africa? Where's your head at?

Posted by Desihungama on (January 21, 2012, 16:43 GMT)

@Simon - I assume from your comments that you have never played sports or at least under a sun?

You should be wearing long sleeves if you are playing in hot humid conditions, especially such as Dubai's. It's humid and sweaty and you don't get sick in the evening when wind blows, albeit hot? Now do you?

Posted by shahzad ali on (January 21, 2012, 16:30 GMT)


Posted by Ali Syedain on (January 21, 2012, 16:15 GMT)

One is familiar with the hysteria in the English tabloid, but I am surprised by the over-reaction of the more serious commentators. Generations of under-cooked foreign teams have succumbed to English atmospheres and bounce Perth pitches in the first tests, only to come back strongly later in the series. Quite obviously, this is the first English team in living memory that is strong enough to be disappointed by an adverse result.

To me, any of three results are still possible in the series and, surely, a world beating side must be expected to have both the natural ability and the confidence to bounce back. But England can expect to draw or loose the series and still be considered the best. For of all the world-best sides, only Australia and the West Indies have done well on the sub-continent. And even Australia's success was fleeting. Indeed, home conditions are too great a divide in cricket to be overcome even every decade.(continued...)

Posted by spence1324 on (January 21, 2012, 16:03 GMT)

Whirling Dervish apart from eoin morgan,all the players were british passport holders before they played for england.You seem a educated person so I will let you go and figure out why!

Posted by Tom on (January 21, 2012, 14:34 GMT)

Whirling Dervish: If such a rule were to be applied, the only player England would lose would be Eoin Morgan. A shame for him but not, I think, a great loss to the team. But nice try!

Posted by Tariq Butt on (January 21, 2012, 13:56 GMT)

@Kamran Jabbar:;get a life,,u looks like one of those PAK hater Indian fan(mind u they r only a tiny minority)with changed name,,,message for u is GET A LIFE mate,,the time of fixing is over,,just see the results from last 18 months,, Now,,Pakistan done well and I don't think they will be just lashed back from England in next match,,it will be better performance but still it will be very tough for England and i don't think Pak will be complaicent in any way but we r expecting a good match all the way so good luck to Pakistan.

Posted by Skhan on (January 21, 2012, 13:43 GMT)

It is a pity that some people take on a professional job & cant get the hang of their personal feelings, yes I am talking about you Bob. It is equally unfair that an entire nation (England) is being represented by this big mouth.

Posted by Captain Swing on (January 21, 2012, 13:39 GMT)

The comments about the true nationality of a number of English players are becoming tiresome. I was born in Calcutta, but no one thinks that I'm an Indian – it may be something to do with the purple face and blue eyes. In the same way Matt Prior was born in South Africa, but returned to his native country when young (I returned to England when I was five). Strauss has the same record, and Trott has two English parents, one of whom played first class cricket in England. Peterson has an English mother, and who should Eoin Morgan play test cricket for?

I should point out that the great opening batsmen Gordon Greenidge was born in England and learned his cricket in England, but played for the West Indies, and no one objected to that. Maybe something to do with skin colour in his case too.

Posted by CricTilIDie on (January 21, 2012, 13:17 GMT)

Excellent argument and rebuttal to the frankly hysterical comments written by Miandad, Quadir et al. From what I have seen, the overwhelming majority of English and Pakistan cricket fans have been discussing/debating their teams in good spirit. It's just a shame that old pros like Miandad can't put forward some considered perspective. The ony FAIR thing to do in judging England's 'deserved place as no 1 ' is to wait unti this season is over when England will have played all the major subcontinental test teams - India & Pak away. Also a shame that an article that responds to the ridiculous chest thumping of the likes of Miandad is taken so personally by some of those writingbelow. Still, some of the prejudice is bound to work its way out of the wood.

Posted by Bilal on (January 21, 2012, 13:02 GMT)

Dear Simon!!

You got it all wrong........ That is why you English people cannot play spin....... To play spin you need to watch his wrist and fingers not the elbow!!!!! LOLz!!!! I know what you are tawking about but please comeon!! Grow up!! Learn to accept defeat.... i hope you people dont want to see Gul's sleeves as well.

Posted by Khan on (January 21, 2012, 12:41 GMT)

@Simon. Well I wonder what you will be saying next time if Hafeez takes 10 wicket. Probably its illegal for spinner to bowl inside first 10 overs. I know its really feel hard to get beaten like this but learn to accept the truth. Saeed Ajmal action is clear by ICC. People like you used to blame Muttiah Multhitharan too, but he showed the world what great spinner he is. Similarly Ajmal will show you his greatness.

Posted by Zamana on (January 21, 2012, 12:40 GMT)

Great achievement by Pakistan. They demonstrsted tremendous skill and team work. Hoping they maintain their dominance.

Posted by ijg2704 on (January 21, 2012, 12:26 GMT)

@PRASHAnt at January 21, 2012 9:38 AM - re "POMMIES U GUYS ARE ONLY GUD @ HOME AND AUSTRALIA!!!!" - which is ironic as they are 2 places where India are currently worse than pathetic

Posted by Whirling Dervish on (January 21, 2012, 12:17 GMT)

@ Simon - Forgot to mention that was it not reported that the ICC bio-mechanical specialist showed that all bowlers have a degree of inflexion; I think it was recorded that Glenn McGrath had a 9 degree of inflexion.

Posted by Anonymous on (January 21, 2012, 12:15 GMT)

Yep, nothing can be said until the Abu Dhabi test is played next week.

And to reiterate another commentator's pet peeve: Dubai is in the Middle East. India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bhutan and Maldives would count as the countries in the subcontinent. Please someone get word to the (English) commentators: refer to the location of the grounds as the Gulf or the Middle East, not the subcontinent. Though, of course, the Dubai International Ground must feel like the National Stadium in Karachi delivering such similar victories to Pakistan as it did.

Posted by Whirling Dervish on (January 21, 2012, 11:58 GMT)

Actually its not England that we were playing it was the rainbow alliance - England has only done well by its recruitment of non-English players - which is a detriment to homegrown talent that will be ignored.

Perhaps ICC should reintroduce the 5 year rule and a 7 year rule for those players who have played for another country irrespective of whether it was test, one day or twenty twenty; then we would see how good England really is.

Finally, I am not against England I just wish they would utilise the homegrown talent.

Posted by Haroon BUtt on (January 21, 2012, 11:56 GMT)

Mike you seem to have lost a bit of perspective. At the risk of sounding patronising, allow me to help. "as with England, I'm not going to draw firm conclusions from one match." Followed by "they (Pakistan) are talking up the victory in a way ominously familiar to England supporters" Correct me if my inference is wrong, but are you suggesting that the Pakistan team are talking up this victory? If so, please substantiate this claim with evidence. If team Pakistan are not saying this (but the fans are), you are comparing the England team to a bunch of Pakistani supporters and their comments on a free for all website. Also, thank you for for your wise words reminding us of our duties to not make comments which annoy you. I apologise profusely. Now, may I suggest you don't generalise 100 million odd Pakistani fans as uncouth upstarts? Incidentally, there is no doubt that England deserve respect as number 1, but equally Pakistan deserve kudos for being the only team who never play at home.

Posted by Naeem on (January 21, 2012, 11:35 GMT)

@Simon - do you need a hanky :(

Fact is Eng always whine about something whichever sport whenever they get royally stuffed by an opposition they underestimated! Ajmal's action is as valid as that of the Engish usurping all the players under the sun to represent them - technically it's not right yet approved by the ICC!

Ajmal only got 2 wkts from the Doosra, majority of the wkts fell to shots misreading the length - even Gul prospered similarly ...

Eng seem rusty and confused yet that's not anyone's fault other than the entourage of 30 Eng has brought with them to the UAE. Be graceful if possible or do we have to wait for an Enfg bowler to master the Doosra - as with reverse swing - to stop the WHINING....

Posted by Rockstar on (January 21, 2012, 11:27 GMT)


Just wait and watch!

Posted by saha on (January 21, 2012, 11:18 GMT)

pakistan is a best cricket team..........

Posted by Simon on (January 21, 2012, 10:32 GMT)

Once England have acclimatised, they'll bat properly! All teams get stuffed occasionally.

If spinners would wear short sleeves we could all see their elbows!

Posted by Kamran Jabbar on (January 21, 2012, 10:29 GMT)

There is a possibility of series fixing and Pakistan will lost next two games and draw one. This match actually raise the bidding numbers.

Posted by S.Khan on (January 21, 2012, 10:14 GMT)

I totally agree. One test doesn't mean much, let the series end & then we can discuss which team should be ranked where. I dont doubt England will come back with a vengeance in the next test & that is when Misbah's leadership & the team's spirit & hunger will truly be tested. GG all!

Posted by Mark on (January 21, 2012, 10:13 GMT)

Pakistan have finally a excellent side, yes the best one in South Asia without a doubt. They certainly have been one of the most talented and imaginative for decades. England seems to be struggling to cope with the high quality bowling and the desert conditions in the Middle East. For Pakistan their Middle Eastern abode is their secondary home. Also why do many in the English media call Dubai the subcontinent? Have they forgotten where they are? Its the Middle East! Not the Subcontinent please get your facts right. Very different to the Subcontinent. Although for Pakistan Dubai Cricket Stadium must feel like Karachi.

The number 1 status is a bit misleading, because it doesn't take in,away performances over long period. England does well in their own English conditions, but struggle in the much hotter and sunnier climate of the Middle East, Pakistan, India and Sri Lanka. Australia, though they have found it tough have won a world cup and been in a world cup final in the Subcontinent.

Posted by Aditya on (January 21, 2012, 10:01 GMT)

"or they would have been lined up against a wall today and shot for gormlessness in the face of the enemy" - You wouldn't realise how quickly violent language like that becomes a norm. Please desist from using such references. England gifted their wickets, but you are 'in no way trying to belittle what Pakistan achieved'. Right.

Posted by iBilal on (January 21, 2012, 9:57 GMT)

I have confidence in Misbah... he is not the kind of guy who will get complacent. And I also expect a good fightback from English in next test. Fingers crossed for a close contest

Posted by PRASHAnt on (January 21, 2012, 9:38 GMT)


Posted by Sana Ullah on (January 21, 2012, 9:36 GMT)

Nicely said: There is no way of knowing how Pakistan will react to thrashing the world No. 1 team until they play the next game.

Posted by srireddy43 on (January 21, 2012, 9:33 GMT)

This series will tell you if England is good enough to be number one. For me the the old west indies and Austrailan teams were true champions who consistently won mathces Abroad and Home. Being an Indian, I can say India were also not a true champions as they won more matches on Home pitches. Same goes with England. I dont think any of the current teams can play quality swing bowling or spin bowling effectively. For me India, England, SA, Australia, Pakistan, Srilanka are number one on their Home grounds. Lets see how England fare this year as they have more number of matches in Sub continent.

Posted by Michael on (January 21, 2012, 9:04 GMT)

Yes well said. Far too much jumping the gun by both English and Pakistan fans alike(and aussies and Indians!)They were simply caught cold after not playing in the white heat of a test match for months. I think the batsmen will be so embaressed by this capitulation in the face of decent not deadly bowling that they will come good and at least put 300 on the board. The way we are bowling even competitive totals are good enough these days. Pakistan are a much better side than India and would push the South Africans and Aussies all the way. This is a great test of Englands credentials, lets hope they can show all these nay-sayers that they can play in these conditions.

Posted by yusuf on (January 21, 2012, 8:57 GMT)

Agreed, although its a big win for Pakistan and a big loss for England but deriving long term conclusions from just one match is not wise thinking.

Posted by saleem on (January 21, 2012, 8:46 GMT)

Another of the Same typical articles refusing to let the readers feel that english team has a problem with playing quality spin and they will bounce back as usual and all will be well, praising the bowlers for what they did even though the last wicket almost had a 50 run partnership...... well lets wait untill abudhabi and see.... PS None of the Articles mentioned anything about how badly Peterson has played in this match ??????????

Posted by Manzoor Raza on (January 21, 2012, 8:39 GMT)

Pakistan has become the best test team in South Asia. So now will be a competetion between the southasian best vs the Worlds best. Fingers crossed!!!

Posted by Suhail ishaq on (January 21, 2012, 8:33 GMT)

England tabloid should embrace the defeat with grace and should give pakistan their true credit, as they (Pakistan) always get stronger with everytime like "Cornered Tigers". The main concern is this, they always play on their sheer talent without much planning.

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