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January 28, 2012

Pakistan v England 2012

Team Misbah triumphs

Kamran Abbasi
Misbah-ul-Haq hugs Mohsin Khan after Pakistan's series win, Pakistan v England, 2nd Test, Abu Dhabi, 4th day, January 28, 2012
The series victory against England is a momentous triumph, earned through relentless grind and injected with magical spin bowling  © AFP
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The Abu Dhabi pitch was easing up, the heavy roller would flatten it further. Team Misbah had batted too Misbah-ly, going at a crawl when a thrash or two would have eased nerves. England bat deep and 145 was a trifling target for the world's No. 1 Test team, which boasts some of the planet's leading batsmen. Think again. Misbah-ul-Haq's Pakistan has a layer of ice smothering the fire in its veins, unlike any Pakistan team that has blown hot and cold before it. Forget rankings, Pakistan cricket and its supporters are feeling on top of the world.

For a cricket nation exiled from its home, a home ravaged by conflict and political instability, a team decimated by controversy and skulduggery, this series victory is a momentous triumph, earned through relentless grind and magical spin bowling. Pakistan's spinners have been irresistible in this series; running through England's batting order in three innings out of four is an outstanding achievement, one that not many could have predicted.

Today belonged to Abdur Rehman--he had just reward for many days of unwavering support of his spin partner, the poker-faced wizard Saeed Ajmal. Rehman doesn't always extract turn, but he did here--at speed. England's batsmen were trapped on the crease, bamboozled and beaten. Meanwhile Ajmal, almost silently, became the fastest Pakistan bowler to a hundred Test wickets. Hailing from the nation of Imran Khan, Wasim Akram, and Waqar Younis, Ajmal's record is as stunning as Pakistan's success.

But Ajmal's ascent would have been difficult without the stability of Misbah's captaincy. Misbah has flirted with Pakistani hearts before, only to break them. In Test cricket, as captain of his country, he has discovered a river of love. The only debate about Misbah's captaincy is the run-rate of his batsmen, such a trifling matter in the grand order of Pakistani controversies that it speaks volumes about the success of his methods.

Misbah has brought tenacity to Pakistan cricket, best exemplified by the fascinating partnership between Azhar Ali and Asad Shafiq in Pakistan's second innings. Previous Pakistan teams would have succumbed to a base instinct to blast their way out of trouble, yet Misbah's young troopers dug in, deeper and deeper. A partnership alien to the Pakistani spirit, albeit hewn of Misbah's cool resolve, forged the winning margin.

Pakistan's rejuvenation, however, isn't exclusively made in Mianwali, home of Misbah. From his pavilion, Mohsin Khan the Eagle, has been watching keenly, urging, cajoling, hugging, even kissing. An unlikely and unpopular selection as interim coach, Mohsin has won over his critics and left Pakistan's cricket board with an unexpected dilemma. When captain and coach combine in such spectacular fashion, why change the formula?

World cricket is a more exciting place with Pakistan cricket a powerhouse again. Success has come on pitches reminiscent of home, but the same could be said of all the countries above them in the Test rankings. The first of these countries that begins to dominate abroad will emerge from the pack. It is a pleasant surprise to count Pakistan among them.

England were good in Abu Dhabi but Pakistan were better, ripping an absorbing Test match from the grip of their formidable opponents. A series win in such a thrilling manner has surprised even Pakistan's careworn supporters. Misbah's Pakistan, of steel, unity, and joy, has given the whole nation a cause to celebrate.

If anybody was in any doubt, Pakistan cricket zindabad.

Kamran Abbasi is an editor, writer and broadcaster. He tweets here

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© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by Zain Siddiqui on (February 2, 2012, 13:18 GMT)

Although it's the truth that English players struggle in Asian conditions and Asian players struggle in English conditions, but if you recall the series in 2010, despite of the spot fixing scandal that took place, Pakistani bowlers did their job there as well, especially young Aamir and Muhammaad Asif. World class batsmen like Petersen, Strauss, Ricky ponting, Clarke they all were uncomfortable against us in their own conditions as well. So what I believe is Team Pakistan is a better performer than English. But unfortunately the English media and global media is following Pakistani players to just bang them up with any case.

GEO PAKISTAANIEEES.. :)

Posted by Prince Rajpal on (February 2, 2012, 7:13 GMT)

Well done Ajmal and Rehman... Specially congratulate to twins of pakistan cricket Azhar and Asad..... Pakistan was on top when Two Doublews "W" were in action (Waqar and Wasim) ... And nowadays once again pak on top... not because of two "W" s But because of "Double A" (Azhar Ali and Asad Shafigue). Keep it up.

Posted by zain toronto on (February 2, 2012, 5:17 GMT)

Pakistan has truly been a soul of this game. In every aspect of Cricket there are Pakistanis who keep the blood running in heart of Cricket. There are some astonishing and mind-boggling world records held by Pakistan. Some of those overwhelming records are : Bowler Sayed Ajaml--- off Spiner- Inventor of Tesra Saqlan Mustaq- Off spinner- Inventor of Dusra Abdual Qader-Leg brake- Inventor of Guglee Sarfraz Nawaz- Inventor of reverse swing Great Wasim Akram- King of Swing – Master of Reverse swing- most hat-tricks by any bowler in world, Most “Sixes” by batsman in an innings of a Test Great Waqar Younas- Fast and furious-Master of Reverse swing Yorker Shoaib Akhtar- Fast and furious – Broke the 100 mile barrier-Fastest delivery 161.38 km/h (100.3 mph) Aaqib Javed-- Youngest bowler to take hat-trick in ODI Cricket Bating: Shahid Afradi --- Most “Sixes” in ODIs and International Cricket – 367 SIXES Fastest century in ODI Cricket Mohammad Yousuf --- Nine centuries in a calendar year of Test Cricket Most runs by batsman in a calendar year of Test Cricket Javed Miandad-- Nine consecutive fifties in ODI Cricket youngest player to score double-century in Test Cricket Great Hanif Mohammad’s-- Only triple-century in second innings of the team And list goes on never end for Pakistani Cricket

Posted by mohson rasool on (February 2, 2012, 5:01 GMT)

At last we found a hero someone who has pummeled England and thus at least it has proven to the world Pakistan and and Pakistanis have talent and are equals and if not better than most on a cricket field and know i point out that Pakistan has all the skills and the temperament to be a successive nation all we need is may be 11 MISBA"S. I say their is hope for us. yes we all agree with Kamran bahi PAKISAN ZINDABAD.

Posted by hassan on (February 2, 2012, 4:36 GMT)

Keep it up team Misbah...Still! long way to go...

Posted by Mohammad Daniyal on (February 2, 2012, 2:27 GMT)

This post would make any Pakistani proud. Glad to finally see Pakistan being counted as one of the top sides in the world again.

Hope the team continues to play positive cricket in the future

Posted by Tansah on (February 1, 2012, 21:16 GMT)

Excellent win! Ignore politics and money, and just keep playing cricket for Pakistan! May Allah give you more success, Ameen.

PAKISTAN ZINDABAD!

Posted by Kashif on (February 1, 2012, 13:34 GMT)

Excellent performance Team Pakistan but it is just the begining, can you continue an upward curve and consolidate your batting/fielding? We will get to know by end of ODI series, if Pakistan take ODI series as well then I can say with hand on my heart that this team can become one of greats - Don't forget England sqaud is able to bounce back as they have well balanced team. Absorbing cricket series, thanks to both teams.

Posted by Vish on (February 1, 2012, 11:52 GMT)

I still believe that Pakistan has some dull batting line-up. Every team has batsmen who naturally can score briskly like AB de Villiers from South Africa, Dilshan/Sanga from Sri Lanka, Sehwag/Sachin/Kohli from India, Warner/Watson from India and Kevin Petersen from England. Pakistan's batting line-up is very predictable with slow guys. No surprises for opposition!!

Posted by tahir saeed on (February 1, 2012, 6:55 GMT)

I read all comments but at the sametime being a pakistani we all praised to allah and prayer for betterment good future for pakistan at whole.....GOOD WISHES FOR ALL PAKISTANI

PAKISTAN ZINDABAD

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Kamran Abbasi
Kamran Abbasi is an editor, writer and broadcaster. He was the first Asian columnist for Wisden Cricket Monthly and wisden.com. Kamran is the editor of the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine. @KamranAbbasi

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