March 28, 2014

Missing Pakistan

How has the team fallen off the sporting map so dramatically in a cricket-literate country like Australia?
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The 1995-96 Sydney Test: Rashid Latif and Ijaz Ahmed look up at batsman Mark Taylor's skier. Pakistan won the Test by 74 runs but lost the series 2-1 © Getty Images

As ridiculous as it might sound in an era in which cricket is beamed around the world via satellite on an endless loop, I had the nagging feeling of being short-changed this last week. It hit me while I was watching Pakistan's World T20 clash against Australia. Quite absurdly, it was the first time the two sides had played each other in the format in the past two years. In that time it feels like Australia have played more internationals against England than they did in the preceding decade, though I realise my arithmetic might be out slightly.

In Australia, unless you've got satellite TV or a working knowledge of the internet's burgeoning wormholes of "streams", there's a fair chance that you haven't seen a hell of a lot of Pakistan's games in the last five years, a period in which they have toured Australia just once. Though it's fair to say they didn't exactly hold up their end of the bargain in that 2009-10 summer (Pakistan lost every one of their three Tests, five ODIs and one T20 on that trip) it's an unfortunate reflection of cricket's new world order.

Never mind that an entire generation of young Australian fans have barely seen Umar Akmal and Saaed Ajmal show their wares, on a selfish level I just really miss Pakistan tours. It's a product of my own childhood - being weaned onto cricket via Pakistan's one-day international clashes with Australia.

In my own cricket-watching sweet spot between the ages of five and 16, Pakistan toured Australia seven times. At the beginning of that stretch they visited three times in five summers between 1988-89 and 1992-93. It's why when you speak to Australian cricket fans in their thirties and forties about Pakistani cricket, they are much more likely to recall an obscure fact about Qasim Umar, Abdul Qadir, Ijaz Ahmed or Ata-ur-Rehman than they are to tell you much about Shoaib Malik, Ahmed Shehzad or Sohaib Maqsood other than the way they face when they bat, and even then… Pakistan's T20 captain, Mohammad Hafeez, could probably walk through Melbourne's Bourke Street mall without being recognised.

One of the most heartening aspects of the cricket blogosphere is the campaigning many of its key figures do to spread the word of global cricket, and the way they make as much noise as they can to shed light on cricket's developing nations. Watching Pakistan the other night, though, I wondered what hope there was for the real minnows if a cricket nation as rich in history and lore as Pakistan can fall off the sporting map so dramatically in a cricket-literate country like Australia.

Though nostalgia doesn't help that situation, it's at least a small comfort. On that note, here are the three things I most miss about an Australian summer of cricket as it used to be not that long ago, ranked in completely subjective order:

The arrival of a Pakistan squad containing at least two or three players I had never heard of before, players who nevertheless became instant favourites (Zahoor Elahi, anyone?).

The sight of West Indies in creams at Australian Test venues, playing a five-Test series (bonus points if they were actually half-decent, as was the case up until their 1996-97 tour).

The touring side playing actual first-class tour matches against the respective states (okay, I'm getting slightly esoteric now; I realise that's not feasible anymore).

****

On Sunday night Melbourne time, Pakistan rode the Umar Akmal wave to 191 from their 20 overs, a total that might have looked imposing from a 50-over allotment back when they toured Australia for the 1983-84 Benson and Hedges Cup series. Continuing on that theme, Australia put in the kind of fielding performance that recalled such a bygone era. Then something clicked - Glenn Maxwell and his swivelling, swinging blade, the lasting impression of which was the vague image of a kind of batting Edward Scissorhands. He sliced, slapped and hoofed the Pakistan attack to all corners.

At 2 for 126 in the 12th over, the Aussies seemed to have it in the bag and Pakistan had lost the plot. Bilawal Bhatti had been slammed for 30 from an over and it was all but over. Then something remarkable happened. Shahid Afridi grabbed the ball and not only removed Maxwell but his captain, George Bailey, piling on pressure as he did so. The most unpredictable of all cricket's loose cannons was acting like the mature one out in the middle.

Rudderless and expensive only moments before, the Pakistan attack tightened the screws and made their move. Umar Gul came back from the dead. Bhatti returned as the wickets tumbled, and took two of his own. It was mad and beautiful and the Australians didn't know what had hit them. To be more precise, they didn't know who it was that had hit them.

If you had grown up watching Pakistan's tours of Australia in the '80s and '90s, it was exactly the kind of thing you'd have grown accustomed to, but now it felt strange and new; wonderful even (if you can say that of your home country's abject capitulation). The thing is, though, it was a rare treat and one that won't be repeated often. Not with the way the cricket world is now. In the next five years Australians have a two-month window (December 2016-January 2017) in which they can see Pakistan up close.

Maybe we're lucky that we have so much cricket to watch. Sometimes though, it's not anywhere near enough.

Russell Jackson is a cricket lover who blogs about sports in the present and nostalgic tense for the Guardian and the Wasted Afternoons. He tweets here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Zaheerahmed on March 28, 2014, 16:00 GMT

    Fantastic article. Same feelings here as I have also been following Pakistan Australia battles since late 70s. One reason for this feeling of mutual appreciation & awe is that to some extent both countries play aggressive game and go all out to win. Brutal fast bowlers and stroke players. Very well worded Russel

  • on March 31, 2014, 18:48 GMT

    for me, the Pakistan team of the 90's and the Australian side of the late nineties to mid 2000's were 2 of the best sides ever to have graced this beautiful game. And particularly, I like to associate the emergence of Australian dominance with Adam Gilchrist. They always had Warne and McGrath and Ponting and Waugh. But it was Gilly for me who made them truly invincible with his batting prowess up the order. Like to call it the Adam Gilchrist era. What a player! Anyway, back to the main topic. The reason Aus Pak matches are so rare nowadays is perhaps due to money talking. the ashes and india tours fetch more money. Which is why we as cricket lovers are deprived of quality cricket.

  • STRIKETHUNDER on March 31, 2014, 17:24 GMT

    Saeed Ajmal is unique in many ways. It is hard to read him off the hand or pitch which makes him a really special bowler considering that he is used at the death by Pakistan.That's what is fascinating about Pakistan. They seem to produce these unorthodox talented bowlers all the time. Saqlain Mushtaq was the pioneer of Doosra and Wasim Akram brought reverse swing to International cricket. It is always exciting to see Pakistan bowl but I cannot watch a single over from Indian bowlers. It is so depressing to watch them. Even in this world cup I feel they are lucky or the conditions are just too heavily loaded in their favour.

  • on March 31, 2014, 17:19 GMT

    Good work russel. We are also missing the clash between aus/pak. Pakistan is the only team in asia which is performing well in every continent just like ausies. Hoping for the best.looking forward for uae series. Again well done russel

  • conimagination on March 31, 2014, 15:52 GMT

    Very well written!!! Although I would think that perhaps the formidable side of Aussies made it a one sided affair for sometime. Pakistan came close at times but could never change the fortunes in 15 odd tests. Still loved the battles between the greats of the games. Many of them are now in the hall of fame. That surely tells the spirit of the game!!!

  • STRIKETHUNDER on March 31, 2014, 14:05 GMT

    Pakistanis are obsessed with INDIA. They have to transcend this infatuation relating everything bad happening to them with INDIA. They always produced great fast bowlers and spinners and decent batsmen which gave them the right balance to win a great number of matches. They should try to bring their unique breed of cricket in front of the world by playing at neutral venues. I will not mind India playing Pakistan at England or Australia or SA. But after all the vitriolic hatred they have for Indians is just not acceptable to Indians so playing them at Indian venues is out of the question.

  • on March 31, 2014, 13:40 GMT

    Yes its unfortunate that Pakistan are not getting their deserving chance of playing in Australia.

  • reality_check on March 31, 2014, 13:32 GMT

    Excellent article and wonderfully written.

  • on March 31, 2014, 10:54 GMT

    What a wonderful reminder of one of cricket's great rivalries,Dear Ressul thank you for the write up,Pak/Aus cricket sure needs to happen more often for CRICKET sake!!!!!

  • on March 31, 2014, 10:39 GMT

    @karachidude23 , Australians were always under pressur against Pakistan , be it cricket, hockey or Squash. Tough 87 wc SF, raised Austraila, but actually it was 1999 wc Final. and that Langer, Gilchrist Partnership in 360+ 4th inn chase, that shifted the momentume. I feel Pakistan victory in neutral test in England have balance the rivarly again.....Mutual respect only enhanced by Hussy's blitz 2010 or Ajmal's fantastic 1 run over in 2014.

    Thanks writer for having respect for team Pakistan from Australia.

  • Zaheerahmed on March 28, 2014, 16:00 GMT

    Fantastic article. Same feelings here as I have also been following Pakistan Australia battles since late 70s. One reason for this feeling of mutual appreciation & awe is that to some extent both countries play aggressive game and go all out to win. Brutal fast bowlers and stroke players. Very well worded Russel

  • on March 31, 2014, 18:48 GMT

    for me, the Pakistan team of the 90's and the Australian side of the late nineties to mid 2000's were 2 of the best sides ever to have graced this beautiful game. And particularly, I like to associate the emergence of Australian dominance with Adam Gilchrist. They always had Warne and McGrath and Ponting and Waugh. But it was Gilly for me who made them truly invincible with his batting prowess up the order. Like to call it the Adam Gilchrist era. What a player! Anyway, back to the main topic. The reason Aus Pak matches are so rare nowadays is perhaps due to money talking. the ashes and india tours fetch more money. Which is why we as cricket lovers are deprived of quality cricket.

  • STRIKETHUNDER on March 31, 2014, 17:24 GMT

    Saeed Ajmal is unique in many ways. It is hard to read him off the hand or pitch which makes him a really special bowler considering that he is used at the death by Pakistan.That's what is fascinating about Pakistan. They seem to produce these unorthodox talented bowlers all the time. Saqlain Mushtaq was the pioneer of Doosra and Wasim Akram brought reverse swing to International cricket. It is always exciting to see Pakistan bowl but I cannot watch a single over from Indian bowlers. It is so depressing to watch them. Even in this world cup I feel they are lucky or the conditions are just too heavily loaded in their favour.

  • on March 31, 2014, 17:19 GMT

    Good work russel. We are also missing the clash between aus/pak. Pakistan is the only team in asia which is performing well in every continent just like ausies. Hoping for the best.looking forward for uae series. Again well done russel

  • conimagination on March 31, 2014, 15:52 GMT

    Very well written!!! Although I would think that perhaps the formidable side of Aussies made it a one sided affair for sometime. Pakistan came close at times but could never change the fortunes in 15 odd tests. Still loved the battles between the greats of the games. Many of them are now in the hall of fame. That surely tells the spirit of the game!!!

  • STRIKETHUNDER on March 31, 2014, 14:05 GMT

    Pakistanis are obsessed with INDIA. They have to transcend this infatuation relating everything bad happening to them with INDIA. They always produced great fast bowlers and spinners and decent batsmen which gave them the right balance to win a great number of matches. They should try to bring their unique breed of cricket in front of the world by playing at neutral venues. I will not mind India playing Pakistan at England or Australia or SA. But after all the vitriolic hatred they have for Indians is just not acceptable to Indians so playing them at Indian venues is out of the question.

  • on March 31, 2014, 13:40 GMT

    Yes its unfortunate that Pakistan are not getting their deserving chance of playing in Australia.

  • reality_check on March 31, 2014, 13:32 GMT

    Excellent article and wonderfully written.

  • on March 31, 2014, 10:54 GMT

    What a wonderful reminder of one of cricket's great rivalries,Dear Ressul thank you for the write up,Pak/Aus cricket sure needs to happen more often for CRICKET sake!!!!!

  • on March 31, 2014, 10:39 GMT

    @karachidude23 , Australians were always under pressur against Pakistan , be it cricket, hockey or Squash. Tough 87 wc SF, raised Austraila, but actually it was 1999 wc Final. and that Langer, Gilchrist Partnership in 360+ 4th inn chase, that shifted the momentume. I feel Pakistan victory in neutral test in England have balance the rivarly again.....Mutual respect only enhanced by Hussy's blitz 2010 or Ajmal's fantastic 1 run over in 2014.

    Thanks writer for having respect for team Pakistan from Australia.

  • on March 31, 2014, 10:37 GMT

    Imran Nazir should be played. . . He is the only T20 World Class Batsman of Pakistan

  • mrhamilton on March 31, 2014, 3:51 GMT

    What a fantastic young writer.a sublime article that the Indian and English dominated cricketers media wouldn't want told. aus v pak in cricket is like Germany v argentina in football.two historical succesfull yet contrasting dynasties.by the end of the article which I am reading here over breakfast in cape town I was in tears of gratitude.

  • karachidude23 on March 30, 2014, 22:29 GMT

    @ CricIndia208

    Has the love for India and hate for Pakistan damaged your brain?

    In Tests Pakistan has the 4th best Win/Loss ratio record among st all nations,only behind Australia, England, South Africa and marginally behind West Indies.

    In ODI's Pakistan is the 3rd best side of all time only behind Australia and South Africa.

    In T20's Pakistan has the 2nd best record since the inception, only marginally behind Srilanka.

    ----

    It is sad to a Pakistan fan that Australia seemingly always have had that exceptional mental hold on Pakistan over the decades, that no other team in the world has had. Respect to Australia Pakistan cricket!

  • SPA001 on March 30, 2014, 20:34 GMT

    Not your run of the mill article. I have followed Australia vs. Pakistan since December 1976 and the regular tours in the 1980s were followed with great passion by us three brothers in Pakistan. Now we continue it from U.K. All top quality Pakistanis - Majid Khan, Asif Iqbal, Imran Khan, Javed Miandad, Wasim Akram, Abdul Qadir, Waqar Younis, Mushtaq Ahmed, etc. have enjoyed touring Australia. I must not forget the names of Alan McGilvary and Jim Maxwell - two brilliant radio voices from Australia. Wonderful stuff. Cheers mate.

  • on March 30, 2014, 20:00 GMT

    Great Article, but it really is sad, a world cup comes more often than a Pakistan tour down under. This new structuring of the ICC should shed somelight on the matter as world cricket is being deprived of some excellent sporting matches. I myself had never heard of players like maxwell and finch since these teams hardly ever play

  • on March 30, 2014, 19:42 GMT

    Thanks for the wonderful article Russel, you touched the feelings of Pak cricket fans. Pakistan is a team which brings excitement to the game in many ways and should play more competitive matches.

  • Fadi.Sheikh on March 30, 2014, 17:57 GMT

    If Pakistan have the cricket setup like aussies, They will rule the International cricket more than Aussies did.

  • on March 30, 2014, 17:24 GMT

    At test level the core is Misbah,Yunus and Ajmal as truly established stars...they need 2 more top quality batsmen and 2 quality quicks...hopefully Amir can comeback and sort one position.Their traditional opening batsmen weakness remains and in the middle order they need Umar Akmal and Maqsood to develop.Junaid,Wahab and Rahat havent shown much at test level to be considered as potential match winners and Irfan has been useful with the variety his height provides...however Pakistan has been known to unearth young amazing talent out of nowhere...hopefully they can do so again despite the political barriers.

  • on March 30, 2014, 16:56 GMT

    you have made me all nostalgic the happiness of waking up early in the winter nights to just see Pak vs Aus test match. beautiful article

  • on March 30, 2014, 16:39 GMT

    I cant wait till the Aussies tour he UAE. I do respect the Aussie team, beating SA in SA is no Joke, but Pak has the best spinners in the world. Play Hafeez as a bowler, Abdur Rehman and Ajmal. And doctor the pitches to turn from day 1, only then can Pak be competitive. In my opinion no one plays fast bowling like the aussies...so we cant expect much from Irfan, Junaid or Gul who are above average at best in Test cricket. On a side note I am predicting a 5-0 whitewash of India when they go to England for the simple reason that they aren't playing at home.

  • on March 30, 2014, 16:16 GMT

    Besr regards Adeel Aamir. However add to the insult for the CRICINDIA208 reminder that Pakistan ahs actually drew the last test series with Australia 1-1 held in England 2010.

  • on March 30, 2014, 14:09 GMT

    @CricIndia208 First of all, you do not need to get jealous if an Australian wants to see Pakistan play more often against Aussies.. Secondly , if Pakistan lost all thier matches in thier last tour to Australia , what about the current England team's tour to Australia??? Just one win out of dozen matches? Mind you , england was World No 2 or 3 when they toured Australia and are still standing at 4th. Do not compare India with Pakistan , India would disappear from the Ellite group of Cricket nations if they are asked to play their home games abroad where they never seem to win anything and if they ban, three of their best batsmen by involving them in a spot fixing conspiracy. Pakistan however , without Mohammad Aamer and Asif , have one of the best bowling line up in the world.

  • on March 30, 2014, 13:21 GMT

    That's simply splendid article!

  • xylofon on March 30, 2014, 13:13 GMT

    Thanks for the article. Yeah, Pak-Aus matches always brought out the best from both teams, I still think the match of the tournament this T20 is Pak-Aus. That says a lot considering so many matches having high high scores...But Pak-aus contained that extra twits of Pak bowlers bringing the match back from nowhere. I cannot believ e Pak will mostly play tests & odi in aus later this year. SURELY there must be room for 3 T20s? Or are Aus not interesting in getting better in that format which is so popular all over the world? Strange. One doesnt have to hate T20 to be a real test fan so this is strange decision to me. Pakistan are not great aat test cricket so ODI and T20 in Aus wouldve made so much more sense and a lot more fun! 5 ODIs and 3 T20s wouldve made more sense. Forget tests right now. Just keep it alive for the future, dont have to play it everytime. L...and I agree with so many others that the domination from the big three is hurting cricket seriously. & no cure in sight! ; (

  • on March 30, 2014, 12:38 GMT

    Very well written and very very true :) good on you Russell.. :)

  • on March 30, 2014, 11:38 GMT

    Cricindia208. Furthermore, if for some obvious reason you still do not understand my point, then please read Humphrey Hollins's comment down below. An Australian cricketing fan has an answer for you. Have a look :) and please do not come back. That would just be shameful of you.

  • on March 30, 2014, 11:33 GMT

    @CricIndia208>> Ladies and gentlemen once again please welcome an Indian on a totally Pakistan centred column, completely missing the gist of it and contributing with traditional Indian gibberish. Bravo Sir !! You surely know how to utilise your precious time well. Just to enlighten you and your peers who may follow, this article is about the bygone days of exciting and exhilarating Pak Aus clashed back in the days and how the number has dropped dramatically. After the recent face off, the writer is missing having to see more of classic Pak Aussie encounters.

  • TheBigBoodha on March 30, 2014, 11:14 GMT

    It would be good to see a strong Pakistan team do well in Australia. I suspect administrators are wary of a repeat of the prior tour where they could not win a single game. Australia are quite strong in all three formats now (yes, even in T20, don't let 2 close losses fool you). Would Pakistan be competitive even in a T20 in Australia ? I'm not sure.

  • syedhuzi on March 30, 2014, 9:10 GMT

    I think russell missed the lights of shoib Akhtar who was a crowd favourite there & balled at extreme pace as well as abdul razzaq. Both of these had great series in Australia & it was fun to watch.. Nice article though

  • on March 30, 2014, 5:33 GMT

    Pakistan have beaten India, in India, they have whitewashed England in UAE, they have beaten South Africa at their home, have beaten Sri Lanka in ODI series in recent past. They have reached T20 semi final each time T20 World cup was played, even in this difficult period. It is simply a biased approach of ICC backed by BCCI for political gains. The domination of 2 or 3 teams is not helping cricket at international level. The spirit of Game has taken a back seat and material gains have flourished in recent past. Instead of helping Pakistan in hour of crisis, the policy of Isolation has been adapted which neither is in the intrest of Pakistan nor in the interest of game itself.

  • CricIndia208 on March 30, 2014, 3:40 GMT

    Why should the Australian fans be interested in the Pakistani team? What has Pakistan done to get overseas fans excited? In fact Pakistan could not win a single test against Australia in 15 years. Pakistan could not win a single test against Australia even at home. Pakistan were bowled out for 52 and 53 in Sharjah, 74 in Perth and for many other poor scores. The last time Pakistan toured Australia, they lost every international match. India in contrast beat the no.1 team, home and away. Pakistan, at their peak in the 90, were at best a mediocre team. Now they are not even mediocre. Pakistan should look to improve by playing the likes of Bangladesh and Afghanistan.

  • on March 29, 2014, 15:40 GMT

    Thank you for the article. Us pakistanis have been itching to see better contests too. Although our track record may not have been good before but our recent team has been changing that all together. We recognize Australia as one of the greats in the game and playing on your turf would be a privellege again.

  • Bilal_Choudry on March 29, 2014, 12:46 GMT

    I guess the 2004/5 VB series we saw Aus, WI n Pak in an ODI tournament down under ... and thanks for reminding me of Qasim Umar

  • on March 29, 2014, 12:39 GMT

    Just fantastic. You have touched the hearts and souls of the two nations cricket followers. Briefed in less than 15 short paras, you have summarized the everlasting memories of a great cricket spectator that you are. Believe me your emotions haven't gone to waste as another follower sitting right here has reciprocated your emotions and has received your energies and gotten charged with the wave of emotion. Just wept reading through the early paras.

  • on March 29, 2014, 9:44 GMT

    great work n memories Russell... but these memories are now part of the great past of 2 great cricketing nations.. I agree with some one who wrote that now money has replaced passion in cricket... big 3 will further deteriorate the beauty of the game. more such columns will follow as only money will rule and passion will go in background..

  • on March 29, 2014, 8:31 GMT

    Who can forget Wasid Akram and Imran Khan, Pakistan were special because they had fast bowlers as well as spinners and they played tough, aggressive cricket. Indian tours are boring because they are really ordinary and lack aggression, and would prefer a draw to an aggressive attempt to win a match.

  • Farhan166 on March 29, 2014, 8:04 GMT

    I think that the writer and the bloggers have missed the most important and intense period of Pakistan-Australia cricket. The test matches in the 1976-77 and 1978-79 series were the most fierce and entertaining test matches between the two countries. A Pakistan star studded batting lineup against Lillee,Thompson, Gilmour, Rodney Hogg etc. Who can forget the batting of Greg Chappel, Doug Walters,Majid,Zaheer, Javed Miandad,superlative centuries of Asif Iqbal,Imran 12 wickets in Sydney, Sarfraz 7 wickets for 1 run in Melbourne,Mushtaq brilliant captaincy etc. There were some charged moments like the Hogg-Miandad incident, Hilditch-Sarfraz handling the ball incident and the Aussie's mankading Sikandar Bakht in the Perth test after they thought they cannot get Asif Iqbal out. For people who have watched Aus-Pak cricket in those days will agree with me that this the best period of Aus-Pak rivalry. Since then Pakistan have been on the receiving end and have lost a lot of matches to Aus.

  • Syed_imran_abbas on March 29, 2014, 7:59 GMT

    Nice article.. The reason behind not been able to see more contest could be the way of governess of cricket.. It was very likely for Pakistan to suffer as India gained power. But pakistani cricket talent will keep shinning.. Pakistan vs Australia is always a treat to watch. I hope they play more games with each other in future.

  • on March 29, 2014, 7:28 GMT

    My Saturday morning couldn't have gotten a better start, a great read indeed. While the game of Cricket has definitely been taken over by much more excitement in modern era, one definitely misses the way it used to be played in olden times. Thank you for enlightening us with such great knowledge, I wish and hope that not only more tournaments are held in which Pakistan is made to contest against Australia but the cricket on the lush green fields of Pakistani Cricket Stadiums is also revived. I am desperately looking forward to that nostalgic feeling of seeing the contrast of Green jerseys to bright Yellow ones at Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore! God bless

  • KiwiRocker- on March 29, 2014, 3:46 GMT

    Great stuff Russell. Some good memories. nlambda: Your comments are non sense. If results are criteria then India should never tour England and Australia as they were brown washed 8-0 and to top it all of they also lost at home to England and then lost in New Zealand. India is the weakest Asian team and everyone knows that. Money can buy rankings, but not the talent. Back to Russell's article; I believe there are number of things that are reason for less of Australia/Pak clashes. Top one being commercial. ACB is one of big three and indeed Pakistan is not a big draw card for them. Medicore teams like India who lost 4-0 against a mediocre Australian teams are a bigger draw card. Other reason is that Australia has netoriously been a reluctant visito to Pakistan.Australian players were taken to cleaners in Pakistan. Refer to White wash in 82, series losses in 88 and 93.Also, Australian players create storm in tea cup about security issues!Anyway Pak is happy to continue beating Australia!

  • VivGilchrist on March 29, 2014, 2:55 GMT

    I remember those days. If WI and Pak were touring it was an entertaining summer. The World Series Cup was a highlight. Imran Khan, Wasim Akram, Javed Miandad all great players. I think what made Pakistan more entertaining than the other 2 Asian teams of the time is that they weren't one-dimensional. They had good spinners and great fast bowlers. Bring back the WSC, maybe shorten it to 3 games v each opponent and a one off final. These bilateral one day contents seem pointless.

  • WaqasBinAdam on March 29, 2014, 2:17 GMT

    Pakistan is full of talented players, they have their unique way of natural game, too many major records in batting and bowling both made by Pakistan, the major disadvantage is there is no home series played in last 5 years, this is why Pakistan team is facing such troubles now.

    Pakistan have produced worlds fastest batsman, worlds great spinners, worlds fastest bowler etc.

    Hope in future Pakistan would have been taken advantage of home series so that they can boost up their talent in International cricket.

  • on March 29, 2014, 2:12 GMT

    well you reminded me about 1980s, as a kid watching cricket battles between Majid,zaheer,Miandad against Lilee, Macdermot ,Lawson. The list is very long. I liked the three nation ODI series ,which was played at the end of every tour of Australia and 2 visiting teams. At present, situation is due to politics involved in cricket, which is taking cricket backwards not forwards. The thing with so called BIG 3 and mess it is gonna create in coming years in the cricketing world . The policies are based not on love for the game but just pure greed.

  • Jamal0007 on March 29, 2014, 1:33 GMT

    Excellent piece of writing!!. As a die hard Pakistani Cricket fan I just wish that International cricket comes back to Pakistan. I still remember going to Qaddafi stadium (Lahore) to watch all those matches with my father.Its been five years since we are deprived of playing International Cricket at home, even then the country has managed to produce some outstanding and brilliant talent. I think we deserve another chance.

  • OceanBreeze on March 29, 2014, 0:41 GMT

    Great article. Thank you from a Pakistan fan. Although the Aussies will play Pakistan in UAE this fall, but let's hope Pakistan visits Australia soon and vice versa. Long live Pakistan-Australia cricket!

  • on March 28, 2014, 23:52 GMT

    I have to make few points here. Pakistan has been very inconsistent with the performance both on and off the field, lacking most importantly the integrity of character but I have to say that whole cricket world has seemingly joined together to corner Pakistan and its cricket. No denying to the role of politics in sports these days. You will hardly ever find live coverage on Australian pay TV channels of games played between Pakistan and any teams other than Australia and England until and unless it is a part of an ICC event. Pakistan cricket will not find any room in Australian media until and unless it is for some negative reasons or when Australia gets an upper hand on Pakistan cricket team. Pakistan and Australia both have to do a lot of work in their own backyards to bring some kind of normality in their sporting relationship.

  • on March 28, 2014, 23:24 GMT

    Back in those days Pakistan and Windies were the major crowd pullers for B&H tri series and that was something that we all enjoyed. Pak was the first team other than WI and Aus to win a tri series in Australia in 96 and in 99, they made it to the finals beating India 3 times in 4 attempts. Since then, lack of quality stars and money between big 3 means that now it's just India and England touring Aus every 2nd year, sad as it is but that's the truth!

  • smudgeon on March 28, 2014, 22:22 GMT

    I remember the last time Pakistan toured Australia, and all the hype about that kid Aamir, who was going to set the world alight. Unfortunately, it was a dreadful tour from the visitors. The follow-up series - Pakistan "at home" in England - was more memorable (albeit, not just for the quality of the cricket). As has been pointed out, though, India & England are the most lucrative tours. Cricket is a business now - can't imagine CA (and Channel 9) see the value in inviting Pakistan as often as India & England. At least Pakistan have a tour to Australia scheduled that will go ahead, though...we should pity Zimbabwe and Bangladesh and whomever wins the next Test spot when that happens!

  • madatworld on March 28, 2014, 21:11 GMT

    @adwin where did india win three out of four world title?.end of discussion.

  • getsetgopk on March 28, 2014, 20:08 GMT

    That cricket needs to take out everything possible of the handful of countries that are any good at it, the fact remains, there isn't any money in playing against Pakistan anymore. The handful of people running cricket around the world dont judge cricket for the quality of it but for the money it generates so while I do blame my own country, Pakistan for not developing cricket into a profitable venture for others to play against us, there is however due blame on the Australians as just recently they've joined hands with ECB and BCCI to filter out those contests deemed not so good cricket/money. Pakistan cricket has been squeezed from all sides, foreign and domestic but for us to still breath and kick is no less than miracle itself, many a teams would have withered in this cold, harsh and never ending autumn that Pak cricket is going through.

  • on March 28, 2014, 18:20 GMT

    nice one....the aussies need to see the unpredictability and flamboyance of our cricket up close

  • HawksEyeFocused on March 28, 2014, 18:15 GMT

    Dear Russell Jackson I love and respect your beautiful thoughts. We also miss Australia on our home grounds. Aus-Pak matches are a big treat for cricket's fans. The frequency of matches played between Aus-Eng is one of the major reasons Pak couldn't find a space there to play there. May be they were busy in their own schedule. I do agree with you that let alone minnows even a big test team like Pakistan didn't get an opportunity to play in Aus. That tells the bitter story of the ICC's poor FTPs. There should have been a healthy balance in FTP. Sadly enough, I don't see any positive prospect in future in this regard. The ICC is not that much serious or sincere in making cricket a global sport.

  • nlambda on March 28, 2014, 16:30 GMT

    @adwin: Pak has lost 0-3 to Australia in the past FOUR series in Aus [0-12 in all!]. That is probably why the frequency of encounters dropped.

  • adwin on March 28, 2014, 15:15 GMT

    Danial Waleed! which Pakistan team are you referring to? Pakistan soccer team? Pak cricket team is a major contender in Asia as well as in world. They are the only team that is consistently performing overseas. On the other hand, India either wins in India or in Bangladesh only. India's overseas performance has not been much better than Bangladesh. Pakistan's so called home series are not played at home yet, they have out classed all major teams in UAE. Due to lack of domestic cricket, if anything, Pakistan team has improved their success rate overseas.

  • ImonG on March 28, 2014, 14:04 GMT

    One of my very first memories of watching cricket was seeing Indian team being beaten comprehensively in Sharjah in the late 80's & early 90's. As an Indian I hated it, but the fact is they were the best Asian team at that time, at par with the Aussies & only the WI's were consistently better. So its quite natural that Aussies would prefer playing against them more than the Indians, who during that period were way off the Pakistanis as a team. That's the main reason India toured Australia 7 years apart, 1992 to 1999. But in the new millennium Indians had come up the ranks considerably, they drew the series in Australia in 2003 & 2007, they were beating them at home any how, where as an deteriorating situation at home meant pakistani cricket in spite of an impressive talent pool went down hill. Pakistanis & the WI were the better team then, so they toured often. The last tour to Australia was a disaster for Eng & India, one more such tour, you'll have South Africans touring more.

  • on March 28, 2014, 13:20 GMT

    Hope Cricket in Pakistan revive. I want to see Aus vs Pak at Lahore.

    I we want cricket back in our home with foreign teams visits. Hope situation gets better in coming years.

  • on March 28, 2014, 11:21 GMT

    Ever since the incident of Javed Miandad swinging a bat to Denise Lillie I have been captivated by the rare duals between the two countries. I was mesmerised when Shane Warne was discussing how Abdul Qadir was showing him the art of leg spin bowling with oranges in his living room. As a cricket fraternity we need the maverick nature of Pakistan (who just need a cricket board as professional as Australia). Pakistan side are not equipped for tests since they are lucky to play 3 a year (not series that is just 3 tests)!. In fact in 2014 they only have 2 tests which happen to be against Aussies in Oct. We need to have more associate nations improve their game yet we have Pakistan who cannot seem to get a game. Thanks for your article.

  • st_aubrun on March 28, 2014, 10:49 GMT

    Pakistan beat SA in a test match ito draw the last series we played, and defeated SA in the last ODI series in SA. They beat England 3-0 in the last test series they played and recently beat Sri Lanka in history's fastest 4th innings chase of 350+. Plus they beat India in India last year in the last ODI sseries the countries played. Fans of cricket in Pakistan and Australia and the rest of the world deserve to see these two talented and attacking sides play each other more often. I miss the duels of the past - Lillee to Majid J Khan, Imran to Gregory Stephen Chappell, Shoaib to Punter... and can only imagine 7'1" Mohammad Irfan getting the ball to rise chin high from a good length at 149kph to Michael Clarke at the WACA, ditto for Mitch Johnson to Umer Akmal! Pity.

  • on March 28, 2014, 10:09 GMT

    To be very honest this article needs some more rigid detail as to why Pakistan have stopped touring Australia that much. I presume multiple factors have contributed to this scenario. The Pakistan team is no longer a big contender when it comes to Asian cricket. India is far more lucrative not only in terms of money but also in terms of the quality of cricket played at test level. How could Pakistan improve one would ask?. Play more tests against more competitive teams. Why is Pakistan not able to do this because it cannot host cricket in its own country thus fixtures which could go beyond three test without much bother about financial gain are being literally cut down. The PCB priorities now rely more on making break even tours in UAE rather than focusing on Test cricket. Bright example of this the Australian tour to be held in October this year has been reduced from 3 to 2 test to accommodate ODI's and T20's. This is the sad reality!.

  • TheCricketEmpireStrikesBack on March 28, 2014, 10:03 GMT

    I have also been captivated by Pakistani cricket and cricketers and the way that the talent is discovered and given room to run there. Pakistan always seems to have a great mix of fast bowlers, spinners and batsmen and there is a sense of adventure and constant renewal in the way they play the game.

    It seems strange that Aus and Pakistan who seem worlds apart in so many ways end up playing cricket with a similar love of talent and daredevil spirit. Like the author, I would like to see Pakistan in Aus but also hope that cricket can be a force for unity, peace and security that sees Aus playing in Lahore and Islamabad soon.

    And one more wish - a repeat of the stunning recent Pak-Aus match in the T20 final.

  • on March 28, 2014, 9:28 GMT

    Dear Russel,

    You miss Pakistani cricket in Australia, we miss it in our home!

    P.S. Really appreciate the write up.

    Regards,

    Pakistani

  • on March 28, 2014, 9:28 GMT

    Dear Russel,

    You miss Pakistani cricket in Australia, we miss it in our home!

    P.S. Really appreciate the write up.

    Regards,

    Pakistani

  • TheCricketEmpireStrikesBack on March 28, 2014, 10:03 GMT

    I have also been captivated by Pakistani cricket and cricketers and the way that the talent is discovered and given room to run there. Pakistan always seems to have a great mix of fast bowlers, spinners and batsmen and there is a sense of adventure and constant renewal in the way they play the game.

    It seems strange that Aus and Pakistan who seem worlds apart in so many ways end up playing cricket with a similar love of talent and daredevil spirit. Like the author, I would like to see Pakistan in Aus but also hope that cricket can be a force for unity, peace and security that sees Aus playing in Lahore and Islamabad soon.

    And one more wish - a repeat of the stunning recent Pak-Aus match in the T20 final.

  • on March 28, 2014, 10:09 GMT

    To be very honest this article needs some more rigid detail as to why Pakistan have stopped touring Australia that much. I presume multiple factors have contributed to this scenario. The Pakistan team is no longer a big contender when it comes to Asian cricket. India is far more lucrative not only in terms of money but also in terms of the quality of cricket played at test level. How could Pakistan improve one would ask?. Play more tests against more competitive teams. Why is Pakistan not able to do this because it cannot host cricket in its own country thus fixtures which could go beyond three test without much bother about financial gain are being literally cut down. The PCB priorities now rely more on making break even tours in UAE rather than focusing on Test cricket. Bright example of this the Australian tour to be held in October this year has been reduced from 3 to 2 test to accommodate ODI's and T20's. This is the sad reality!.

  • st_aubrun on March 28, 2014, 10:49 GMT

    Pakistan beat SA in a test match ito draw the last series we played, and defeated SA in the last ODI series in SA. They beat England 3-0 in the last test series they played and recently beat Sri Lanka in history's fastest 4th innings chase of 350+. Plus they beat India in India last year in the last ODI sseries the countries played. Fans of cricket in Pakistan and Australia and the rest of the world deserve to see these two talented and attacking sides play each other more often. I miss the duels of the past - Lillee to Majid J Khan, Imran to Gregory Stephen Chappell, Shoaib to Punter... and can only imagine 7'1" Mohammad Irfan getting the ball to rise chin high from a good length at 149kph to Michael Clarke at the WACA, ditto for Mitch Johnson to Umer Akmal! Pity.

  • on March 28, 2014, 11:21 GMT

    Ever since the incident of Javed Miandad swinging a bat to Denise Lillie I have been captivated by the rare duals between the two countries. I was mesmerised when Shane Warne was discussing how Abdul Qadir was showing him the art of leg spin bowling with oranges in his living room. As a cricket fraternity we need the maverick nature of Pakistan (who just need a cricket board as professional as Australia). Pakistan side are not equipped for tests since they are lucky to play 3 a year (not series that is just 3 tests)!. In fact in 2014 they only have 2 tests which happen to be against Aussies in Oct. We need to have more associate nations improve their game yet we have Pakistan who cannot seem to get a game. Thanks for your article.

  • on March 28, 2014, 13:20 GMT

    Hope Cricket in Pakistan revive. I want to see Aus vs Pak at Lahore.

    I we want cricket back in our home with foreign teams visits. Hope situation gets better in coming years.

  • ImonG on March 28, 2014, 14:04 GMT

    One of my very first memories of watching cricket was seeing Indian team being beaten comprehensively in Sharjah in the late 80's & early 90's. As an Indian I hated it, but the fact is they were the best Asian team at that time, at par with the Aussies & only the WI's were consistently better. So its quite natural that Aussies would prefer playing against them more than the Indians, who during that period were way off the Pakistanis as a team. That's the main reason India toured Australia 7 years apart, 1992 to 1999. But in the new millennium Indians had come up the ranks considerably, they drew the series in Australia in 2003 & 2007, they were beating them at home any how, where as an deteriorating situation at home meant pakistani cricket in spite of an impressive talent pool went down hill. Pakistanis & the WI were the better team then, so they toured often. The last tour to Australia was a disaster for Eng & India, one more such tour, you'll have South Africans touring more.

  • adwin on March 28, 2014, 15:15 GMT

    Danial Waleed! which Pakistan team are you referring to? Pakistan soccer team? Pak cricket team is a major contender in Asia as well as in world. They are the only team that is consistently performing overseas. On the other hand, India either wins in India or in Bangladesh only. India's overseas performance has not been much better than Bangladesh. Pakistan's so called home series are not played at home yet, they have out classed all major teams in UAE. Due to lack of domestic cricket, if anything, Pakistan team has improved their success rate overseas.

  • nlambda on March 28, 2014, 16:30 GMT

    @adwin: Pak has lost 0-3 to Australia in the past FOUR series in Aus [0-12 in all!]. That is probably why the frequency of encounters dropped.

  • HawksEyeFocused on March 28, 2014, 18:15 GMT

    Dear Russell Jackson I love and respect your beautiful thoughts. We also miss Australia on our home grounds. Aus-Pak matches are a big treat for cricket's fans. The frequency of matches played between Aus-Eng is one of the major reasons Pak couldn't find a space there to play there. May be they were busy in their own schedule. I do agree with you that let alone minnows even a big test team like Pakistan didn't get an opportunity to play in Aus. That tells the bitter story of the ICC's poor FTPs. There should have been a healthy balance in FTP. Sadly enough, I don't see any positive prospect in future in this regard. The ICC is not that much serious or sincere in making cricket a global sport.