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Encounters between Pakistan and England have rarely lacked for drama, controversy and incident. Cricinfo charts a troubled 51-year relationship, leaving out only two series - those in 1971 and 1996 - that went off without any trouble
November 11, 2005
Encounters between Pakistan and England have rarely lacked for drama, controversy and incident. In fact, they have made up for the relative lack of drama on the field - in 60 Tests between the two, 34 have been drawn and worryingly, if you are in Pakistan, 17 of the 21 Tests played here have ended with no result. Off the field, there has always been something that has added spice to the rivalry and made it into one of cricket's unique ones. Cricinfo charts a troubled 51-year relationship, leaving out only two series - those in 1971 and 1996 - that went off without any trouble.
1954 - Pakistan's first series against England. They become the first country to win a Test there on their first trip. Pakistan, young and eager to impress, are amicable tourists, the height of acrimony being a quasi-sledge from Fazal to Hutton, gently chiding him after an uppish cover-drive: "This is not Hutton-like."
1955-56 - MCC tour Pakistan. Led by Donald Carr, the MCC arrive seeking revenge for The Oval loss. Pakistan are annoyed that an MCC side, not an England one, has been sent. MCC lose the series 2-1, but an incident in Peshawar threatens relations. Local umpire Idrees Beg, standing in the third Test is `kidnapped' by several MCC players, taken back to their hotel and drenched by a bucket of cold water. The MCC, who had complained about Beg's umpiring, claim that he came of his own accord and the whole thing was simply a team prank.
Lord Alexander, President MCC, contacts Iskander Mirza, Pakistan's governor general, and offers apologies as well as a cancellation of the tour. The tour goes on, a subsequent investigation concludes it was a harmless misunderstanding and a relationship of suspicion, acrimony, culture clashes and above all, misunderstanding, begins.
1961-62 - Pakistan enters its era of trenchant, safety-first cricket as England arrive for a disjointed three-Test series (over three months with a grueling jaunt to India in between) shorn of star players such as Colin Cowdrey, Brian Statham and Fred Trueman. Little else is remarkable and the umpiring, it is reported, is reasonable "although criticism came here and there."
1962 - Pakistan, led by Javed Burki, experiences one of its worst early tours and only rain saves them the complete humiliation of a whitewash. An inexperienced side suffers but the sending back of off-spinner Haseeb Ahsan, allegedly on the grounds of a suspect action, sows a significant seed of discontent, which blooms years later.
1967 - England again dominate a young Pakistan side led by Hanif. Asif Iqbal's magnificent 146 at The Oval instigates a crowd invasion of the kind that will make headlines years later. The only note of controversy comes during the rain-hit Trent Bridge Test. Water seeps through the covers after overnight rain and Pakistan, despite several neutrals including Lord Constatine telling them not to do so, are allegedly forced to play at which point they swiftly succumb to Derek Underwood.
1968-69 - England arrives, ill-advisedly, to a Pakistan in the midst of political turmoil. Tension between East and West Pakistan - soon to give a violent birth to Bangladesh - renders the cricket irrelevant. Cowdrey keeps the coolest head in a stadium full of rioters at Lahore for his hundred. The final Test at Karachi is abandoned on the third day due to crowd trouble, leaving Alan Knott stranded on 96. Complaints are raised about facilities at certain venues; Wisden calls the tour a fiasco.
1972-73 - A dire stalemate in Pakistan on dead pitches. Skippers Majid Khan and Tony Lewis, ex-Cambridge and Glamorgan mates, ensure a friendly series but extra security precautions are taken before the tour. A handwritten letter is delivered to the British mission in Islamabad by a group calling itself `Black September' and threatening the lives of the tourists; they demand the release of a young Pakistani under arrest in London for a political shooting.
1974 - A strong Pakistan goes through the entire tour of England undefeated but off-field intrigue follows them. A bomb hoax interrupts the first day of the Test series and during the second Test at Lord's, rain on Sunday and Monday seeps through inadequate covers as in 1969. It allows Underwood to thrive again, taking eight cheap wickets. Although rain extinguishes hopes of a result, Omar Kureishi, the touring manager, issues a strongly-worded complaint to the MCC, accusing them of incompetence and gross negligence. MCC replies that it has done all it could to prevent seepage.
As Pakistan returns, Kardar, president of the board, states that Pakistan will try to introduce a new constitution for the ICC which abolishes the veto rights of the two founder members, England and Australia. The veto, he contends, is undemocratic and a new constitution also provides for ICC meetings to be held outside England.
1977-78 - More off-field drama as England arrive in Pakistan at the peak of Packer madness. On finding out that Pakistan's Packer rebels may turn up and play in the Test series, England threatens to cancel the series altogether. Nevertheless, Imran, Zaheer and Mushtaq appear at nets the day before the final Test, England threatens to abandon and leave. At the last minute - always the most crucial in Pakistan - the home board issues a definitive statement saying the rebels will not be included. The first Test at Lahore sees two stoppages, one politically motivated.
1978 - Another tour to England, another defeat for Pakistan, another controversy. In the first Test, at Edgbaston, Bob Willis subjects nightwatchman Iqbal Qasim to a series of bouncers, one which eventually strikes him on the mouth, forcing him to retire hurt. Wasim Bari, Pakistan's Packer-enforced captain, complains about Willis's follow-through and umpiring decisions while his manager, Mahmood Hussain, does so about Willis's attack. The home board "bitterly regrets" the incident and the captains exchange lists of non-recognised batsmen at which bouncers were not allowed before the next Test, to prevent a repeat.
1981 - Nur Khan, Pakistan's new cricket chief, puts forth publicly the idea of match referees and neutral umpires. The idea comes in the wake of continuing complaints about the level of umpiring in Pakistan, from among others, England.
1982 - The series marks the start of a decade of worsening relationships between the two sides; Imran and Intikhab, the manager, complain relentlessly about umpiring decisions - and one given by David Constant in particular at Headingley - that both feel cost Pakistan the series. Qadir's appealing also sets a benchmark for subsequent tours, as does the cynicism they evoke and rowdy British Asian support, the most vocal in many years, gives the series according to Wisden, "a disputatious nature."
1983-84 - Fresh from a dope-smoking scandal, England arrives in Pakistan for a three-Test series. They lose their captain Willis to a viral infection and Botham to a dodgy knee after the first Test; the latter leaves the country muttering, infamously, "Pakistan is the sort of place every man should send his mother-in-law to, for a month, all expenses paid."
1987 - A first-ever series win for Pakistan in England is marred by an ambience of malicious confrontation. Pakistan's request to remove Constant and Ken Palmer from the umpires' panel is turned down by the home board, a slight the tourists aren't willing to overlook. Haseeb Ahsan, as manager, is widely condemned by the English press as unsuitable and abrasive, and murmurs of unfair play by the tourists surround the ODI series. The ODI at Edgbaston sees the first signs of crowd trouble proper, albeit fleetingly.
1987-88 - The one. England, weary from an exhaustive World Cup, stay behind for a series against Pakistan, an increasingly prickly and regular rivalry. The refusal to dislodge Palmer and Constant earlier in the summer rebounds as Pakistan do likewise with Shakeel Khan. English players claim that nine incorrect decisions are given in favour of Pakistan's bowlers. Chris Broad, given out, caught at the wicket, by Shakeel, refuses to accept the decision, before eventually he departs. He receives a reprimand.
Gatting says, "We knew roughly what to expect but never imagined it would be quite so blatant. They were desperate to win a Test match, but if I was them I wouldn't be very happy about the way they did it." In Faisalabad, the proverbial hits the fan. Shakoor Rana and Gatting face off in a slanging match over, essentially, a field adjustment. Play is abandoned for a day as Rana refuses to go out to umpire; eventually, grudgingly, Gatting apologises to Rana and the series resumes. England players receive a controversial `hardship bonus' for the series. Pakistan win 1-0 although the result hardly matters. Neither do Qadir's 30 wickets in three Tests.
1992 - Melbourne - Pakistan beats England to win the World Cup. Wasim Akram wins the match award dismissing Botham, Allan Lamb and Chris Lewis; Botham's dismissal is greeted, allegedly, by Aamir Sohail asking him to send his mother-in-law in next.
1992 - Pakistan, on the back of Akram and Waqar Younis, maintains its superiority over England on the field and their notoriety off it. Another fractious tour includes allegations of ball tampering against the two W's, an ugly altercation between Aqib Javed, Miandad and umpire Roy Palmer - younger brother of Pakistan bete noire Ken - at Old Trafford and more umpiring mishaps, including an atrocious not-out of Graham Gooch three feet short of his crease at Headingley. Imran writes later that no Pakistan team will ever set foot in England again.
2000-01 - England visits Pakistan for the first time since 1987-88. Lord McLaurin, ECB chairman, tries his level best to spark something, calling for Pakistan players implicated in the match-fixing scandal to sit out the series. Alec Stewart's alleged involvement, which emerges during the series, attracts no such sentiment.
2001 - Ostensibly another well-mannered contest, but within and without it, there is something. In the background of racial riots in north-east England, British-Asian fans invade pitches and draw headlines. A fractious Pakistan, meanwhile, slump to predictable disaster at Lord's before rousing themselves for Old Trafford. Here, however, mutterings about ball tampering and legitimate, public grieving of the numerous no-balls the umpires miss - and which get Pakistan crucial wickets - manage to grab the headlines.
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