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A victory fashioned by the unsung

Two young batsmen and an overshadowed bowler did it for Pakistan in Abu Dhabi. Now the administrators must ensure this winning team is left undisturbed

Saad Shafqat

January 29, 2012

Comments: 90 | Text size: A | A

Asad Shafiq and Azhar Ali shared a battling unbeaten stand of 71, Pakistan v England, 2nd Test, Abu Dhabi, 3rd Day, January 27, 2012
Azhar Ali and Asad Shafiq gave Pakistan's bowlers enough runs to defend © AFP

It is surprising how even seasoned observers of the game keep underestimating the potential of the fourth innings for psycho-drama. A stentorian voice announces that a target of 145 could not possibly trouble the world's best side. Another concurs, noting that 145 would be a routine ask in a T20; the chasing team would hardly bat an eyelid. There are some rebuttals but they are muted. You can't compare the two, someone mutters under his breath, explaining that in Tests there are neither field restrictions nor a limit on the number of overs per bowler. But most of all there is the unique psychology.

As compellingly demonstrated by Pakistan's victory in Abu Dhabi, going down the order in a fourth-innings chase is like plumbing the depths of the ocean. Pressure mounts exponentially, and it gets dark very soon. Low-to-medium targets are the hardest, because they tempt you like a mirage, until you fall, thirsty and desperate, grabbing at nothing.

If you want precedents, you could go all the way back to The Oval in 1882, when England failed to chase 85. Granted that was another era, with a different culture and playing conditions, but it happens to be the match that gave birth to the Ashes, and so casts a very long shadow. Since then there have been 13 other occasions when England have failed to chase a target of under 200.

Pakistan's name now shows up three times as the opponent on this list. In 1954 they prevented England from chasing 168 at The Oval. That, too, may have been another era, but it stands out in Pakistan's cricket annals as their most important victory. The second was in November 2005, in Multan, during England's last tour to Pakistan, when England were set 198 and dismissed 22 short.

There are certain similarities between that match and now, although there is also a vital difference. That England side too was basking in fresh Ashes glory, and comprised a star-studded touring party, with names like Flintoff, Pietersen, Strauss, Bell, Collingwood, and Harmison. Yet Pakistan's 2-0 win never drew much international traction. Now England are top dog, which in a sense imprisons them. Now all contests and all playing conditions assume equal significance, be it the manicured turf of a teeming English ground under heavy cloud cover, or an outpost in the desert, whose empty stands are baking under the sun. When you are the frontrunner, it doesn't matter how or where you get knocked off your perch.

Misbah is the CEO, and Mohsin is the supportive and watchful chairman, standing steadfastly behind him. What they are doing together is not merely working, it is working wonders

Pakistan's gains from this victory are plenty. Most heartening is that the win was not fashioned by the usual suspects but by unsung honest triers who have mostly been labouring in the shadows. The match turned in the second innings, when Asad Shafiq joined Azhar Ali after Pakistan had lost four wickets without yet having erased England's lead. The stuffing had been knocked out of Pakistan's batting line-up, with both openers as well as Younis Khan and Misbah-ul-Haq, the two middle-order mainstays, gone. Shafiq and Azhar rode their luck, as you have to in these situations, but they stuck it out. Their partnership of 88 proved the key difference, being modestly in excess of England's eventual margin of defeat.

The bowling hero, too, was unexpected. With left-arm orthodox spin ruling this match, Monty Panesar and Abdur Rehman usurped the arena that general consensus had already ceded to Graeme Swann and Saeed Ajmal. Panesar and Rehman's six-fors in the second innings were both almost equally crucial.

The distinction was that Rehman's batsmen had given him enough runs to bowl at. Rehman made his international debut over half a decade ago, but has played only 14 Tests and 21 ODIs. Abu Dhabi is his first five-wicket haul, and only his second Man-of-the-Match award. He has been an undervalued player, never really seen as a match-winner, but those deliveries that kicked and spat out from the rough are going to change that.

Pakistan now find themselves in the rare position of being within striking distance of a clean sweep. Having come so far so quickly, and from rock bottom, carries an overpowering significance. Criticisms of Misbah's slow and steady approach should now be history, as should be any attempt to remove Mohsin Khan as the head coach, if the PCB has any sense. This series win has allowed us to better understand both men and their contributions. Misbah is the CEO, and Mohsin is the supportive and watchful chairman, standing steadfastly behind him. What they are doing together is not merely working, it is working wonders.

From here on, the challenge for Pakistan's cricket establishment is to create propitious circumstances that can help sustain such dramatic ascendancy. Far too often myopic administrators in Pakistan have unnecessarily fiddled with winning formulas, to the national side's unfortunate detriment. This Pakistan outfit is carving out a path in the sky. All that the PCB bosses need to do right now is to get out of the way. You really couldn't ask for a better deal.

Saad Shafqat is a writer based in Karachi

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Posted by   on (February 1, 2012, 5:33 GMT)

Winning two tests against england or winning test series against bangladesh or srulanka doesnt mean doesnt mean there is no room for changes in the team. Pakistani batsmen has not performed at all. we are winning just cuz of our bowlers. NEED LOADS OF CHANGES IN THE BATTING LINE UP.Should get rid of plauers like taufiq yunus asad n even misbah. bring more youngsters !

Posted by drnaveed on (February 1, 2012, 4:06 GMT)

well, i think at present the Pak cricket board should leave the players all alone, and should not get involved in any way(like planning to change the coach or any other thing),to disturb the tempo of our winning team .if the side is winning series one after the other then it is better to sit and watch them performing,rather than disturbing them .as the team is winning then it is better to give coach mohsin credit for it also and do not change him, as how you can fail some one who is getting exellent results.also there is no guarantee that the next coah will do further better and will get 100 % results. i dont thing the foreign coach will work for more than six months.real test of our players will be on fast pitches, will they than be able to play with 3 spinners on those grounds?,definitely they will have to bring more fast bowlers in to the side and will then change the balance of the side.have to see what happens than with the results ?????????????????

Posted by MuhammadIqbal on (January 31, 2012, 19:49 GMT)

Wahab Riaz is far better bowler than Junaid Khan ,he must be given chance in 3rd test . Umer Gul is a leader of our pace attack but he must be given rest in 3rd test to save his energy for One day and T 20 and give chance to Wahab Riaz and Azaz Cheema ifor Umer Gul and Junaid Khan as Pakistan has already won the series .

Posted by cric_fan__ on (January 31, 2012, 17:04 GMT)

Moshin could well remain the head coach only to serve as a morale booster but Pak seriously needs a good batting coach under moshin...

Posted by   on (January 31, 2012, 11:43 GMT)

Azhar Ali and Asad Shafi,, who played a crucial role in building up a reasonable total in Pakistan's second innings in Abu Dhabi,are just two of the highly talented batsmen in the Pakistani cricket circuit .The others like Ahamed Shehzad,Fawad Alam,Nasir Jamshed,Usman Salahudeen and others who are very promising capable batsmen need to be put on fast mode and given an intensive coaching to promote their rapid progress to represent Pakistan.

Posted by Rexton87 on (January 31, 2012, 7:49 GMT)

Soil should be taken from all test playing countaries and mixed together to prepare Austroturf like pitches industrially and same pitch should be used all over the world. There will be no more excuses from players. You dont see these type of excuses in any other sport bar cricket.

Posted by JawadSyed on (January 31, 2012, 7:08 GMT)

I see some people are not agreeing with the article but to me the important thing is that the combination is working and as rightly pointed out by the author, this combination should be allowed to carry on without any hinderances.

Posted by   on (January 31, 2012, 2:31 GMT)

I am totally glad that Pakistan continued their winning track and beat England. However, other than Cook and Trott, all other English batsmen are having a bad patch. We should also not forget that England is missing a couple of very good players due to injury. Also, what Panesar, an ordinary left armer, did to Pakistan's batting, is quite disturbing. Eventually, the real test would be for Pakistan to beat any two of the following four teams in their home venues: Australia, South Africa, England or India. Personally, I would love to see Pakistan beat Australia and India in their respective countries.

Posted by Just_be_fair on (January 30, 2012, 22:36 GMT)

We are happy that Pakistan's team without big names players have done so well against England and also against SriLanka.But frankly speaking i don't agree with some of the statements made by Mohsin Khan like ''Now we are looking towards number one position''.No doubt this Pakistani team has been performing wll in last 6 months or so and it appears to be a balance team too but honestly speaking there is lot of room fro improvement.We should not forget that last 3 to 4 test serious Pakistani team have played were in Subcontinent either spinning or flat pitches which favours our spinners and batsmen too.And except England we have win against weaker sides like Sri Lnaka and Bangldesh.Real task for our team will be when they will go to Australia, England and South Africa.I don't think AburRehman will be as effective there as he is on sub continent pitches.Batsmen like Toufeeq Umer and Azhar Ali have basic flaws in their techniques specially against fast bowling on seeming and bouncy pitches

Posted by bohurupi on (January 30, 2012, 19:13 GMT)

Does Mohsin Khan has any previous coaching experience for any high profile team? I wonder if he is acting more like a moral booster in the team rather than a well calculated coach? Does he actually studies every single player and every single move they make to decide on the course and strategy of the team? His demeanor doesn't look like so or may be I'm wrong!

Posted by explorer18 on (January 30, 2012, 17:22 GMT)

Kudos to Pakistan for a focused and disciplined performance.

Posted by   on (January 30, 2012, 17:06 GMT)

Where is Haroon Logart ? why not ICC taking Azhar Ali press conference taking seriously "140 runs would be difficult to chase on that surface". Am waiting for Haroon Logart response on that. Am sure he will come back with "something not right".

Posted by   on (January 30, 2012, 15:36 GMT)

This is really great to see - there is no dominant team in the world. Pakistan, south africa, Australia & England can all lay claim to it - but there is still that element of doubt. Would Azhar ali & Asad Shafiq do as well in seaming conditions in Perth? They could - we can't say one way or the other until we see them perform there. Can South Africa beat Pakistan in spin helpful conditions? - It's possible but it's just as possible that Saeed Ajmal could weave a web around them. This victory by pakistan poses more questions of the world's best and leaves the test hierarchy in a complete mess!

Posted by Dannymania on (January 30, 2012, 15:33 GMT)

I think its pretty much confirmed now that Whatmore is gonna be the next Head coach.But well,coaches never really matter now a days.The coach doesnt play the game himself,he can just sit back and take a look at a laptop screen to make sure that his team doesnt repeat the mistakes.Now,Whatmore is a very good coach as is evident from his history with Srilankans,he tried his best with the bangladeshis but it wasnt his fault that the bangladeshis dont know how to play cricket.I am expecting huge things from pakistan under Dave Whatmore.I think we pakistanis should widen our minds up a little and NOT bark at every coach that passes by.

Posted by OhPakistan on (January 30, 2012, 15:23 GMT)

Was it Pakistan's WIN (or rather England's LOSS) ? Kudos to Pakistan team who continue to deliver against all odds (esp. the TESTS). Too early to get excited about the young guns ! Bowling (spin only) remains Pakistan's strong suit where as batting is still not convincing/ require further improvement.

Posted by Noball_Specialist on (January 30, 2012, 15:16 GMT)

England are just falling to their overractiveness at Home and away only to Australia, they are much like India and SA, scared to play away from home, especially on the other side of the globe. Pakistan have have been largely playing abroad and with inexperienced players at that. All this talk about 'world beaters' is premature - there's a long way to go before you take Ajmals, Rehmans and a few batsmen's performances as a sign of world dominance -its quite laughable. Anyway - to take nothing away from Pakistan's amazing and deserved win a series win against the World No 1 test team is nothing to laugh about. I'm happy for Pakistan who showed fantastic spirit and showed us why we need a strong Pakistani unit in World Cricket. When on song they make compelling viewing, to have that audacity to stick the boot to any team. Well done. Keep going Ajmal - you could be a great.

Posted by venkatesh018 on (January 30, 2012, 12:57 GMT)

Congratulations to Pakistan for a great series win. But all the usual batting flaws of Pakistan still remain intact and unless they find a couple of genuine batting stars any sustained success, especially in seamer friendly conditions, will continue to elude them.

Posted by   on (January 30, 2012, 11:34 GMT)

@Sweetspot... haahaaha, i liked what u said :D

Posted by keptalittlelow on (January 30, 2012, 10:38 GMT)

Well done Pakistan, no victory is achieved without extraordinary efforts and skills and temperament, well done our heroes. However we must not let these victories mask our weaknesses if we are to be No. 1 side in the world. Pakistan's success is due to the 'unit' they are at the moment. Batting is our biggest weakness at the moment and we must attend to it.

Posted by samnaseem on (January 30, 2012, 10:36 GMT)

I think in all this glory hunting we forget what a wonderful job Aqib Javed has done with these pakistani bowlers. I have not seen any mention of him. Let's not forget Pakistan won because their bowlers performed, the batting have been behind England's. I do agree the wonderful job Misbah and Mohsin have done but please give some credit to the real unsung hero of pakistnai team; Aqib Javed1 Well done!.

Posted by   on (January 30, 2012, 8:44 GMT)

Gr888888888888888 Victory... Love to C Pakistan Performing of what they are Capable of....!!!

Posted by mehtabAhmed on (January 30, 2012, 8:02 GMT)

everybody is talking about Misbah & co,no doubt they have done a great job,but dont forget Afridi,who brought back this team from all the crisis and glued them together when they were all so confused after spot fixing crisis.perhaps this is the rite time to sit together and plan for the next 3 years at least.keep injecting young blood like Asad and Azher can make Pakistan team even more power full.

Posted by Rexton87 on (January 30, 2012, 7:40 GMT)

Superb shot of the two batsmen crossing in the middle of the pitch taken with a telephoto lense. All four feet seems to be off the turf which is technically impossible ,is it an illusion ? anyone can explain.

Posted by Pakmann on (January 30, 2012, 7:27 GMT)

The series would have been 1-1 at the moment, had England gotten that crucial run out on Day 4.

In the second test, the spinners for both teams did a very good job, but the Pakistani spinners bowled a little better. Batsmen on both sides did badly against spin, but the English batsmen batted a little worse.

I don't agree with Mohsin that Pakistanis can be No.1; at least not with this line up of batsmen and bowlers. Pakistani batting is brittle against any form of bowling; but it is always fully exposed in English conditions and against English fast bowlers; similarly in Australia. Despite Pakistani and Indian batsmen's weakness in non-Asian conditions, Pakistan does a bit better than India on tours of England not because Pakistani batsmen play fast bowling in overcast conditions any better than Indians; BUT because Pakistani fast bowlers have in the past exploited those conditions better than Indian bowlers. At the moment Pakistan does not have lethal fast bowlers to support Gul!

Posted by Rexton87 on (January 30, 2012, 7:26 GMT)

I will not repeat what has already been said so nicely by other contributors. There are some radical thoughts to consider as well such as training tailenders in batting. So often the contribution of 20 and 30s by tailenders become the difference in victory and defeat. Umar gull especially should be focused on as big hitter and come at 7. The underachievement of Hafeez with the bat when he is capable of much more than 30,s and 40,s should be looked at as well as Taufeeq Umar who missed the line and bolwed out three times in series so far.

Posted by   on (January 30, 2012, 7:24 GMT)

Fantastic Pakistan! Remember we won two tests against ENgland and Australia too last year in their conditions.

Posted by   on (January 30, 2012, 6:27 GMT)


Posted by   on (January 30, 2012, 6:16 GMT)

Sub-conti. pitches have always been tough for Eng. The pitch was unique (rather "bizarre") ! It was turning on 1st. day pre-lunch and later on due normal wear/deterioration, some turned "square" while few went straight on from "SAME SPOT" ! Eng. Batsmen contributed to collapse by going into shell - lacked mental strength - didn't ve the nerves to counter the pressure applied by Misbah. If it was Pakistan loosing by 72 runs, English media would certainly have cried "FOUL" !

Posted by LittleRed93 on (January 30, 2012, 5:08 GMT)

A well deserved win for Pakistan. Would have been a very interesting final Test match if we had one. All the best to them. Perhaps to continue their development they could perhaps play another neutral series in England as it would help them with the "alien" conditions like we had to encounter in the UAE and make them a real force to be reckoned with.

Posted by   on (January 30, 2012, 4:29 GMT)

Nicely written, congrats to team Pakistan :)

Posted by Max_Powers on (January 30, 2012, 4:23 GMT)

I am absolutely thrilled about Pakistan's victory and I hope they continue their winning ways. But like Imran Khan often says, defeat can teach you alot more than victory. In all this excitement we might forget about our weaknesses. Our batting has alot of room for improvement. Our batsmen are supposed to be good against spin but they weren't. Other than Misbah, our batsmen showed little intent of unsettling the spinners. Azhar Ali looked uncomfortable against Broad and Anderson even on a pitch that gave little help to the fast bowlers. And lastly our own fast bowlers looked harmless, unable to get even the England tail out.

I'm not trying to take the shine off this win. It really was an unbelievable! But there's still tons of room for improvement in all departments. Go Pakistan!!!

Posted by Dravid_Pujara_Gravitas on (January 30, 2012, 3:46 GMT)

What a fantastic article with interesting tidbits on history. Fantastic win for Pakistan. Keep it up Pakistan - from an Indian.

Posted by   on (January 30, 2012, 2:30 GMT)

Whatmore should be given a chance. If he isn't up to the mark, we can always go back to Mohsin Khan ;) Or so I hope..

Posted by goliwala on (January 30, 2012, 0:21 GMT)

"any attempt to remove Mohsin Khan as the head coach, if the PCB has any sense." That's the biggest problem with Pak, no sense. Politicians will surely ruin this team in no time.

Posted by   on (January 30, 2012, 0:09 GMT)

what a match!!!!!,hope to see another close one

Posted by Cricket_theBestGame on (January 29, 2012, 23:37 GMT)

agreed....don't even think about removing mohsin khan and getting whatmore in! this team is like the old fashioned teams of the by gone era when coaches were only used to get to and from cricket grounds (as put it so eloquintly by warne!). leave this team alone and the coach too..

Posted by   on (January 29, 2012, 23:13 GMT)

Heartiest congratulations to the Pakistan team for the two wonderful consecutive Test victories over England.The recent one was especially thrilling as no one gave Pakistan a chance with England just needing 145 to win.Staying up throughout the night to watch the last day was really worth it. Misbah-Ul-Haq's cool,calm,composed demeanour as a captain has done wonders to the team and his bowling changes eg bringing on spinner(s) early has been spot on.Pakistan also have to thank the other level headed senior pro Younis Khan who,am sure, worked behind the scene to motivate the demoralised team. The tragedy or rot in Pakistan cricket really started when they stripped Younis of captaincy just for that one dropped catch,giving him a bad name and that too just after he had led Pakistan to T20 WC victory at Lord's against all odds. I am an Indian and still feel extremely sorry for the gifted Md Amir who was punished very harshly, inspite of his tender age.Hope he is pardoned soon.

Posted by Stavroulla on (January 29, 2012, 23:12 GMT)

@sweetspot - :). We are not celebrating indian 0-8. Actually, what is happening is not new. Its been happening for long time (with few exception) home advantage. I think standardization of pitches is very important. how can you expect teams to perform in alien conditions when they grow up playing at home conditions all of their lives. I personally like australian pitches so ICC should give cricket australia contract to prepare wickets world-wide, something like that. Basically standardization of wickets.

Posted by   on (January 29, 2012, 21:49 GMT)

Very well written. I wish Pak all the best. I live in Eng and love supporting them but when Pak v Eng plays I have to support Pak. It was very nice to see them win, and for me was quite emotional. I hope they continue to do well, and continue to provide a nation much hope.

Posted by   on (January 29, 2012, 20:40 GMT)

Good Job sir, Long live Pakistan.

Posted by zkaleem on (January 29, 2012, 18:34 GMT)

Two splendid victories but let us not forget to look of an area of weakness that can come back to haunt us if England put up a big score in Dubai. Our tail is simply too long and under productive. We were bailed out by our exceptional bowlers. In both tests, Aizaz & Junaid put together bowled 19 overs for 1 one wicket and scored ZERO runs as a pair. We can stick with one fast bowler and let Hafeez open the bowling which causes more problems for English batsman, then add either Umar Akmal as an extra batsman or leg spinner Yasir who took most English wickets in the trial game apart from being a decent batsman. If a second fast bowler must play, then Wahab is the man, bowling currently at 150 mph with regular wicket taking deliveries [especially for tail enders] and is a far better batsman than the other two fast bowlers.

Posted by Sports4Youth on (January 29, 2012, 18:34 GMT)

Abdur Rehman has lived in the shadows of Ajmal for too long. Its time that he be given sufficient overs with confidence.

Posted by k.hameed on (January 29, 2012, 18:27 GMT)

Well written article, always enjoyed reading them. We should never forget contribution of Waqar in building this team along with Misbah. Mohsin is doing a good job but all the hard work was done by Waqar, if not for an immature person who goes by the name of Mr Afridi he could have been there, anyway this team has made us proud again. Let us cherish this moment while it lasts.

Posted by sweetspot on (January 29, 2012, 17:54 GMT)

Very happy for Pakistan! Very little England can do about finding out their real quality outside conditions that favour them. England have been "found out" as much as any team touring England under cloudy skies. Now Pakistan, please finish the job in style. We Indians would love you to win 3-0, even if you may be celebrating our 0-8 in the last two overseas series. Please have fun with England!

Posted by   on (January 29, 2012, 17:46 GMT)

@Ayaz Sheikh: The match was won by spinners. Neither Waqar, not Mohsin deserve the credit. One was a fast bowler and the other a batsman. Just in case you missed, Ejaz Butt took credit by saying the decisions he made are paying off. lol.

Posted by   on (January 29, 2012, 17:29 GMT)

it's all about leadership of gr8 misbah ul haq

Posted by playitstraight on (January 29, 2012, 16:52 GMT)

Misbah is a very good captain no doubt, but his age is a concern. He is nearing 38 and when he retires, Pakistan don't have someone ready to take the reins. Umar Akmal would be a wise choice, but he does not play Tests constantly. I highly doubt that Pakistan will give the captaincy to Younis Khan once again. Misbah also must think about this and prepare someone for the future.

Posted by Super70s on (January 29, 2012, 16:34 GMT)

Congrats to Pak on an amazing victory, and most of their players have punched above their weight. But let us not get carried away and call this XI untouchable. They have made the most of spinner-friendly wickets but this team cannot win outside Asia. England have got their #1 ranking based on home victories just as India before them did. Till we get a truly dominant team like the 1990s WI or 2000s Oz, #1 will be a musical chair occupied by any of the top 6 teams that get a few home series at a stretch. Pak can be in the mix, but how long before they find some off-field distraction?

Posted by Spelele on (January 29, 2012, 16:19 GMT)

@plod: I agree that Australia are better players of spin than England (and so are South Africa). Any of the two could have chased 145 with players like Clarke, Amla, De Villiers, Hussey, Kallis etc who can all use their feet against spin. In fact, SA made merry against this same attack a year or so ago. However, your comment regarding Australia having the number one attack in the world is unfounded. Any attack with Peter Siddle and Hifenhaus in it can never be world class; not to mention the injury-prone Harris. Your attack also lacks a world class spin bowler. The rest are rookies who are relatively untested at this level. Things look better than they were during the Ashes though :) I'd say ENG has a pretty good and settled attack for all conditions with Monty and Swann being very good spinners. They were only let down by the batting. SA also looks good with a settled Steyn and Morkel. Having unearthed Philander and De Lange now, and with a settling Tahir, they are right up there!

Posted by eng_mdkhan on (January 29, 2012, 16:07 GMT)

The first test was a surprise the second was a knockout. It is destiny which is tuned by our deeds. All the Pakistani team has to do is play with the belief as a team and regardless of the coach or captain success will come.......that is the bottom line.

Posted by Spelele on (January 29, 2012, 16:02 GMT)

@inzisaloos: oh please! SA faced the same Ajmal and Rehman without any fuss a year ago. It should be remembered that SA were only bowled out once (that too for 380!) against this same attack, on the same pitches. In the one match that Ajmal played, he was blasted around for 195 runs and only 3 wickets. Not to mention Rehman's figures of 10 wickets for over 430 runs throughout the 2 match series! And to think that England were blown away by the same bowlers?? All of Kallis, De Villers, Amla and Smith scored centuries in that SA-PAK series! The truth is that SA or Aus would have chased 145 runs with so much time left. Surely Clarke, Amla, Kallis, Hussey or De Villiers would have at least used their feet to these bowlers? Both SA and Aus are better against spin than England, and are therefore better teams because they can win in the subcontinent. Quiet frankly, England are not going to improve in India and Srilanka. Things are going to get much worse before getting better. Mark my words!

Posted by   on (January 29, 2012, 15:31 GMT)

The way Pakistan team is playing against tough oppositions from the last 1 year is absolutely fabulous.Under the leadership of Misbah every member knows what is his job and how can he perform to lead the team to victory.We cant call this team as heavy weights of cricket but their key is to focus on their strength and to apply in the game as well.Hope that Pakistan will continue to perform like this and be on top of Test rankings.

Posted by   on (January 29, 2012, 15:19 GMT)

Very nice article ! Bravo

Posted by   on (January 29, 2012, 14:44 GMT)

@ayaz Shiekh you said the exact thing that Waqar Younis Should also be remembered. As far as i am concerned Mohsin khan has nothing to do with pak good performance he is here for a very short period and no one can do anything Great in these short days. Umar Gul,wahab riaz is now our match wining bowlers its all just because of waqar younis. Aqib Javid and Ijaz Ahmad should also be awarded. Over all The Great one is Misbah ul Haq what a leader he is.

Posted by Zahidsaltin on (January 29, 2012, 14:43 GMT)

Misbah the captain has done wonders but he needs to win a series in Australia, SA and England before been compared to Imran. Ofcourse he won't have a chance to contest a worldcup.

Posted by   on (January 29, 2012, 13:59 GMT)

I think this article laid down the clear picture how Pakistan has achieve this result.We must speak clearly and loudly to keep this unit intact.It is crime if we do not speak out in their support.

Posted by shahzebkhaan on (January 29, 2012, 13:49 GMT)

high time for rehman to give his best and take the positives its just the beginning rehman bhai dont be overconfident just trust in ALLAH and give your best with saeed bhai ......... long live TEAM PAKISTAN LONG LIVE PAKISTAN

Posted by   on (January 29, 2012, 13:46 GMT)

Just the use of tough language to prove himself as great writer, but using tough language does not prove to be a best article. The reason of using this kind of tough language can be Asian clay. The English writers never use such kind of language to prove themselves great English speakers (writers)

Posted by   on (January 29, 2012, 13:39 GMT)

Pak team need +1 Gud pace bowler :)

Posted by veeezel on (January 29, 2012, 13:15 GMT)

pakistan zindabad i cant say much about this triump i am over the moon great victory for the team and for the battered and bruised nation, team and captain and coaches deserve all the praise pakistan team looked very focused and unite credit must go to the captain while we should rejoice and enjoy our victory we should not forget mr billy bordend antics during the game if he is gone a be using this DRS system with this kind of biasness then we all have to look for that system too. so finish on higher note all the way pakistan team (i m not saying wwhitewash yet)

Posted by   on (January 29, 2012, 13:13 GMT)

An excellent win for Pakistan... hats off to all... I would like to see Asad Shafiq bat up the order (no 3 maybe???) and also Umer Akmal in there somwhere because sometimes we need fire power which he might be able to provide... I did miss Cheema in this game but nice to see Junaid working hard... Keep up the good work Pakistan... cant wait for the third test...

Posted by pintu01 on (January 29, 2012, 13:01 GMT)

Correctly said "All that the PCB bosses need to do right now is to get out of the way". But alas you will see changes PCB will do to destroy this success. PCB is here not to benefit Pakistan team rather those bunches of opportunists.

Posted by GreatWhitePathan on (January 29, 2012, 12:27 GMT)

Hasn't that been the job of politicians, the PCB and selectors for decades i.e. to destroy the cricket team and generate as much turmoil as possible??

This may be the first signs of stability since Imran, but be in no doubt, that turmoil is never too far away.

Leaving the team alone and letting them propser is not one of the aims of the PCB. Corrupt nation, corrupt institutions, corrupt people, corrupt mentality, corrupt culture and its only a matter of time before Mohsin Khan is replaced and instability returns. As a Pakistani, good things can never last too long because somebody is always out to destroy it. Unfortunately, thats the way we think now because ultimately its true!

Posted by   on (January 29, 2012, 11:24 GMT)

Pakistan is the new England now!!!Performing well as a unit and every player is a match winner.

Posted by ALATIFUSMAN on (January 29, 2012, 11:17 GMT)

i fully agree with Ayaz Sheikh regarding Mohsin Khan one person cannot wonders in one or two months it takes a long time and credit should be Given to Waqar Younus as he was the MAN when the going was tough. As for Mohsin Khan I would rather see him as cheif Selector and not Chief Coach.

Posted by   on (January 29, 2012, 11:16 GMT)

Loved the way both teams played. England earned number one spot. Pakistan earned the victory against the no.1 team.

Posted by   on (January 29, 2012, 10:53 GMT)

we need to see that v shud produce good leaders in future the next future leader seems to be M.Hafeez

Posted by noplay on (January 29, 2012, 10:46 GMT)

The biggest bonus to Pakistan cricket is not captain or coach. It is that Pakistan cricket has been cleaned up. Let's keep it there. Congratulations to Pakistan for their wonderful win

Posted by LillianThomson on (January 29, 2012, 10:40 GMT)

Australia has Arthur and Rixon in tandem. New Zealand has Buchanan and Wright in tandem. Why can't Pakistan employ Mohsin Khan as Chairman of Selectors and Technical Director while having Aaqib Javed as Bowling Coach and Dav Whatmore as Batting Coach and Head Coach? A year from now they will be playing in South Africa, and at present only Hafeez and Younis have any technical skill on bouncy tracks. Whatmore could be a very useful partner for Mohsin Khan.

Posted by BuddyLee on (January 29, 2012, 10:39 GMT)

But will the the wadera shahi that is PCB leave well enough alone? Nothing prints rupees like success, and you can hear the devil's abacus whir through the structure. Quick points: Tests staying out of Pakistan are a good thing, and not just because it dents the PCB's coffers. People need to STOP calling for an Akmal to replace Asad. Seriously. Fielding needs work, lots. Rather than mask weakness, I hope the win raises standards and creates the atmosphere of success that helps newcomers, like Australia has. Hope England can turn this around before Sri Lanka; bowling is good, fix your batsmen or it'll be boring and hellish. I can't imagine either Andyx2 or Misbohsin not seeing the significance of T3 to prove a major point. Hoping for another good century free contest!

Posted by   on (January 29, 2012, 9:47 GMT)

its about time abdul rehman gets due credit,

Posted by   on (January 29, 2012, 9:45 GMT)

Neatly scripted indeed. But not too convinced that Mohsin should get all the plaudits. As Aamer Sohail mentioned on telly yesterday, Waqar's hard work has made this transition possible. So his contribution in all this should be accepted. Fickle as we supporters are one must also turn back the clock and remind us of the time when during the spot fixing drama there were whispers that players want Afridi out as skipper as he "did not play ball" and wanted Misbah given the reins instead. For me (and in hindsight) all that was baloney and hogwash. Misbah (although early days) has carried himself very well as a captain. Am cautiously optimistic about days ahead in pak cricket.

Posted by   on (January 29, 2012, 9:33 GMT)

Saad sahib, tomorrow when the same team with the same captain and coach will loose, you'll be among the first ones to ask for the heads of those in charge. I've read your previous articles and I've seen you rolling from one side to another depending upon what is the result of merely one or two games. So let's keep our fingers crossed until the end of this tour. Yes, they are doing great and hopefully, they keep it up but then don't change the tune if anything wrong happens which is inevitable anyways.

Posted by aisha.furqan on (January 29, 2012, 8:30 GMT)

Well said! This is an amazing group of lads under an outstanding leadership. I read some talk about adding Umar Akmal to this squad in the next game on twitter. I don't agree with that. This team combination worked wonders. Both with bad and ball. Heck, they didn't even use Junaid in the whole match! I also wonder what you'd say to the players currently serving prison sentences?

Posted by   on (January 29, 2012, 8:28 GMT)

Pakistan won their series against NZ, drew against Australia (in England), but lost to England (in England). This team has the making of a top side, but they need to prove it in Australia/South Africa now (although I don't consider the UAE games as 'home' matches - they are NOT home games, will never be). And I hope they play sooner rather than later, as in sports, teams go in cycles; I don't want this team to go abroad while they're in decline. Want to see this team go abroad while they are at their peak!

Posted by light4all on (January 29, 2012, 8:10 GMT)

Pakistani team really good batsman and try to increase the run rate per over. their run rate is very slow . good luck in future

Posted by sarimbaig on (January 29, 2012, 7:00 GMT)

Loved the article. I wonder if PCB will retain Mohsin, I'm not so sure. Given that Whatmore resigned from his IPL role for a national duty, perhaps on an indication from the PCB, might put the board in an awkward position now, denying him the job. Perhaps he can be offered a useful role in the domestic circuit? Remains to be seen. But I hope Mohsin stays. I also think some young players (in terms of age) are needed in the pace bowling department, especially, and the batting department, preferably.

Posted by   on (January 29, 2012, 6:44 GMT)

yes it all about Allah help, we can nothing do without Allah help.

Posted by KarachiKid on (January 29, 2012, 6:41 GMT)

Good one. We all, the team Pakistan and fans deserve to bask in glory after so many years of under achievement, politics and corruption. Hats off to Misbah, Hafeez, Azhar, Asad, Ajmal and Rehman. Of course the rest of the team also chipped in with some brillinat fielding or some support for the set batsmen. This Pakistan team is playing a like a TEAM after a very long time.

Posted by MalikAftabAhmedAwan on (January 29, 2012, 6:10 GMT)

Perfectly summed up Saad. Very well written

Posted by plod on (January 29, 2012, 5:56 GMT)

Saad, that is a well written article. I wonder how long before the next controversy though? Having followed Pakistan cricket closely, every time you guys are on the verge of greatness, something bad happens. However, I digress, until you beat Australia home or away you don't have any more claims to the no.1 position than the Aussies do. We only need Shane Watson back and we're ready to rock and roll. To think we have to fit Pattinson, Cummins and co back into the team, well look out world here we come. I was very impressed with Ajmal and Rehman, but, England do not play spin well, especially in the subcontinent. Aussies do play spin well, we use our feet and play forward, not this ridiculous idea of playing back trying to read the spin off the pitch. Why aren't England producing guys that can play spin? I think it will be a whitewash in UAE, because clearly Strauss, and the top order are clueless against quality spin. Anyway, take a bow Pakistan, a job well done, but we won 4-0!

Posted by   on (January 29, 2012, 5:46 GMT)

I second your thought. Why Imran Khan was successful becuase he was the authority himself along with a Pakistani coach. Similar situation now, where team is looking like a unit. The way team was cheering at the win and the way Moshin Khan was lifted in air by Misbah & Co. pleased me lots. Its a eye opener for PCB to not to poke their nose into this unit and let it as it is. Let the winning combition to perform.

Posted by   on (January 29, 2012, 5:43 GMT)

I desperately wish that PCB has to revisit their decision to bring a new Head coach for Pakistani Team, because For me Mohsin Hasan Khan is actually the best of the best coach among all the other to whom PCB wants to appoint for Pakistani Team. I really wish that Mohsin Khan has to continue his job and PCB has to back him up,

Posted by   on (January 29, 2012, 5:16 GMT)

Saad has done a good job in pointing that the foundation for the victory was laid by Azhar and Asad. People are caught in the spin bowling euphoria and throwing accolades at Saeed and Rahman and rightly so, however, the tributes to Asad and Azhar have been very limited. The two youngsters batted with a meaningful intent and resolve. I believe that 1954 Oval Victory remains the greatest in Pakistan history. While watching Pakistan 2nd Innings and seeing Monty make inroads, I had a sense that lead of 150 would be hard for England to chase. I feel the English team was supported by Billy Bowden, the third umpire.

Posted by   on (January 29, 2012, 4:58 GMT)

I sure hope so too Mr. Shafqat that the team gets support of the admintrators as well. And hopeful too of circket coming back to Pakistan in 2012!

Posted by indianpunter on (January 29, 2012, 4:55 GMT)

superbly written. way to go, pakistan ! this is from your indian cousins across the border!

Posted by donda on (January 29, 2012, 4:32 GMT)

A great article and i agree with you that PCB now should not interfere in team maters. Good coach, Good Captain, Good Bowling, OK Batting and Great team effort. PCB should get out of the picture and let the management play their role in the field.

Let Mohsin be the coach and Misbah be the captain, if they lose for next one year.

Beating world #1 team is the best acheivement a team can earn and if we lose a lot even after today, we will be satisfy for whole 2012 year.

This match win is one of the greatest wins in Pakistan history. PCB please don't change the management at all.

Posted by Mel-waas on (January 29, 2012, 4:06 GMT)

Before Misbah it was Mohsin the Chief selector who is the true architect of this team. He created this wonderful mix of youth and experience. He selected and persisted with this team. If not for Mohsin, Adnan Akmal would not have been in the side or Asad Shafiq. He did an amazing job as a coach, he gets along well with players like Shahid Afridi who are hard to manage. He along with Misbah is responsible for this winning strategy. Which at first drew so much criticism. PCB Should not even consider anybody else as coach.

Posted by   on (January 29, 2012, 4:04 GMT)

Congrats pak on wonderful victory and well written article by saad shafqat .My point is that this series has exposed our batting weaknesses so we should think seriously to improve in that department otherwise fielding and bowling looked much mature .Hope we do whitewash .

Posted by inzisaloos on (January 29, 2012, 3:45 GMT)

Two points: 1] I don't think England will find the same problems facing spin in Sri Lanka or India later this year because with the retirement of Murali and the decline of Harbajhan neither of those sides possesses a 'mystery' spinner with the skill of Ajmal. Rehman has been fantastic but has benefitted from the confusion about techniques against spin that Ajmal has cast over the England batsmen. Who will do that for SL or India? 2] The real challenge for Pakistan will be how they play away from 'home.' They won a series in NZ - renowned for its seaming wickets - last year. They won a test in the ill-fated series in England in 2010, as well as drawing the series 1-1 with Australia in the same country. They also won a test against SA on their last tour there. This highlights their abilities on their travels. They have the bowlers to win anywhere so the onus will be on the batsmen delivering hundreds.

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