Pakistan v England 2011-12 January 30, 2012

Spin the crux of England's problems

Pakistan are the better side, in these conditions at least, and England's batsmen have played spin bowling very poorly
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So, the search for excuses begins. To date, theories to explain England's losses against Pakistan have included an absent batting coach, a lack of preparation and, among a few in the media at least, a suggestion that there may be something sinister in the action of Saeed Ajmal. On Monday Monty Panesar, one of the beacons of joy in a grim episode for England, even claimed partial responsibility, saying he "let the team down in the first innings, where I didn't take wickets at a quick enough rate".

All are spurious. The key reasons for England's loss are clear: Pakistan are the better side, in these conditions at least, and England's batsmen have played spin bowling very poorly.

To focus too much on the other issues risks not confronting the problem. Yes, Graham Gooch, England's part-time batting coach, and Mark Bawden, the team's sports psychologist, departed for England as the second Test began. As Andy Flower put it, in a "perfect world", Gooch would have remained with the team throughout the tour, but budgets prohibited it on this occasion.

Gooch had been present throughout the preparation stages, however. Andy Flower, a wonderful player of spin, was also on hand. But once the game begins, there is nothing that Gooch, or anyone else, can do. As Andrew Strauss put it, no coach has ever scored the runs for a batsman. They have to do it themselves.

Panesar need feel no responsibility either. England's bowling attack remains a strength of this side and there is little more they could have done to engineer a winning position. It was the batting that let England down.

There will be no short-term fixes. England - and all aspiring England players - simply require more exposure to these conditions and these bowlers. It is a mixed blessing that they face tours to Sri Lanka and India before the year is out. They must sink or swim.

In many ways, the ECB - admirably - has already taken the medicine but are waiting for it to work. They have already arranged that young players spend more time in Asian conditions over the winter. While several potential England players are spending time in India, others have been incorporated into Sri Lankan domestic cricket. Varun Chopra, the former England U-19 captain and Warwickshire opener, scored a double-century last week. The seeds have been sown, but it will take time for them to grow.

One of the unfortunate aspects of this series has been the suggestion from a few in the media - though no one in the England camp - that there is something sinister about the doosra. There is no mileage in such excuses. Ajmal's action has been inspected and cleared by the ICC. The umpires - who, with one exception, have enjoyed a fine series to date - can report it at any time and have not done so.

There are, perhaps, parallels here with events of a generation ago. Then, the likes of Wasim Akram and Waqar Younis destroyed England with their wonderful ability to harness the power of reverse swing. At the time, however, some insisted such skill could only be the result of skulduggery: accusations of ball-tampering dogged series between these sides.

Now, however, England have learned the skill, too. It is no longer seen as a dark art; it is a legitimate and necessary weapon in the armoury of any fast bowler with hopes of enjoying a successful international career. England would be wise to adopt a similar approach to the doosra. They should learn from Ajmal, not moan about him.

That will not be easy. There are, at present, very few men in the county game who can bowl the doosra with the control and pace required to even use it in a first-class match. Besides, when an English bowler emerges with such a skill, he is soon confronted by whispers about his actions. Maurice Holmes, who played a handful of games for Warwickshire in the 2011 season, now finds himself without a county contract after he was reported by English umpires. It will take a cultural shift to embrace the doosra in English cricket. Umpires, coaches and the media will all have to buy into the idea.

Perhaps England might look, too, at the nature of pitches used in the county championship. While it is accepted that pitches offer assistance to seamers, the ECB's Pitch Liaison Officers are far more stringent when a pitch is deemed to offer excessive turn. Last year Hampshire were docked eight points when their Rose Bowl pitch for the game against Nottinghamshire was found to provide too much assistance to spin bowlers. If England really want to improve against spin, perhaps such conditions, or at least more diversity in pitches, should be encouraged?

Ahead of the winter tours, Graham Thorpe, the ECB's lead batting coach, commented: "You need to know where your big shots are, your sweep shots are, but you also need to know where your release shots are, how to break your wrists, how to rotate the strike by getting deeper into the crease. Picking length is crucial against spin. We need to recognise what Asian sides do better than us and introduce it to our game."

As things stand, England have failed on all those counts. In the long term, though, that need to recognise the strengths of the Asian sides and incorporate them will be the key to progress.

In the short term, it seems Eoin Morgan will be the man to pay the price for England's poor performance. It seems highly likely that he will be replaced by Ravi Bopara in the team to play the third Test. Bopara, with his medium-pace bowling, will also partially fill the role of third seamer, allowing England to retain both spinners in the side. It is worth noting, though, that there was little spin on the pitch used for the first Test in Dubai.

The setback does not mean that Morgan's Test career is over. Ian Bell was dropped after a similar debacle in Jamaica and subsequently returned a more rounded cricketer. Morgan faces the same challenge.

George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Ahsan_Shere on February 2, 2012, 14:52 GMT

    Guys! It isn't required to be great if you claim no.1 spot or awarded no.1 spot, you just have to be better than all others & England were for the last 18-24 months so they deserved to be ranked best in the world. They beat No.1 side 4-0. If your opinion is England shouldn't be no.1 because of straight defeats at the hands of Pak then India should also didn't deserve to be no.1 when they were thrashed in England last summer but they were, if you think Aussie should be on top spot they also lost 3 tests by innings against England at HOME in Ashes 2010 so they also didn't deserve to be no.1. Pakistan didn't do any thing in 2010 to gain no.1 spot in mid 2011. SA drew against Pak & India, no series win for them in 2010-2011 season. Now tell me whom you could award No.1 spot on August 31st 2011. Now read line 1 of this para. Btw I'm Pakistani!

  • VillageBlacksmith on February 2, 2012, 9:58 GMT

    hey guys 'n gals, calm down,,, its not England who voted themselves No 1..!! Its the official ICC ranking they have achieved by playing all in front of them for the last 2ish years... inc soundly beatinbg Oz home and away... if u all think England are so bad... then how bad does it make all the others??! credit where it is due and dont be so mealy-mouthed... Cheers.

  • on February 1, 2012, 14:23 GMT

    The principal reason for England's batting debacle was the failure of its batsmen to deal with the Pakistani spinners successfully.They failed to read the doosras and the shuttle variations in the deliveries of the Pakistani spinners.They were even shackled by the straight forward off spin of Mohamed Hafeez

  • Grayark on February 1, 2012, 13:06 GMT

    I am a dual national UK/ Pak. I love both my countries equally.

    After reading numerous articles and subsequent comments, what I am not seeing here is the realisation about who the real winner in this series is.

    The winner is Cricket. Two opponents clashing with contrasting styles and both fighting to the proverbial death. It was not an easy ride for Pakistan. England showed them why they are number 1 ranked. If at anytime Pakistan slipped for an instant, England would have been away with the match. The battles between ball and bat were some of the most engaging I have seen in a while.

    In every match there is a winner and a loser and teams fortunes ebb and flow. Why not put aside petty jibes at each other and appreciate the 8 days of pure and engaging cricket that both sides paid for with blood, sweat and tears.

    Well done Pakistan.... England you are a world class side, look forward to seeing the lions roaring back into form.

  • JM_RSA on February 1, 2012, 8:01 GMT

    @Joninnorwich - I wouldnt be so sure that you will beat SA in England. SA comprise of a better seam bowling unit than England. The batting is equal. Only department where Eng is ahead is the spinner (Swann vs Tahir). But then SA play spin way better than England. So that seriers will be very close. I would give it to SA 2-0 or 2-1 just like the last tour.

  • RandyOZ on January 31, 2012, 20:29 GMT

    how can young english (sic) batsmen learn to play against spin when no one in england can bowl it?

  • RandyOZ on January 31, 2012, 20:26 GMT

    Is there a worse player of spin in world cricket than Ian Bell? I mean he has no idea, hes lucky to nick a ball. A quick youtube search will show Strauss is not much better. It really isnt surprising that the Unted XI import so many players when you see englishmen play cricket.

  • WeeBee on January 31, 2012, 20:18 GMT

    HeHe! You know ENglish cricketers use GPS to figure out how much they ran or walked on training and also during matches. They wear cameras on helmets while batting, theywatch many videos of their opponents, THEN WHERE IS THE RESULT OF ALL THIS EXPENSES.! in few days they wont be number one , then they would realize that they should go back to drawing board instead of getting into more technology. hee

  • JG2704 on January 31, 2012, 19:06 GMT

    Personally I like the fact that our Lions are touring SL and Bangladesh. The Bangladesh tour was not great results wise but will hopefully be a good learning curve. A few more 3 or 4 day games on these tours wouldn't go a miss either. Also it might be an idea if some of the England players could get to play a month or so of domestic cricket somewhere on the subcontinent

  • JG2704 on January 31, 2012, 18:59 GMT

    @ajmal1988 on (January 31 2012, 01:00 AM GMT) Do you really think that the second innings from England was complacency? Anything but IMO. Obviously we have to give great credit to Ajmal and co for that inns bowling and the 2 in the 1st test but the English batsmen looked scared of playing. I'm now thinking the England batting failure was a mental thing as much as a technical thing

  • Ahsan_Shere on February 2, 2012, 14:52 GMT

    Guys! It isn't required to be great if you claim no.1 spot or awarded no.1 spot, you just have to be better than all others & England were for the last 18-24 months so they deserved to be ranked best in the world. They beat No.1 side 4-0. If your opinion is England shouldn't be no.1 because of straight defeats at the hands of Pak then India should also didn't deserve to be no.1 when they were thrashed in England last summer but they were, if you think Aussie should be on top spot they also lost 3 tests by innings against England at HOME in Ashes 2010 so they also didn't deserve to be no.1. Pakistan didn't do any thing in 2010 to gain no.1 spot in mid 2011. SA drew against Pak & India, no series win for them in 2010-2011 season. Now tell me whom you could award No.1 spot on August 31st 2011. Now read line 1 of this para. Btw I'm Pakistani!

  • VillageBlacksmith on February 2, 2012, 9:58 GMT

    hey guys 'n gals, calm down,,, its not England who voted themselves No 1..!! Its the official ICC ranking they have achieved by playing all in front of them for the last 2ish years... inc soundly beatinbg Oz home and away... if u all think England are so bad... then how bad does it make all the others??! credit where it is due and dont be so mealy-mouthed... Cheers.

  • on February 1, 2012, 14:23 GMT

    The principal reason for England's batting debacle was the failure of its batsmen to deal with the Pakistani spinners successfully.They failed to read the doosras and the shuttle variations in the deliveries of the Pakistani spinners.They were even shackled by the straight forward off spin of Mohamed Hafeez

  • Grayark on February 1, 2012, 13:06 GMT

    I am a dual national UK/ Pak. I love both my countries equally.

    After reading numerous articles and subsequent comments, what I am not seeing here is the realisation about who the real winner in this series is.

    The winner is Cricket. Two opponents clashing with contrasting styles and both fighting to the proverbial death. It was not an easy ride for Pakistan. England showed them why they are number 1 ranked. If at anytime Pakistan slipped for an instant, England would have been away with the match. The battles between ball and bat were some of the most engaging I have seen in a while.

    In every match there is a winner and a loser and teams fortunes ebb and flow. Why not put aside petty jibes at each other and appreciate the 8 days of pure and engaging cricket that both sides paid for with blood, sweat and tears.

    Well done Pakistan.... England you are a world class side, look forward to seeing the lions roaring back into form.

  • JM_RSA on February 1, 2012, 8:01 GMT

    @Joninnorwich - I wouldnt be so sure that you will beat SA in England. SA comprise of a better seam bowling unit than England. The batting is equal. Only department where Eng is ahead is the spinner (Swann vs Tahir). But then SA play spin way better than England. So that seriers will be very close. I would give it to SA 2-0 or 2-1 just like the last tour.

  • RandyOZ on January 31, 2012, 20:29 GMT

    how can young english (sic) batsmen learn to play against spin when no one in england can bowl it?

  • RandyOZ on January 31, 2012, 20:26 GMT

    Is there a worse player of spin in world cricket than Ian Bell? I mean he has no idea, hes lucky to nick a ball. A quick youtube search will show Strauss is not much better. It really isnt surprising that the Unted XI import so many players when you see englishmen play cricket.

  • WeeBee on January 31, 2012, 20:18 GMT

    HeHe! You know ENglish cricketers use GPS to figure out how much they ran or walked on training and also during matches. They wear cameras on helmets while batting, theywatch many videos of their opponents, THEN WHERE IS THE RESULT OF ALL THIS EXPENSES.! in few days they wont be number one , then they would realize that they should go back to drawing board instead of getting into more technology. hee

  • JG2704 on January 31, 2012, 19:06 GMT

    Personally I like the fact that our Lions are touring SL and Bangladesh. The Bangladesh tour was not great results wise but will hopefully be a good learning curve. A few more 3 or 4 day games on these tours wouldn't go a miss either. Also it might be an idea if some of the England players could get to play a month or so of domestic cricket somewhere on the subcontinent

  • JG2704 on January 31, 2012, 18:59 GMT

    @ajmal1988 on (January 31 2012, 01:00 AM GMT) Do you really think that the second innings from England was complacency? Anything but IMO. Obviously we have to give great credit to Ajmal and co for that inns bowling and the 2 in the 1st test but the English batsmen looked scared of playing. I'm now thinking the England batting failure was a mental thing as much as a technical thing

  • JG2704 on January 31, 2012, 18:59 GMT

    @Patchmaster on (January 31 2012, 02:58 AM GMT) - How do we know Gooch failed? He might have come up with a technical masterclass but if our batsmen have a mental block where they get stuck in a rut then how can Gooch be blamed. Besides the guy has always been in the background whether they are beating India at home or losing to Pakistan away.

  • JG2704 on January 31, 2012, 18:58 GMT

    @Junaid Zaidi on (January 31 2012, 03:59 AM GMT) To be fair Pakistan are unproven either way on the faster bouncier pitches. New Zealand are the lowest ranked test team and so I don't think a 1-0 win proves that much. I don't like to say teams can't play here or there etc. Someone else said that about England and Australia and yet Australia beat SL in SL last year and Eng - while doing their best to prove the doubters right still have to play in SL. If they win that series does it disprove the doubters? If English batsmen had done their job properly the current series would be 1-1 with all to play for. The likelihood is that Pak will now win the 3rd as they have the momentum and I feel that England's batsmen's confidence is shot vs this Pak bowling attack

  • JG2704 on January 31, 2012, 18:58 GMT

    @VillageBlacksmith on (January 31 2012, 07:12 AM GMT) - You could have a point here. He has been in superb form for England over the last year or so but I don't recall him singlehandedly steering England away from trouble.

  • JG2704 on January 31, 2012, 18:58 GMT

    @rahulcricket007 on (January 31 2012, 05:27 AM GMT) You are absolutely correct . It's a good job that your team aren't regularly losing by an inns otherwise your comms might look a little silly

  • JG2704 on January 31, 2012, 18:57 GMT

    @Adam_from_Maine on (January 31 2012, 04:09 AM GMT) - You could be right bud but my opinion is that Morgan would be one of my first choices in the OD/T20 arena but one of my last in the test arena. Like Bell in reverse where I'd never pick him to play an ODI or T20 as he doesn't perform. Personally I said 5 batsmen and 5 bowlers and 1 wk before the series started and when the other 5 would be Strauss (capt) ,Cook , Trott , KP , Bell that would mean no place for Morgan or Bopara.

  • spence1324 on January 31, 2012, 16:03 GMT

    @pakfans you seam to have mist my point I am not talking about bowlers,I am talking about batting england are very poor against spin no doubt about that, but pakistan and india are very poor against swing and seam as the 3 sub 100 scores on the last pakistan tour of england showed.@rahulcricket007 but they still lost the series 4-0 go figure!

  • Nutcutlet on January 31, 2012, 15:52 GMT

    @5wombats: Too right! Exclusive club! Spinners with Mystery Balls. Swingers - especially latecomers - also admitted;-). for the benefit of the rest of you, we're considering England's future development of promising bowlers.

  • on January 31, 2012, 15:44 GMT

    Bilgewater - Pakistan have no batting, poor fielding and their bowling is only effective in conditions that suit them. Furthermore, England are being judged after playing very little 1st class cricket in the past 3 months, and having to face a bowler who uses a suspect action to turn the ball away from the batsman. The question so-called experts are not asking is how past teams would have faired under DRS. In particular, Pakistan had a dreadful record against Warne - without DRS. How would the greats of the past, such as Warne, Prasanna, Bedi, Murali Underwood et al fair today, when every second time a batsman is hit on the pad he is given out ? Nevertheless, Pakistan should be congratulated on winning the series.

  • 6pack on January 31, 2012, 14:25 GMT

    Reality check for Englans. But in a way, it proves Australia are the better side - they seem to perform better than any other team whe travelling to the sub-continent.

  • on January 31, 2012, 13:46 GMT

    england dosnt look no 1 team in any department of the game..i think this last two losses are enogh for england to bring them back on earth,they should forget their ranking or previous achievements,play every game with new enegy,enthausiasm and spirit thats the key and i think english players may be better than pak players but its only the attitude,team work,momentum and confidence which is the main reason for pak success.

  • 5wombats on January 31, 2012, 13:11 GMT

    @Nutcutlet. All this talk of spinners producing their mystery balls. Shouldn't this be on a late-night subscription channel?:-)

  • SaluManzoor on January 31, 2012, 11:26 GMT

    As a dual Pak/British National, it pains me when either of my teams are trashed unreasonably. In my view the English side does have the ability to play spin as shown by Trott a few times and by Cook as well who almost got a 100. What both of these batsmen did much more successfully is to move their feet more effectively by either smothering the spin or rocking back and smacking it around. That should give England heart and they should be able to come back. But what has made it much more difficult for England is that, unlike other spinners, Pakistani spinners have the unmatched ability to zip the balls in at a much faster pace. Saeed Ajmal started off as a fast bowler and has abundant zip-ability which traps batsmen and produces wickets. As an aside, Afridi's success is also based on this deadly combo of turn and zip. So I would give Pakistan much more credit and hope both my team raise their game to new heights in the 3rd Test.

  • stormy16 on January 31, 2012, 11:20 GMT

    I think the issue here is Eng reached #1 without being really tested by quality spin and have been found wanting when they were. Nothing different to India as #1 being found wanting in Eng and now Australia. There is no mystery in teams struggling in foreign conditions with the probably exceptions of the Windies and Aussies who dominated the game in different eras'. The problem is accepting the reality and understanding that home and away are two totally different things - as the Eng one day unit found out in India recently. If everyone accepts that and respects your opponents when they tour Eng, there would be no need for this painfull disection of what went wrong. Nothing went wrong - the better team won in favorable conditions. Happens regularly in Eng too!

  • Joninnorwich on January 31, 2012, 11:13 GMT

    Why can't cricket followers and journos the world over accept that what helps make cricket fascinating is the diversity of bowling attacks and batting skills. When you pitch up in England or New Zealand, you expect green wickets, cloud cover and a swinging ball. In Australia you expect hard bouncy tracks encouraging fast bowlers and wrist spinners, and when you go to the sub continent you expect to be confronted with an army of spinners who have learned their trade bowling on dust bowls.

    I expected England to lose to Pakistan. They'll find it tough against Sri Lanka too, even a Sri Lanka without Murali and struggling to find his replacement,; it'll be no picnic. They have just a little hope of success against India, but that is only because of the disarray of the Indian test team right now. But come this summer, they play South Africa in England and my predictiction is that that England will win comfortably.

  • on January 31, 2012, 10:31 GMT

    England need to stop over-analysing and just play cricket. Keep it simple , and focus on the basis. Having said that , I hope I'd love Pakistan to win. It will be a momentus day in our cricket history.

  • on January 31, 2012, 10:15 GMT

    Nice article although nothing new but it is always good to have things pointed out on paper. When such a good player of spin, Ian Bell, seems so clueless about Doosra then it verifies - This is Something Serious!

    One part that I liked is where the cultural shift needed in England regarding Doosra. I think they have the mindset that when an off-spinner bowls a doosra, it can't been allowed either conservatively or doubts about legacy. I believe they need to apply a closer inspection of bowlers bowling doosra in county and work with them on their action if needed regardless of banning them. This will not only produce better spinners but also greater chances for the batsmen to work out the ways to combat it.

    My 2 cents...

  • Asafar on January 31, 2012, 9:58 GMT

    George Dobell has hit the nail on the head when he says that England should stop looking for excuses for their defeats and instead explore for solutions to their problems that led to their defeats.Firstly they should learn to bowl and play doosra and secondly they should be as innovative as the Pakistani players who through their innovations such as reverse swing, banana swing incutters,reverse sweep,doosra and teesra have enriched the game of cricket and made it more thrilling and exciting to watch .When the English players are unable to come out with such innovations in cricket,the others who do are accused of skullduggery

  • Reg_Dyer on January 31, 2012, 9:55 GMT

    Good points, well made but can George (and all Cricinfo writers) please, please,please stop airbrushing history?! It is true that reverse swing was introduced by Pakistan and that now all teams do it. It is not true to say that accusations of 'skulduggery' were a result of jealousy or misunderstanding. It is a plain fact that Wasim, Waqar and others altered the condition of the ball in a way that was illegal then and is illegal now. Just because bowlers can get now the ball to reverse by legal means doesn't mean that Waqar, Wasim etc. can be exonerated. And it means Ajmal can't be exonerated now just because it is Englishmen making the accusation.

  • on January 31, 2012, 9:39 GMT

    No one is making excuses. England play well against Warne, Murali, Kumble, Harbajan etc from about 2004 onwards. But on low slow pitches they suffer. The "press" seems to fail them, they push back onto the back foot when they should stay forward, and the press commits them to cover "a line" early for either off or leg spin. When the bowler keeps it low and can turn it either way, it seems the much vaunted "press" is actually more of a hinderance. They cover the outside of their bat, and the ball moves in..or vice versa. This whole "press" needs to be abandoned against low,slow spin that turns either way. It works great against high bouncy spin where back foot play is more prevalent and the ball turns one way or stays straight (zhooter, arm ball etc) England have been bad in sub con conditions against spin since 84/85 and Gattings fateful visit to see Indira Ghandi.

  • Elliott_Tree on January 31, 2012, 9:18 GMT

    "perhaps [turning pitches in County cricket], should be encouraged?" - definitely. Certainly not censured as they are at present.

  • bestbuddy on January 31, 2012, 9:15 GMT

    I wouldnt read too much into Chopra's double century - the opposition scored three quick hundreds in reply, a couple from players who were terribly out of form a few weeks ago in SA

  • on January 31, 2012, 7:56 GMT

    No excuse 145 runs for The World No 1 Test side must be achived even on th burning Coal and resulted England managed half of the Target

  • Nutcutlet on January 31, 2012, 7:48 GMT

    @spence1324: That may be the case as it is now, but it would be very wrong for England not to develop batsmen who, in time, can play spin successfully. This can be achieved only by exposure of young Eng. bats to spin bowlers from the relevant countries playing in their home conditions. Already there are moves underway to get English youngsters involved in the Sri Lankan domestic programme: the sanest move I have heard in a long time. I would imagine that there may well be moves to make this a mutual arrangement. India is in denial of its inability to compete outside their own back-yards - and no one can tell them what might be good for them, so arrogant has the BCCI become - but the other sub-continental nations are keen to improve in seamer-friendly conditions. What is it in 'Jerusalem'? I will not cease from mental fight... Quite right! We should not rest until we can play Asian spinners as if they were county trundlers! Then England has to produce spinners with mystery balls!

  • VillageBlacksmith on January 31, 2012, 7:12 GMT

    i cannot understand all the fuss about how good some people think Bell is, when it matters he never delivers, a perfect case in point being his entrance and swift exit coming in at 3 in the last innings, the batting position he covets!! Trott is light years ahead of Bell in presence and guts and is the man for a crisis, something Bell never has been or ever will be. His non-ability to score a solus ton or to bat with the tail shows he is mentally fragile. 'Sublime' 30s are his stock in trade, and pointless tons v Bangladesh when it doesn't matter.

  • on January 31, 2012, 6:18 GMT

    Pakistan can play anywhere in the world and spin the ball anywhere. as proved in the past.. After all Pakistan is better than india atleast.

  • Cric-enthusiast on January 31, 2012, 6:14 GMT

    Mr. Dobell, When you qualify the phrase "Pakistan are a better side" with "in these conditions at least", I don't remember you or anyone else from the English media doing the same when Pakistan lost to England in England. Be consistent and say that England were a better side than Pakistan, in those conditions at least. Grow up, man!

  • satish619chandar on January 31, 2012, 5:59 GMT

    @spence1324 : Ignorance to spin is the cause for failure.. Still we have 4 nations among he 9 who play spin better and have better spinners.. WI is a neutral venue for even home team.. Eng,SA,Aus and NZ produce fast bowling tracks while 4 subcontinent produces spinning tracks.. We are yet to see good game by green track nations in spin track.. As you said, spin for England is same as swing and seam for Ind/Pak.. Pakistan is better than India as they have better seam attack.. Batting wise, India were better but not as of now after 8-0 where batting failure was very bad..

  • on January 31, 2012, 5:27 GMT

    This writer looks to be a realistic person and does not beat about the bush.This will help him earn recognision on the international platform more easily.

  • rahulcricket007 on January 31, 2012, 5:27 GMT

    @SPENCE1234 . BUT INDIA WAS NOT BOWLED OUT FOR 72 RUNS AGINST SEAM & SWING IN ENGLAND TOUR .OKKKK

  • on January 31, 2012, 5:27 GMT

    This writer looks to be a realistic person and does not beat about the bush.This will help him earn recognision on the international platform more easily.

  • Michi on January 31, 2012, 4:54 GMT

    @spence1234. Be that as it may, Pakistan was undefeated on English tours from 1987-2000! On their last tour, before the Lord's debacle they were down 2-1, also drew a two test rubber against Australia in English conditions! English are some of the worst players of spin! Australians have learnt to adapt!

  • macadamnut on January 31, 2012, 4:09 GMT

    England is a fickle master; but Ireland is a forgiving mistress. I for one would welcome the ginger renegade Eoin Morgan back into the warm bosom of the Motherland. But will he be ready for test cricket by 2020?

  • satish619chandar on January 31, 2012, 4:02 GMT

    Expected England to struggle but not Bell and Morgan.. They are by far the best players of spin.. Felt a bit odd to see them struggling against quality spin.. But Cook and Trott did show lots of application.. Strauss and KP were the ones who disappointed the most as they never were even a bit comfortable against spinners.. England ll wish for massive turnaround and fortune changes when they tour subcontinent..

  • on January 31, 2012, 3:59 GMT

    Seriously... I don't understand why Pakistan also place in the same basket as BD, SL and India. I think Pak have an excellent record on slow, turning Asian pitches but their record is not that bad even on bouncy tracks. Pak won a series in NZ recently, had 1:1 series draw against Aussies in 2010. Lost to England by 3:1, during that infamous series but atleast did better than a white-wash. Even in that series twice they were in a position to win another match, they put up a great fight. They lost to South Africa but that was 2:1, with close deciding game. I mean to say that among Asian teams Pak has the best record in all tracks. Pak, lost to Australia the Sydney test but atleast Aus had to play out of their skin to win not like Jndia who was hammered away. Tell me when was the last time anyone scored 600+ runs against us? England has a weakness on slow turning tracks but that should not be an excuse. We never made excuse after loosing to England in England.

  • on January 31, 2012, 3:30 GMT

    the stuff about the two W,s and ajmal... couldnt be more precise and pinpoint ! morgan shud stay anyhow in the team...

  • Patchmaster on January 31, 2012, 2:58 GMT

    I would like to see Graham Gooch answer questions from the media - but he always seems to be unaccountable for the fact that as batting coach, he has failed time and time again against spin. The ECB have invested hundreds of thousands of pounds in spin bowling machines and himself as batting coach, but nothing, and I mean nothing has changed the way the team play spin - so why is it that he remains unavailable for comment. I think it's a total scam, and shameful on behalf of the Eng management to keep thinking Gooch is the man for the job when it comes to spin. Clearly, he ain't.

  • Dravid_Pujara_Gravitas on January 31, 2012, 2:14 GMT

    Good article George. You at last gave Pakistan its due and questioned the skill levels of England. And I'm mighty impressed with ECB that they have sent their youngsters to get beaten, battered, bruised but come out victors on the spinning tracks of Asia. Absolutely great move by ECB and I would like to humbly apologise to ECB for criticising them without fully knowing their vision for the future. But George, what would the ECB want to do with the present talented bunch of Trott, KP and Bell? Shouldn't they too be provided with the right playing conditions so that they can excell in Asia? Talents like Bell, KP and Trott should be right up there with Dravid and Kallis in negotiating spin. But why are they faltering? The plans for the present don't seem to be in place (ditto with BCCI). I hope BCCI also has a vision for the future of our cricket and prepares grassbowls in our country so that our youngsters can practice on them. Or send them more often to England, Australia, SA and NZ.

  • ajmal1988 on January 31, 2012, 1:00 GMT

    Spence1324 : it is a need for it because England wants to be the best in the world. If you wanna be the best in the world, then you need to win in these conditions. Graeme Swann and others in the media has taken it for granted that they are the best after gaining the ashes. And now they have been bamboozled! just have a look at the Switch hit from before the series began. No one were predicting such batting collapses against spin. In fact, the batting wasn't even mentioned. In switch hit they though that the difficult part would be to get 20 wickets. But as we have all seen, the difficulty was to score 145 runs. Stuart Broad said that their batting line up could chase 250..and azhar ali said that 150 would be enough. So english media is annoyed, no one understands what happened, even Sir Geoffrey Boycott put his 3 houses on the english team. That's why such articles are being written, coz they really don't know what just happened to them, they got ajmalled,rehmanned,hafeezed hahaha!

  • on January 31, 2012, 0:35 GMT

    People seem to forget that pakistan won a test in england in swinging, seaming conditions (in a live series i might add) with a batting line up shorn of many of its better players. It could have been even better without the trott/broad partnership during the now infamous test. India in england and now England in the uae on the other hand had/have stable, full strength teams have been walloped and have no excuses. England's loss is even more disturbing as they have been poor on pitches that havent overly spun. jimmy is a one trick pony, swann has lost it and the batsmen collectively have shown immaturity. Indian and sri lankan pitches will spin more and but they do not have a spin bowling attack to rival pakistan, which may offer england some hope.

  • Nerk on January 30, 2012, 23:50 GMT

    The mystery of the doosra continues. If one looked at the dismissals in the last test, they were mostly to ordinary, well bowled, conventional offspin, not some mystery ball.

  • ElPhenomeno on January 30, 2012, 23:14 GMT

    In a way its admirable that english are willing to recognize the shortcomings in their game and are planning to address them as this article states. Obviously it will take time before they see the good results coming from it. India on the other hand simply wants to prepare more 'rank turners' on their home with their we'll-see-you-when-you-visit-us attitude. While I see nothing wrong with preparing a pitch that suits you (everyone does it), I, however, see no planning or even an attempt to address the problems indians face when playing on bouncier seaming pitches. I guess what I am trying to say, in the near future, england and australia are far more likely to win in India than the other way around. But this article is not about india so I digress. Kudos to english for willing to learn what doesn't come natural to them.

  • on January 30, 2012, 23:13 GMT

    @spence 1234, Pakistan have been the best exponents of Swing and seam after Australia and West Indies. So I dunno what you mean there. We continually bowled the English Batsmen out for low scores in 2010. Shame we didn't take the experienced batters like Younis and Yousuf who average above 60 in Englans

  • cricketmad on January 30, 2012, 22:30 GMT

    HI George, Nice article and honest one too. Last summer in England, India was thrashed convincingly. England were praised to the roofs and at no time did anyone say "England are the better side, in these conditions atleast" Why couldnt you bring yourself to just say-" Pakistan are the better side in this series" Lets measure England by the same yardstick that was used to measure India last summer. i.e only the present form matters and precious triumphs count for nothing.

  • on January 30, 2012, 22:15 GMT

    Well put, George! Great article!

  • Afkham on January 30, 2012, 21:56 GMT

    Just to answer Mr Spence that Pakistan was and still the best as far as swing bowling is concerned, they are the inventors of reverse swing and Pakistan has produced 150 plus speed fast bowlers more than any country in the world and don,t forget the fastest ever ball in the history of mankind is by Pakistani Shoaib Akhtar . yes your opinion about India is 110 % correct

  • hhillbumper on January 30, 2012, 21:14 GMT

    time to lesrn to bat against spin which will not be a bad lesson to learn.pakistan have a good bowling attack and they know how to use their pitches well.Time for England to learn their lessons.Bit of an irony when Flower was a world class batsman to spin as was Gooch and Mushy knows more about spin than most.It must be a mental issue as they can bat against most attacks so why so much issue with this one.It is a very good attack but why did they not knock them off their length

  • JG2704 on January 30, 2012, 20:55 GMT

    Why does Monty need to apologise? Maybe all 4 bowlers should apologise for making the inept England batting look even worse by their fine display.

  • SanjivAwesome on January 30, 2012, 20:01 GMT

    England are and will always remain incapable of playing spin well. More than 100 years of history proves this.

  • on January 30, 2012, 19:47 GMT

    I think you have made a pretty unbiased assessment of the Doosra and the Reverse Swing Phenomenon. Also, Adnan Hasan Syed..said it all lol!

  • on January 30, 2012, 19:26 GMT

    Why we all forget cricket is a game ? a team comes from miles away how can dominate the team virtualy lives there .my suggestion for eng and thier media is to enjoy the game rathar than getting emberrased .

  • on January 30, 2012, 19:25 GMT

    @spence1324 "england and spin is what pakistan and india are to swing and seam completely rubbish!" Amusing... but you forget that Pakistan are and have been for decades the mcdaddies of seam and swing. Even without a retired Akhtar and the two that must not be named, we have enough firepower in reserve to put out international quality seamers. Our spinners though, are just a little better - especially in these conditions.

  • on January 30, 2012, 19:20 GMT

    Very well written piece again, Mr Dobell. I must say I look forward to reading your articles the most on this tour :)

  • on January 30, 2012, 19:00 GMT

    The fact is that ENGLISH people just cannot see the success of others against them. George Dobell mentioned in this article about Wasim & Waqar, these guys used to bowl reverse swing & ENG didn't even know how to ball these deliveries then ENG people & officials said it was something illegal and should be banned, however when they (ENG) have known the tricks and techniques to ball reverse swing now it has been a legitimate delivery in their eyes. So the point is pretty clear, ENG don't have that talent what other nations especially PAKISTAN have.

  • on January 30, 2012, 19:00 GMT

    Excellent analysis George. Despite what some Pak fans have been saying in the comment spaces, your articles have been a welcome, rational, departure from post defeat analyses by English commentators/fans in the past. You take nothing away from Pakistan's performance (or that of England's bowlers), nor make sensational predictions of England's demise, nor conjure up pitch/condition issues, or bowling action conspiracies. England have worked hard tor rise to No 1 and deserve to be recognized as much (or as little, depending on how much stock one puts in rankings) as any other team. I do think that England's batting and bowling do not have the hall of famers that would make it into a dynasty like the 70s/80s Windies or the 1995-2010 Aussies. You need a Hadlee/Lillee/Botham/Wasim/ Richards/Greenidge, or three to get there. Swann, Broad, Anderson, Pietersen, Cook are not there yet.

    Speaking of not there yet - Pak pace attack runs very very thin and will until Aamer returns.

  • barootaboy on January 30, 2012, 18:59 GMT

    Mark my words by the end of 2013 England will rise against spin. George is spot on. However, they need to incorporate spin in county cricket a bit more and more quickly than they are currently. Pakistan is the hardest test. India and Sl will be easier...

  • Alphabaig on January 30, 2012, 18:55 GMT

    Those who are crying about the doosra fail to understand that it can be bowled with a straight arm, as first shown by Saqlain Mushtaq. They are only discouraging their own bowlers who in the future may be able to bowl it without bending their arm.

  • KarachiKid on January 30, 2012, 18:46 GMT

    Incredibly brilliant piece again. I have started loving George Dobell's writings. Is he someone new to cricinfo or I have not been reading carefully ?

  • East-End on January 30, 2012, 18:15 GMT

    Yeah right spence, many Pakistani players played county cricket in uk from 70's to date therefore had exposure to seam bowlers in uk conditions, Imran, Wasim etc etc were great fast bowlers, so your comment seems a bit light

  • FarooqAltaf on January 30, 2012, 18:00 GMT

    Congratulation for such an Excellent Article

  • Long-Leg on January 30, 2012, 17:13 GMT

    A very fair assessment of England's problems George and some astute comments about the English attitude to spin. There is a culture in English cricket which admires the "honest" endeavour of the fast bowler, but which regards the spinner as a dishonest trickster. It is an attitude which needs to be continually challenged. Good to see England's youngsters doing well in Sri-Lanka at the moment.

  • on January 30, 2012, 17:09 GMT

    This time around, they were beaten by a left-arm half-sleeved bowler. End of excuses!

  • spence1324 on January 30, 2012, 17:08 GMT

    To be honest there is no need for a article because england and spin is what pakistan and india are to swing and seam completely rubbish!

  • on January 30, 2012, 16:49 GMT

    ECB making excuses but why the author himself?

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  • on January 30, 2012, 16:49 GMT

    ECB making excuses but why the author himself?

  • spence1324 on January 30, 2012, 17:08 GMT

    To be honest there is no need for a article because england and spin is what pakistan and india are to swing and seam completely rubbish!

  • on January 30, 2012, 17:09 GMT

    This time around, they were beaten by a left-arm half-sleeved bowler. End of excuses!

  • Long-Leg on January 30, 2012, 17:13 GMT

    A very fair assessment of England's problems George and some astute comments about the English attitude to spin. There is a culture in English cricket which admires the "honest" endeavour of the fast bowler, but which regards the spinner as a dishonest trickster. It is an attitude which needs to be continually challenged. Good to see England's youngsters doing well in Sri-Lanka at the moment.

  • FarooqAltaf on January 30, 2012, 18:00 GMT

    Congratulation for such an Excellent Article

  • East-End on January 30, 2012, 18:15 GMT

    Yeah right spence, many Pakistani players played county cricket in uk from 70's to date therefore had exposure to seam bowlers in uk conditions, Imran, Wasim etc etc were great fast bowlers, so your comment seems a bit light

  • KarachiKid on January 30, 2012, 18:46 GMT

    Incredibly brilliant piece again. I have started loving George Dobell's writings. Is he someone new to cricinfo or I have not been reading carefully ?

  • Alphabaig on January 30, 2012, 18:55 GMT

    Those who are crying about the doosra fail to understand that it can be bowled with a straight arm, as first shown by Saqlain Mushtaq. They are only discouraging their own bowlers who in the future may be able to bowl it without bending their arm.

  • barootaboy on January 30, 2012, 18:59 GMT

    Mark my words by the end of 2013 England will rise against spin. George is spot on. However, they need to incorporate spin in county cricket a bit more and more quickly than they are currently. Pakistan is the hardest test. India and Sl will be easier...

  • on January 30, 2012, 19:00 GMT

    Excellent analysis George. Despite what some Pak fans have been saying in the comment spaces, your articles have been a welcome, rational, departure from post defeat analyses by English commentators/fans in the past. You take nothing away from Pakistan's performance (or that of England's bowlers), nor make sensational predictions of England's demise, nor conjure up pitch/condition issues, or bowling action conspiracies. England have worked hard tor rise to No 1 and deserve to be recognized as much (or as little, depending on how much stock one puts in rankings) as any other team. I do think that England's batting and bowling do not have the hall of famers that would make it into a dynasty like the 70s/80s Windies or the 1995-2010 Aussies. You need a Hadlee/Lillee/Botham/Wasim/ Richards/Greenidge, or three to get there. Swann, Broad, Anderson, Pietersen, Cook are not there yet.

    Speaking of not there yet - Pak pace attack runs very very thin and will until Aamer returns.