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Pakistan's finest hour

The whitewash of England is surely their greatest achievement in Test cricket to date

Saad Shafqat

February 8, 2012

Comments: 69 | Text size: A | A

Abdur Rehman picked up another five-for, Pakistan v England, 3rd Test, Dubai, 2nd day, February 4, 2012
Pakistan may have played away from home in recent times, but for all intents and purposes it has been a boon, not a drawback © Associated Press
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You can now include 2012 alongside the years 2009 and 1992 in Pakistan's cricket history. Few would dispute that a 3-0 whitewash over the world's best team represents their highest feat in Test cricket to date, just as the 2009 world championship win was the height of Pakistan's Twenty20 success, and the 1992 World Cup the pinnacle of their ODI success.

Prior to this triumph, Pakistan's greatest Test accomplishments were measured in individual matches, such as The Oval 1954, Sydney 1977, or Georgetown 1988 - each a unique and emphatic memory, but each also part of a drawn series. Even the landmark series wins in India and England in 1987, both inaugural and historic, came through single wins, in Bangalore and Headingley. Overpowering a premier and glittering outfit like England by three straight wins to none in the Middle East now surpasses all that has come before it.

Anyone predicting a 3-0 scoreline favoring Pakistan at the start of this rubber would have been laughed off. England had not lost a series in three years, and Pakistan - though on the upswing - were untested against elite teams. England were coming with method and momentum, a seam attack overflowing with riches, a world-class offspinner who had Pakistan's number, and three batsmen in the Test top ten, with a fourth ranked 11th. They were led by a captain with an outsized reputation and an imposing record. And they had a coach whose tenacity had taken them to the top of the world.

Pakistan entered the contest as a group of nomads forced to make the most of the cards they had been dealt. They came from a country described as the rogue nation of world cricket, and had ex-colleagues who were in prison. Their cricketing tradition was founded on instinct rather than method, and their administration was based - to put it mildly - on madness. They were led by a man who became captain by accident, and guided by a coach who was interim. Their batting was shaky, their fielding and wicketkeeping erratic. The only better-ranked team they had defeated was Sri Lanka, and that by 1-0, with two draws. The bowling too was on limited foundations, with only one reputed seamer, Umar Gul, and only one spinner who was a proven Test match-winner, Saeed Ajmal.

What truly distinguishes this series win for Pakistan is not so much the quality of the adversary or the crushing margin but the manner. Despite frequent setbacks they were relentless and never gave up. They just kept fighting. This was Misbah's creed: even if you have to die, it must be with sword in hand. Wickets were thrown away, crucial catches dropped, and numerous DRS reviews wasted. Yet whenever it mattered, someone took the initiative and stepped up to perform. In the first Test it was Gul, who ran through the top order in England's second innings and prevented them from setting Pakistan a serious target. In the second, it was the middle-order pair of Azhar Ali and Asad Shafiq, who arrested a collapse and set England a fighting total. And in the third Test the magnificent combination of Younis Khan and Azhar Ali took the match away when England had started to sniff a win.

 
 
What truly distinguishes this series win for Pakistan is not so much the quality of the adversary or the crushing margin but the manner. Despite frequent setbacks they were relentless and never gave up
 

Most of all, of course, it was the spinners, against whose insistent penetration England's best defenses came undone. To paraphrase Michael Atherton, it was not so much the issue of playing spin but the excellent nature of Pakistan's spin bowlers. Both Ajmal (who took 24 wickets at 14.70) and Abdur Rehman (who took 19 at 16.73) have emerged from this series with reputations both heroic and fearsome. With their mirror-image chemistry, and working in tandem, they proved Pakistan's deadliest weapon. Ajmal turned it both ways and was often unreadable, while Rehman was lethal coming out of the rough. They were exceptional in softening prey for each other. As a friend of mine recently quipped, Ajmal's teesra was finally revealed, and it turned out to be Abdur Rehman.

In all the elation and celebration, there has also been something of an anti-climax for the fans because the rankings have not budged. Pakistan are still ranked fifth and England are still first, prompting the question from exasperated supporters: what more does one need to do? In fact, the ratings have moved; it is just that the system has a built-in inertia that resists rapid changes and benefits the leader. It also doesn't help that technically Pakistan played this series at home, where victory carries less weight. Still, Pakistan (who had 99 points before the series and are now at 108) are within touching distance of both fourth-ranked Australia and third-ranked India (each with 111), while England will be toppled from No. 1 if South Africa beat New Zealand 3-0 in their upcoming series. Nonplussed Pakistani fans should appreciate that the same system will work in their favour if and when their team claws its way to the summit.

There is also some nervousness at what appears to be the imminent replacement of Mohsin Khan as head coach. Ultimately the roots of Pakistan's astonishing revival must be traced to brilliant and effective leadership, for which captain Misbah-ul-Haq deserves the lion's share of the credit, with Mohsin a clear second. The PCB's search for a new coach has led them to Australian Dav Whatmore, but the tedious process has been badly overtaken by the circumstances of the whitewash. With contracts inked, those hoping for Whatmore to simply disappear are bound to be disappointed. It is now up to PCB chief Zaka Ashraf to come up with a clever formula that will retain Mohsin in some sort of key role within the set-up.

Much has been made of Pakistan not being able to play at home, but the record suggests that, if anything, it has been something of an advantage. This is not to say that neutral venues are preferred (they most definitely are not), but - at least for Pakistan - they are not as much of a liability as they might appear to be for other teams. Being away from home has probably helped the players bond together, and it has certainly minimised interference from politicians, and other bigwigs, who come out of the woodwork and insist on throwing their weight around when the team plays in Pakistan.

Perhaps the most compelling factor is that the UAE destinations feel very much like an extension of the subcontinent. At the same time, the arrangements and playing facilities are superior, and there are sufficient numbers of Pakistani expatriates who can attend and enjoy matches. Granted that attendance for the Test matches was thin more or less throughout the series, but it would not have been much different in Karachi or Lahore. In any case there are certain to be capacity crowds for the ODIs and T20s, as there would have been in Pakistan. It may be worth Pakistan cricket adopting the UAE as a permanent second home, enough to include a match or two there even after tours to Pakistan are restored.

Saad Shafqat is a writer based in Karachi

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© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by dravid_rules on (February 11, 2012, 19:17 GMT)

On the whole a great article.

The only irritant is that the author has not checked the facts about the ranking system. Currently, no weightage is given to home vs away series. The reason Pak did not move ahead in the rankings is that they were so far behind. The reason that they may do so in VERY, VERY short order (and 2 series is that) is because they have performed phenomenally well in this series.

BTW, the fact that there is no weightage for home vs away is an irritant for me. I feel that weightage should be given. But currently, it is NOT.

Posted by harshthakor on (February 11, 2012, 11:04 GMT)

To me this was a great achievement but it was achieved in conditions similar to those in Pakistan.Pakistan's true test would be on true overseas conditions like in Australia and England.Pakistan's greatest test performances ever were in West Indies in 1988, and in Australia in 1976-77.In 1988 they came within the skin of their teeth in becoming the first team to defeat the mighty West Indians on their home soil for 15 years but dubious umpiring decisions robbed them of that distinction in a drawn rubber.Neverthless Pakistan became the 1st team to draw a series in West Indies for 14 years.In 1976-77 Pakistan drew a rubber in Australia when Australia were the kings of test cricket and had vanquished West Indies 5-1 the previous season in 1975-76. The win in Sydney was simply unforgettable.

Neverthless Pakistan beat the strongest English team for around 4 decades and deserve to be complemented .

Posted by   on (February 11, 2012, 8:00 GMT)

really they are a joy to watch as they were some 10 years ago. and the thing about beating a team cant play spin well. 6 months ago they were up against india and india lost the series 4-0. well that might satisfy your question. also pakistan have not lost a series in these 18 months and that too on neutral venues unlike india....they only win in India

Posted by   on (February 10, 2012, 3:24 GMT)

I'm from India, and it embarrasses and amuses me at the same time to see the variety of excuses to NOT give credit where it's due. ENG might not have been the best players of spin around, they've never been - but they have steadily risen through the ranks to sit atop the chart. It's the same route which IND took before them. Not the kind of outright, beat allcomers, beat all conditions kind of superiority like AUS or WI teams of past, but scrap and be better than the rest. And in Bell, Cook, Peitersen and Trott they did have enough players who handle spin well. PAK has had enough troubles on and off field in recent times which'd have broken a lesser team. They rose above it, thanks to a steady captain and a team which relies on team spirit, than individual talent like those of past. They thoroughly outplayed ENG, and Ajmal and Rehman are definitely two of the best spinners going around today. Brooks no debate, no argument, not even clearing your throat!

Posted by Moutarde on (February 10, 2012, 1:45 GMT)

Hollow, meaningless victory.

Posted by   on (February 9, 2012, 15:19 GMT)

For me; Taufeeq Umar does not deserve a place in team. He must be replaced by Fawad Alam. Who is a genuine Test Opener!

Posted by   on (February 9, 2012, 14:57 GMT)

GReat article...................

Posted by Gupta.Ankur on (February 9, 2012, 13:11 GMT)

If beating the worst players of spin is that much significant, then pakistan has set very low standards for themselves.

Also, they have been one of the worst tourist from sub-continent, with India being the only team that has done well consistently over last 10 years.

Posted by IRPK on (February 9, 2012, 8:55 GMT)

Great results, though Pakistan's batting is still a big worry. There is a big question mark on Toufeeq Umar's ability to play spin. It might pay to promote Asad Shafiq to open the innings with Hafeez. He is better suited at the top with his solid defense. Umar Akmal should bat at number 6. Nonetheless, great team effort, great outcome. Let's savour the moment.

Posted by Mehboob_hoo on (February 9, 2012, 8:28 GMT)

Great article posted by Sir Saad Shafqat, but i think that year 2011 should also be mentioned as top ranked in pakistani cricket.i like the statement ( if you have to die, it must be with sword in hand) very much. Weldone Team pakistan,many many congrts to Pakistani nation, Indeed their best performance in Test history in the said conditions.Good Luck Pakistan.

Posted by dmqi on (February 9, 2012, 4:28 GMT)

INDIAN AND PAKISTANI FANS, YOU BOTH SHOULD PRESS FOR A 3 TEST SERIES AT DUBAI-SARJAH. THAT WILL SOLVE THE QUESTION WHO IS BETTER. WHY IS INDIA NOT INTERESTED? THEY ARE EQALLY GOOD THERE AND TENDULKAR CAN HAVE HIS 100TH CENTURY, AT THE NEUTRAL VENUE, BETTER THAN HOME GROUND.

Posted by Meety on (February 9, 2012, 1:20 GMT)

Imagine how good Pakistan would be if they could field as well as say Sri Lanka!!! I think that should be a major focus, try & be the best fielding side out of Asia, currently they are the best bowling unit. Whilst recent stats suggest they are doing pretty well with their batting (particularly against India's results), but the reality is, they don't have to be the best batting side, just be good enough to set a score decent enough for the bowlers to defend.

Posted by Zahidsaltin on (February 9, 2012, 0:38 GMT)

Dear Saad, I think you forgot to name 1982 whitewash of Kim Hughes, Border, Marsh and Thomsen's Australia, among the great successes

Posted by Nerk on (February 8, 2012, 23:36 GMT)

You're a fool if you measure a teams success by rankings! At the moment there seems to be no number one team in the world. England have not been too good in spinning conditions. India are not too good anywhere that is not India, saving one decent performance in Sth. Africa. Sth. Africa are without doubt the best team on paper, but they constantly fail to win the series they should win, preferring to draw them. Australia has a good young crop, but are also inconsistent, even during the Indian series the Australian batting collapsed far too many times, and those collapses cost them against NZ and SA. Add to this mix Pakistan, who are one of the best teams in the world when switched on. If they could learn to play like this in every series, die before losing, they could easily reach number one without breaking sweat. The Windies must also be mentioned, as should NZ, who both have the ability to beat the top teams. All this adds up to an exciting time for world cricket, where anyone canwin

Posted by cric.info. on (February 8, 2012, 19:16 GMT)

"""Ajmal's teesra was finally revealed, and it turned out to be Abdur Rehman. """. Fantasy. very fine article.

Posted by Vindaliew on (February 8, 2012, 18:03 GMT)

1992 was also when Waqar and Wasim reverse-swung Pakistan to a 2-1 victory in a 5-test series. 2 high-scoring draws, 2 low-scoring tense finishes, and the final match was an anti-climatic one-sided affair which saw Waqar and Wasim blow England away. I think it's time Pakistan returned to 5-test series with England, although I wonder how many lbws will that produce under DRS!

Posted by nomiravian on (February 8, 2012, 16:10 GMT)

Let me remind u Mr.tajjuk,pak has beaten aus in aus and eng in eng by 3-1 which indian team has not done yet....and d rest of matches were not very far away from winning for pak.....our series in eng and aus waz not like urs tajjuk where u have suffered 4m whitewashes.....so throw dust 4m ur shoulders first,then come to our team and then u will again be jealous to see d difference in results....cricinfo plz publish

Posted by   on (February 8, 2012, 16:08 GMT)

i dont get it Pakistans record away frm home is the best of all the asian teams Pakistan has the best W/L ratio away from home ... Australia 1.79 W/L ratio England 1.23 Pakistan 1.15 South Africa 1.01 West Indies 0.97 SriLanka 0.82 India 0.76 so what does this tell you ? ....

Posted by mk49_van on (February 8, 2012, 16:06 GMT)

Well done Pakistan! But surely a 3-0 win *in* England under their conditions would be needed to qualify as a 'greatest' triumph, no?

Posted by saintsinister on (February 8, 2012, 15:28 GMT)

CricIndia208.. Atleast watever things maybe, we did draw 1-1 with australia in tests in UK.. and also won 1 out of four test in UK against England, with the fourth being very close.. We didn't just roll over like the last 8 tests u've had.. First look inside your own collar before sayin stuff about people.. Go and watch ur IPL , England will beat India in India this coming series..Also on a sidenote maybe you should ask Anil Kumble to come back, the one genuine PACEMAN u ever had :D

Posted by saintsinister on (February 8, 2012, 15:22 GMT)

So tajjuk... England got out with their better lineup because of being out of form and pakistan got out to brilliant bowling.. We just whitewashed the World # 1 team, we have enough reason to get carried away after a turmoil filled year before the last.. Lose your Broad and Anderson and then we will see where England wud be.. We did it without our main Bowlers.. Came back strong after being in disaster.. First you wudnt be able to do that n if by chance you did then you have the full right to get carried away.. 3-0 is 3-0.. # 1 team against # 6.. Try to think a little, it might just help you later on..

Posted by   on (February 8, 2012, 14:44 GMT)

As always Mr SS has covered all areas. Good work by one who cares for Pak cricket and remain positive in his writings. Keep up the good work.

Posted by imrankhan76uk on (February 8, 2012, 14:20 GMT)

@Tajjuk....I don't understand why people do not remember PAK v AUS test series in England.... which was 1-1.....then England V Pakistan in England which was 3-1 end result but Pakistan was not very far from winning the final Test when all that stupid no-ball incident started....

Posted by imrankhan76uk on (February 8, 2012, 14:02 GMT)

Congrats to Pakistan...Super performance and job well done... England weren't at their best or perhaps Pakistan didn't let them get comfy..... I still think current England squad is one of the best and I look forward to their next series to see if they can crack spin code.....best wishes for Cricket... Love Pakistan

Posted by tajjuk on (February 8, 2012, 13:36 GMT)

Love how the Pakistans fans have got carried away. Please win some games outside of subconinental conditions then we'll see how good a side you are.

Simply England lost the series because their entire top 6 of batsmen were woefully out of form. Take nothing away from the Pakistan bowlers who bowled brilliantly but the England batsmen, Prior aside either gave their wickets away with awful shot selection or just looked simply inept.

There was not foot movement, players were lunging for balls that weren't there, the approach was also very negative. No reason for England to panic though, Strauss, Morgan and Pietersen will all be sweating for their places, but the Nelgnad bowling line up looked excellent, Anderson and Broad were excellent in unhelpful conditions to seam bowling, Swann was steady and Panesar returned brilliantly. The bowlers certainly didn't deserve to loose the series 3-0 and the England batsmen seriously let them down.

Posted by mrhamilton on (February 8, 2012, 13:03 GMT)

ASIF despite being technically, skill wise and average wise Pakistans best bowler and a man any team in teh world would accept on skill, was a lost cause from the very beggining...a lost cause.. but it is AMIR who if he can repent his shameless seduction by the bright lights and get his ban reduced would be a terrific addition to this pakistan team. Wahab riaz is fast but lacks consistency and diversity

Posted by mrhamilton on (February 8, 2012, 12:58 GMT)

muhammed mudassar rana u are right pakistan r a seamer short...misbah has quite rightly decided to go wth 6 batsmen and 4 bowlers, wheras in the past we had an imran khan or wasim akram as all rounder at present we have no one of that ilk. Hafeez is a v useful spinner but sadly it was the banned Amir who looked to be developing into a very good all rounder and with him in side we could have gone with 5 batsmen and an allrounder. But like i say MIsbah is a terrific captain and mohsin a great selector and coach I cant see for the foreseeable future any of these 6 bastmen being dropped after what they did in last year, hafeez, taufeeq, azar and asad deserve all the praise and adnan akmal also has made up for his brother kamrans shameful wicket keeping

Posted by MrBrightside92 on (February 8, 2012, 12:53 GMT)

It's usual for these articles to quote the worst soundbites said of the underdogs (the winners) and the best soundbites said of the favourites (the losers) as an example England's shocking record in Asian conditions since 2001 is not mentioned. Taking nothing away from a superb comprehensive performance by Pakistan who's fans really have seen some lows. What impressed me was their togetherness, I thought if England could get on top they would wilt but they seemed to come back stronger. Younus's innings was the highlight for me, the middle order records of each team were the defining factor. Good luck Pakistan in your test future! One point about the rankings, it doesn't help the leader as they gain little (if they win) and lose heavily (if they lose) against lower ranked opponents. If Eng beat Pakistan 2-1 in the T20 matches (a big IF involving an excellent performance) they would LOSE a ranking point.

Posted by mrhamilton on (February 8, 2012, 12:46 GMT)

SAAD SHAFQAT you should add the year 2011 first to 1992 and 2009 as Pakistan only lost 1 match in 31 games in that year.

Posted by LillianThomson on (February 8, 2012, 12:32 GMT)

Pakistan's greatest ever achievement was drawing 1-1 with the West Indies in the Caribbean in 1987-88. They were away from home and neutral observers unanimously agree that only hometown umpiring changed a 2-0 Pakistan series victory into a 1-1 drawn series in the final sessions of play. It was an achievement comparable to if they had drawn the 98-99 series in Australia. England are number one according to the ratings, but in reality they Pakistan, South Africa and Australia are currently all of similar standards.

Posted by GAME-IS-ON on (February 8, 2012, 12:10 GMT)

Congratulation to all Pakistanis. Although we have win the series but I still feel that our bating line is still weak specially in test matches. We need more batsman who had proper technic and temprament in those kinds of games. . I know there are lots of talent in shape of Azhar,Asad,Ummar but why our selectors are ignoring Muhammad Yousaf? I can understand he is 37 year old but if he is still fit he could be useful for Pakistan at least for another 2 years and juniors players can learn a lot while playing with him.

Posted by   on (February 8, 2012, 11:43 GMT)

Ajmal's teesra was finally revealed, and it turned out to be Abdur Rehman...i love it :)

Posted by legsidewide on (February 8, 2012, 10:18 GMT)

@Talha Simjee The test series is over! Or are you thinking about the ODIs? @gilbert4: Heartily agree, quality of the journalism covering the series thus far as been very poor, Saad Shafqat and Kamran Abbasi are the only ones to have provided some entertaining and honest insight. @sawifan I'm sure your words are much appreciated by Pakistan fans, coming from a supporter of a team that is similarly playing exciting and high-quality cricket. I guess it's natural to gain mutual appreciation between Australia and Pakistan at this time, unlike from @CricIndia208, who doesn't appear to have been paying attention to much international cricket of late, results or performances. Best focus on IPL games, it's the only refuge for disillusioned Indian cricket fans now.

Posted by   on (February 8, 2012, 10:18 GMT)

Brilliant Article No Doubt This is the best Momment in Test Cricket For Pakistan, Well Done Misbah Well Done Mohsin and All the team Now its Time For The One Dayers :D

Posted by Marktc on (February 8, 2012, 10:04 GMT)

Not that I think the ICC rankings hold much water, but England are No.1 and Pakistan beat them fair and square. They are an improved side and they deserve all the credit coming their way. Having said this, England we pretty unbeatable going into the series and look how that turned out. So, as much as Pakistan have improved, let's not call them world beaters just yet. There really is no dominant side in Cricket at the moment. I would rate the Aussies and South Africans as the two to beat though.

Posted by AlbertEinstein on (February 8, 2012, 10:03 GMT)

I always thought the Oval in 1954 to be the best Pakistani victory of all. But I have to admit that your logical reasoning has convinced me that this is the best one of them all. GREAT ARTCLE.......made my day, can't wait for your next one.

Posted by   on (February 8, 2012, 10:00 GMT)

very well written as always... i just want one thing to be cleared up (by you or by some other fellow reader)... does the ranking system really give any weight to home/away matches... as far as i have observed and heard, the only thing that really matters is the difference in ranking of the playing teams..

Posted by   on (February 8, 2012, 9:46 GMT)

Felt so good after reading it. Of all the things I loved, the last few words of this sentence sent me in some dreamland, 'It may be worth Pakistan cricket adopting the UAE as a permanent second home, enough to include a match or two there even after tours to Pakistan are restored'. Imaging the 2nd test's last day at Karachi's National Stadium. Would have been the greatest memory for everyone then. InshaAllah soon cricket will come back to Pakistan:)

Posted by sunnysaeed on (February 8, 2012, 9:40 GMT)

well said artical and very well written .... many congrates to pak and hope they will keep this move this year series , Home and away ....

Posted by   on (February 8, 2012, 9:36 GMT)

We were superb no 2 ways about it. Bowling has always been the Pakistani forte the only thing that has changed is now its spin and not fast!

We will always give any team a run for their money but perhaps we are a seamer short - but that might be asking 2 much!

Posted by o-bomb on (February 8, 2012, 9:33 GMT)

Whilst I'm obviously disappointed with England's performance on this tour, I'm really pleased for Pakistan that they've come through such hardships and are still able to play test cricket as well as anyone else at the moment. Over the last few years I'm sure I'm not alone in feeling sorry for them for their circumstances (no tests for a year, scandals, still not able to play games at home etc.) but for them to produce a team of this quality despite all that is heartwarming. Many congrats to Pakistan on their series win. On another note, the FTP on this website suggests that Pakistan should have a test series in India coming up, but other articles I've read suggest otherwise. Does anyone know why?

Posted by pak94fan on (February 8, 2012, 9:13 GMT)

Any Indian fans that come here and comment about how we can only win at home, please, don't bother. We've all seen how good you are abroad. Anyway, moving on, good article Mr. Shafqat... and I agree that Pakistan will now need to win abroad to prove themselves as a top team, but, tbh, I think we are well-equipped to do that. The only issue will be our batting, which we saw can do well at times, so consistency remains the issue in this department. The fact that Ajmal relies more on variations rather than big turn means he will do well in most conditions, and on bouncy/green pitches, a three-man attack of Gul, supported by 2 of Cheema/Junaid/Wahab would prove to be very handy, I think. I don't expect Pakistan to blow away all oppositions after this performance, but I hope when we go on foreign tours, that we can put up a good fight and play entertaining cricket. Please, India, don't ever allow Pakistani players in the IPL. Thank you for all you have done for us, without realising. ;)

Posted by TAHA_MOIZ on (February 8, 2012, 9:05 GMT)

To term this as the best of Pakistan's series triumphs would be an overstretch. The side deserves all the praise for such a emphatic win especially given our year 2010, but there can't be a more inept batting side against spin as England where. Pakistan cricket has seen greener and more dominant days, but can surely set the stage for greater things ahead….

Posted by TAHA_MOIZ on (February 8, 2012, 9:04 GMT)

To term this as the best of Pakistan's series triumphs would be an overstretch. The side deserves all the praise for such a emphatic win especially given our year 2010, but there can't be a more inept batting side against spin as England where. Pakistan cricket has seen greener and more dominant days, but can surely set the stage for greater things ahead….

Posted by ssshafqat on (February 8, 2012, 8:50 GMT)

Love. It.

Thanks for this.

Posted by safwan_Umair on (February 8, 2012, 8:43 GMT)

@ saad .... as always very well written, factual, to the point and lucid.

@ cricINDIA208...... a little humility will serve u well, indeed we lost all our matches on the Australian tour, but it was a dysfunctional unit that was not ranked highly in international cricket. Embarrassingly, India went to England ranked the number one side and in the aftermath of a massively glorified world cup triumph and lost each and every game! 8 consecutive overseas test match defeats point to serious flaws in technique, temperament and team cohesion. Even during the ill-fated English summer of 2010, when Pakistan was led by a fraudster (Salman Butt), the team managed to win a test match each against England and Australia!

ITS TIME TO WAKE UP BUDDY, OR THE ONLY PLAYING ASSIGNMENTS ON YOUR CRICKETING CALENDAR WILL BE THE IPL AND THE T20 WORLD CUP!

Posted by   on (February 8, 2012, 8:25 GMT)

CricIndia208: about a month ago people were saying we weren't good enough to beat top-ranked sides and had only beaten weak ones, now its been upgraded to can only win in Asia and not abroad... we're moving up in the world. This time next year people will be saying we can only win in SA/Aus now, couldn't beat them 10 years ago.

Posted by UsmanAkbar on (February 8, 2012, 8:25 GMT)

Excellent article. Now this is called sports journalism. Highlighting the facts without making the winning team HEROES or UNBEATABLE. Cricinfo please compare this with Mr. "BIAS" Dobell. His artciles are just becoming a joke for readers regardless of which ever country they support. "England batsmen getting out by playing wrong shots to simple balls and Pakistani batsmen getting out by Excellent balls from english bowlers." HA HA HA

Posted by Force01 on (February 8, 2012, 8:10 GMT)

Brilliant article. The blueprint of Pakistan's crusing victory has been wonderfully articulated by Saad. Great going Pakistan.

Posted by   on (February 8, 2012, 8:01 GMT)

righ now every team is performing well in there home backyard so pakistan is no exception...still a long way to go....

Posted by   on (February 8, 2012, 7:44 GMT)

MASHA ALLAH! Pakistan is doing well as our players are out of IPL!! Thats the truth!

Posted by Jawed_Saleem on (February 8, 2012, 7:32 GMT)

For sure, its Pakistan's "greatest achievement in Test cricket to date". Test cricket is "real stuff" where skill & technique are 'TESTED' over longer/adequate period. T-20/ODI can be a lottery, but there is no hiding place in test cricket. And to trounce the top-seeded England thrice is surely NO FLUKE ! England had no answers to Pakistan's resolve/never say die attitude and "world's finest spinning trio" ! Eng. Media is again playing tricks again ! They (Eng. Media) were successful in orchestrating/engineering the events/results in 2010. PCB must take note and react to counter cricketers playing into media(English) hands.

Posted by ehkhan on (February 8, 2012, 7:02 GMT)

@cricindia2008 I am really surprised by the attitude of some of the indian cricket fans... atleast appreciate what this team has done... we did win in England "WERE NOT WHITE WASHED".. and we did beat Australia in England "SERIES DRAWN"... We won overseas in Newzealand "SERIES WON"... and countless other series wins in the past year or so.... and you are still asking us to prove something... Try to get your problems sorted out... You have been white washed so many times in recent past that in few months we will start loosing count of it, and your players will have to shift to west because of the being washed so many times... your fastest bowler seems to be Vinay Kumar... another product of IPL.... so I think fix your house first ... its better for you to comment on the IPL articles which are floating nowadays....

Posted by M.Y.Ali on (February 8, 2012, 6:33 GMT)

I guess the idea of adopting the UAE as a second home is brilliant. A thoughtful approach is not to use anything in need and leave it later. It will be good too for players to see better facilities around and groom themselves in more organized manner.

Posted by sawifan on (February 8, 2012, 6:30 GMT)

@CricIndia208... more sour grapes from an Indian supporter. Pakistan actual WON 2 tests in ENG last time they were there, 1 each against ENG and AUS. On top of that, they should have won their last test in Sydney. In all, they have done much better than IND recently in tours to ENG and AUS. Congrats Pakistan. I job well done. From an appreciative Aussie supporter.

Posted by Drew2 on (February 8, 2012, 6:09 GMT)

Interestingly the same two spinners took 10/539 there last yeat against South Africa. This year they took 43/671. what a difference a year makes!

Posted by hasanfayyaz on (February 8, 2012, 6:01 GMT)

well pak won a test in england...pak drew test series from aus in eng (conditions similar to aus and alien to asians)...pak won a test match in SA...pak won test series in NZ...so i feel there away record for last 2 series will b among the best...

Posted by   on (February 8, 2012, 5:54 GMT)

@cricindia208 what are u thoughts of m.yousuf as a genuin fast bowler in your team..i think afridi bowl faster than the whole indian bowling unit huh..

Posted by   on (February 8, 2012, 5:48 GMT)

@cricindia208 bro we only lose to austrailai in australia only...but u guys are been completely whitewashed 1st by england and now by austrailia and there no doubt that even in this type of sri lanka can easily w.wash india...

Posted by   on (February 8, 2012, 5:39 GMT)

Beautifully expressed with true facts and tangible observations. Well Done.

Posted by CricIndia208 on (February 8, 2012, 5:24 GMT)

Yeah right! Why don't you first win in overseas conditions. Remember Australia tour 2009-10, pakistan lost 0-9, couldn't win a single game. I am pkaistan will be whitewashed when they tour Australia, England, South Africa.

Posted by SyedArbabAhmed on (February 8, 2012, 5:06 GMT)

I don't agree with you, as Pakistan did beat india in india in 1989 was the greatest for so many reasons.

Posted by   on (February 8, 2012, 5:03 GMT)

Brilliant article....Pak are definetly on the rise and there is no where to go but UP...Mohsin Khan should be retained in some sort of capacity and influence...all the best to Pak Cricket ..

Posted by Raja.Khurram on (February 8, 2012, 4:39 GMT)

Very well said. I agree with the point regarding Mohsin Khan and Watmore that the contract has been inked and PCB should stand by the contract. Maybe Mohsin Khan can be accomodated as chief selector or chief talent identifier.

Meanwhile, maybe we can put a process in place to start grooming our past cricketers for the role of coach so that we dont find ourselves in a state of dismay when we search for our next coach. IMHO, Rashid Latif can be a good candidate as he has experience running the academy and so can be Aaqib Javed - not to mention Mohsin Khan :)

Posted by Super70s on (February 8, 2012, 4:06 GMT)

I wish the inertia built into the ICC rankings system would rub off a bit on fans and journalists. They tend to be swayed by one victory to the summit or by one defeat into the abyss. This was a truly remarkable victory by underdogs Pakistan, but I fear the unceasing jubilation is priming them for a fall if/when they fail overseas. Considering how India and England have got whitewashed overseas despite their #1 ranking, it would take an extraordinary performance from Pakistan to live up to fan expectations.

Posted by   on (February 8, 2012, 3:29 GMT)

Saad don't forget england could easily win the last two matches

Posted by   on (February 8, 2012, 3:24 GMT)

Really well written, Saad. Loved your line about "colleagues in prison" and Rehman being the "teesra." Playing outside of Pakistan has probably also kept the players' egoes grounded. Also like the idea of extending some Pakistan tour games to the UAE even when international tours do return to the country.

Posted by gilbert84 on (February 8, 2012, 3:20 GMT)

Now this is a proper article on Pakistan. Very well written, Saad. You've captured the correct context of this series that has been sorely and surprisingly lacking on Cricinfo lately.

Posted by hoodbu on (February 8, 2012, 3:09 GMT)

No mention of the inaugural Asian Test Championship in 98-99? The Calcutta victory was lit alight with Shoaib Akhtar's two deliveries and Saeed Anwar carrying the bat with 188*. Then Wasim Akram claimed a hat-trick in the final to overcome Sri Lanka. Sure that was an honorable mention.

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