Pakistan v England 2011-12 December 16, 2011

Mushtaq predicts high quality contest against Pakistan

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Mushtaq Ahmed, England's spin bowling coach, has played down the home advantage Pakistan will enjoy during the series against England in the UAE, saying his team has grown used to playing on pitches that are slower than the ones at home. England and Pakistan will play three Tests, four ODIs and three Twenty20 internationals in Abu Dhabi and Dubai in January and February 2012.

Pakistan have been hosting their home games in the UAE after the terror attack on the Sri Lankan team in Lahore in 2009 forced the suspension of international tours to the country. They have played two Test series there since then, drawing against South Africa and beating Sri Lanka. Mushtaq, however, said England would not struggle against Pakistan's spinners on the pitches in Dubai and Abu Dhabi.

"England batsmen have learned to play spin bowling. They can manage spin with good control," Mushtaq told ESPNcricinfo. "We won a World Twenty20 in the West Indies where conditions are similar. At the end, it all depends on individual players, they have to understand and learn the things to survive. And they are very hard workers.

"Pakistan no doubt has improved a lot and rankings sometime don't reflect your standing. And England has been in top form over the last two to three years. So I expect it would be a good quality series."

Spinners have played a significant role in Pakistan's performances in 2011 and they are likely to hit England with a strong attack: Saeed Ajmal, Abdur Rehman and Mohammad Hafeez in the Tests, as well as Shahid Afridi and Shoaib Malik in the limited-overs matches. England may play just one spinner, Graeme Swann, in the Tests, but Mushtaq didn't think the mismatch in slow-bowling resources was a problem.

"I understand the pitches in the UAE are slow and Pakistan will obviously use their home advantage. We have Jimmy Anderson, Stuart Broad and Chris Tremlett - all of them can bowl 90 mph. I don't think wickets do matter these days when you have quick bowlers who can bowl with muscle."

Swann's back-up on the UAE tour is left-arm spinner Monty Panesar, whose last Test was the Ashes opener in Cardiff in 2009. It remains to be seen whether England will alter the combination - three fast bowlers, one spinner - that helped them beat India 4-0 at home to accommodate a second slow bowler in the UAE.

"He [Panesar] has been a match-winning bowler and is still a good prospect," Mushtaq said. "His performance for Sussex brought him back to contention as he took 60 to 70 wickets in the domestic season, which is a lot for a spinner. He is the sort of left-arm spinner who bowls his orthodox delivery with force."

England open their tour with two warm-up games, the first of which begins on January 7, ahead of the Tests.

Umar Farooq is ESPNcricinfo's Pakistan correspondent

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • on December 19, 2011, 22:18 GMT

    MrBrightside92:I accept that England are the number one test side, the rankings a true reflection of that position. The rankings also say India are number two but after what happened last summer some people might argue with that. What I do not accept is that England are a vastly superior test side to India despite the 4-0 "Thrashing". India played poorly and there are many mitigating circumstances for this. The team arrived under prepared, mentally fatigued, carrying injuries, not excuses but facts. England could only beat the team put in front of them and did. Credit to England who played to their strengths.Used home conditions to their advantage .India a team that had acquired a great deal of mental toughness seemed to go into collective meltdown, it happens and has happened to England several times in the past.We need to see where both teams go from here. Indian fans are the most passionate but also the most unforgiving should it seem that lessons were not learned from the summer.

  • MrBrightside92 on December 19, 2011, 15:19 GMT

    Keep digging Mr GP….'You're only as good as your last game'…what utter clichéd drivel. If you win 300 games on the bounce then lose 5, you're considered rubbish? That's why we have rankings. We are all influenced by the media, we read and comment on cricinfo...I mentioned it as a root cause of extreme views. I read about Dhoni weeping after winning the World Cup, I can't imagine the euphoria that gripped his nation with that deserved success. Well, England fan's pinnacle is to be the best test side and to hand out some long over beatings to our friends down under. 2011 achieved that so give us our day in the sun too! You're right, the top 5 sides are evenly matched (incl Pak excl SL) so a trouncing is even more remarkable. I've ignored your view that Gambhir, Dhoni, Kohli and Raina are only good enough to be in the Indian 2nd team. World Cup winners only fit for2nd eleven? Quite disrespectful...

  • on December 19, 2011, 14:25 GMT

    5wombats: we are not discussing India here we discussing England. You are only as good as your last result and England's last series results show a 5-0 ODI drubbing at the hands of a second string Indian side. Had it have been a test series played on the sub continent the result would probably been the same. MrBrightside92 " our media is driven by headlines of the ilk where we're the best ever or the worst ever, average headlines don't sell newspapers". Unfortunately most English fans are only to willing to believe the hype. There is not one dominant side in world cricket at the moment and the number one spot will be a constantly fluctuating position for many years to come.

  • szrana007 on December 19, 2011, 14:23 GMT

    Well for all those indian fans who think dat eng has not won a test in india in last 25 years, eng did beat india fair and square in mumbai in 2006 due to freddie flintoff's heroics !!.

  • AlanHarrison on December 19, 2011, 12:08 GMT

    @ Apoorv Pandey: "wat about england in india and in one day more humiliation last 11 nil if join another six then 17-1". There are some statistical flaws here. Firstly, you seem to have omitted to notice India and England's meeting in the 2011 world cup, which finished in a tie. Therefore the last 11 England-India ODIs in India have finished with 10 India wins and one tie. Secondly 11 + 6 =17, whereas 17+1 =18. Thirdly, the last 17 (or if you prefer18) England-India ODIs in India (emcompassing the 2011, 2008 and most of the 2006 series, plus one-off meetings in the 2011 world cup and 2006 champions' trophy), have in fact finished 15 or if you prefer 16) wins to India, 1 tie, and 1 win to England (excluding 1 no result in the 2006 series). Well, I agree that that still is a pretty poor record from an England point of view. But it's important to get one's facts right, and it's also fun to be pedant ...

  • MrBrightside92 on December 19, 2011, 9:25 GMT

    @GP20...Sir, you dig yourself a bigger hole..which is the greater achievement, being No1 with the blessed talent that India possess or with a team of journeymen? Also, a 5-0 ODI series when previous scores 12-1 up in similar conditions or a 4-0 test series win when the previous comparison is 0-1 reverse? The 4-0 scoreline did not flatter England. The 1-1 against South Africa DID flatter England but that what's so great about Test cricket, if you fight hard you can come out evens! England's journeyman model means if a player is injured, the player replacing will not mean a drop in team strength. I don't think we will be phoning up some fat bowler on holiday because our ONE strike bowler is injured. Obviously, our media is driven by headlines of the ilk where we're the best ever or the worst ever, average headlines don't sell newspapers. Vaughn saying we'll be one of the favourites for the next World Cup is also laughable! A true England fan will be wary of Pakistan! Happy Holidays!

  • 5wombats on December 19, 2011, 8:23 GMT

    @Gerard Pereira; Your excuses are based on irrelevent india cricket history and thus have no credibility. Then you state; (England) "a side of journeymen destined to win a few and lose a few. A side I would not pay to watch". If you post provocative comments like this on an England/Pakistan forum then you display a lack of both understanding and class. Sore losers utterly unable to grasp the realities make comments like that. Live your excuses if you want - carry on persuading yourself if you want - live in 2007 if you want - dwell on what you percieve to be "past glories" if you want - whatever makes you happy. It won't change what happened to india in England in 2011 - so no one will take any notice, because the world moves on. Time to move on. Cricinfo are not publishing my replies to you. Perhaps they will publish this...

  • Dravid_Pujara_Gravitas on December 18, 2011, 22:19 GMT

    @MBS92, wow how could I even have missed your posts all along? Pleasure reading your inputs Sir. Absolutely spot on! I would like to add that Pakistan is a very strong team and play with lot of heart. But somehow I feel their batting is suspect quite often. I would rate the consistency of the England batsmen way superior to that of Pakistan. I think it's going to be England all the way in all the formats except that it's not going to be as easy as the difference in rankings suggests. This should be one heck of a series. Mouth watering contest between a thoroughly professional outfit vs an outfit that is fighting against all odds with a lion heart. Take a bow to this series!

  • Dravid_Pujara_Gravitas on December 18, 2011, 21:47 GMT

    @Gerard Pereira, I understand where you are coming from. But, please read my last post and this post as well and let me know what you have to put forward about India's and England's injuries during our tour to England. Sorry to barge in but I feel you are being a bit harsh on the English team. Don't look at their team of XI. Look at their SQUAD. That's the difference between us and England. Please let it go. We lost because our SQUAD isn't as good as England's SQUAD and also England used some special grassbowls and special Duke balls from 2010. That also didn't help our cause. May be we need to learn a lesson or two about Squad strength and utilising home conditions to the maximum, ranging from match balls to pitches, unapologetically.

  • on December 18, 2011, 20:33 GMT

    5wombats : Whitewashes don't happen to great sides,Correct. England just got whitewashed in the ODIs so what does that make them? You are going to say these were ODIs so they don't count. Wrong, I did not see the great West Indies side or the Australians at there peak getting whitewashed by anybody in any format. You are either a great side or you are not. I never claimed India were a great side on par with the West Indies or Australia of yesteryear. They are a side however that had in their ranks two of the greatest run getters in cricket history , a destroyer of bowlers in Shewag. an artist called Laxman , the third highest wicket taker in tests in Kumble another top ten test bowler in Harbajan, thats how they worked themselves up to number one. I don't see anyone of comparable talent in the England side that is why I think they are a side of journeymen destined to win a few and lose a few. A side I would not pay to watch.

  • on December 19, 2011, 22:18 GMT

    MrBrightside92:I accept that England are the number one test side, the rankings a true reflection of that position. The rankings also say India are number two but after what happened last summer some people might argue with that. What I do not accept is that England are a vastly superior test side to India despite the 4-0 "Thrashing". India played poorly and there are many mitigating circumstances for this. The team arrived under prepared, mentally fatigued, carrying injuries, not excuses but facts. England could only beat the team put in front of them and did. Credit to England who played to their strengths.Used home conditions to their advantage .India a team that had acquired a great deal of mental toughness seemed to go into collective meltdown, it happens and has happened to England several times in the past.We need to see where both teams go from here. Indian fans are the most passionate but also the most unforgiving should it seem that lessons were not learned from the summer.

  • MrBrightside92 on December 19, 2011, 15:19 GMT

    Keep digging Mr GP….'You're only as good as your last game'…what utter clichéd drivel. If you win 300 games on the bounce then lose 5, you're considered rubbish? That's why we have rankings. We are all influenced by the media, we read and comment on cricinfo...I mentioned it as a root cause of extreme views. I read about Dhoni weeping after winning the World Cup, I can't imagine the euphoria that gripped his nation with that deserved success. Well, England fan's pinnacle is to be the best test side and to hand out some long over beatings to our friends down under. 2011 achieved that so give us our day in the sun too! You're right, the top 5 sides are evenly matched (incl Pak excl SL) so a trouncing is even more remarkable. I've ignored your view that Gambhir, Dhoni, Kohli and Raina are only good enough to be in the Indian 2nd team. World Cup winners only fit for2nd eleven? Quite disrespectful...

  • on December 19, 2011, 14:25 GMT

    5wombats: we are not discussing India here we discussing England. You are only as good as your last result and England's last series results show a 5-0 ODI drubbing at the hands of a second string Indian side. Had it have been a test series played on the sub continent the result would probably been the same. MrBrightside92 " our media is driven by headlines of the ilk where we're the best ever or the worst ever, average headlines don't sell newspapers". Unfortunately most English fans are only to willing to believe the hype. There is not one dominant side in world cricket at the moment and the number one spot will be a constantly fluctuating position for many years to come.

  • szrana007 on December 19, 2011, 14:23 GMT

    Well for all those indian fans who think dat eng has not won a test in india in last 25 years, eng did beat india fair and square in mumbai in 2006 due to freddie flintoff's heroics !!.

  • AlanHarrison on December 19, 2011, 12:08 GMT

    @ Apoorv Pandey: "wat about england in india and in one day more humiliation last 11 nil if join another six then 17-1". There are some statistical flaws here. Firstly, you seem to have omitted to notice India and England's meeting in the 2011 world cup, which finished in a tie. Therefore the last 11 England-India ODIs in India have finished with 10 India wins and one tie. Secondly 11 + 6 =17, whereas 17+1 =18. Thirdly, the last 17 (or if you prefer18) England-India ODIs in India (emcompassing the 2011, 2008 and most of the 2006 series, plus one-off meetings in the 2011 world cup and 2006 champions' trophy), have in fact finished 15 or if you prefer 16) wins to India, 1 tie, and 1 win to England (excluding 1 no result in the 2006 series). Well, I agree that that still is a pretty poor record from an England point of view. But it's important to get one's facts right, and it's also fun to be pedant ...

  • MrBrightside92 on December 19, 2011, 9:25 GMT

    @GP20...Sir, you dig yourself a bigger hole..which is the greater achievement, being No1 with the blessed talent that India possess or with a team of journeymen? Also, a 5-0 ODI series when previous scores 12-1 up in similar conditions or a 4-0 test series win when the previous comparison is 0-1 reverse? The 4-0 scoreline did not flatter England. The 1-1 against South Africa DID flatter England but that what's so great about Test cricket, if you fight hard you can come out evens! England's journeyman model means if a player is injured, the player replacing will not mean a drop in team strength. I don't think we will be phoning up some fat bowler on holiday because our ONE strike bowler is injured. Obviously, our media is driven by headlines of the ilk where we're the best ever or the worst ever, average headlines don't sell newspapers. Vaughn saying we'll be one of the favourites for the next World Cup is also laughable! A true England fan will be wary of Pakistan! Happy Holidays!

  • 5wombats on December 19, 2011, 8:23 GMT

    @Gerard Pereira; Your excuses are based on irrelevent india cricket history and thus have no credibility. Then you state; (England) "a side of journeymen destined to win a few and lose a few. A side I would not pay to watch". If you post provocative comments like this on an England/Pakistan forum then you display a lack of both understanding and class. Sore losers utterly unable to grasp the realities make comments like that. Live your excuses if you want - carry on persuading yourself if you want - live in 2007 if you want - dwell on what you percieve to be "past glories" if you want - whatever makes you happy. It won't change what happened to india in England in 2011 - so no one will take any notice, because the world moves on. Time to move on. Cricinfo are not publishing my replies to you. Perhaps they will publish this...

  • Dravid_Pujara_Gravitas on December 18, 2011, 22:19 GMT

    @MBS92, wow how could I even have missed your posts all along? Pleasure reading your inputs Sir. Absolutely spot on! I would like to add that Pakistan is a very strong team and play with lot of heart. But somehow I feel their batting is suspect quite often. I would rate the consistency of the England batsmen way superior to that of Pakistan. I think it's going to be England all the way in all the formats except that it's not going to be as easy as the difference in rankings suggests. This should be one heck of a series. Mouth watering contest between a thoroughly professional outfit vs an outfit that is fighting against all odds with a lion heart. Take a bow to this series!

  • Dravid_Pujara_Gravitas on December 18, 2011, 21:47 GMT

    @Gerard Pereira, I understand where you are coming from. But, please read my last post and this post as well and let me know what you have to put forward about India's and England's injuries during our tour to England. Sorry to barge in but I feel you are being a bit harsh on the English team. Don't look at their team of XI. Look at their SQUAD. That's the difference between us and England. Please let it go. We lost because our SQUAD isn't as good as England's SQUAD and also England used some special grassbowls and special Duke balls from 2010. That also didn't help our cause. May be we need to learn a lesson or two about Squad strength and utilising home conditions to the maximum, ranging from match balls to pitches, unapologetically.

  • on December 18, 2011, 20:33 GMT

    5wombats : Whitewashes don't happen to great sides,Correct. England just got whitewashed in the ODIs so what does that make them? You are going to say these were ODIs so they don't count. Wrong, I did not see the great West Indies side or the Australians at there peak getting whitewashed by anybody in any format. You are either a great side or you are not. I never claimed India were a great side on par with the West Indies or Australia of yesteryear. They are a side however that had in their ranks two of the greatest run getters in cricket history , a destroyer of bowlers in Shewag. an artist called Laxman , the third highest wicket taker in tests in Kumble another top ten test bowler in Harbajan, thats how they worked themselves up to number one. I don't see anyone of comparable talent in the England side that is why I think they are a side of journeymen destined to win a few and lose a few. A side I would not pay to watch.

  • on December 18, 2011, 13:59 GMT

    Highest Test averages against Australia since 1990 Batsman Tests Runs Average 100s/ 50s Sachin Tendulkar 29 2748 56.08 10/ 11 VVS Laxman 24 2204 55.10 6/ 10 Virender Sehwag 15 1483 51.13 3/ 7 Brian Lara 31 2856 51.00 9/ 11 Kevin Pietersen 12 1116 50.72 2/ 7 Richie Richardson 14 1084 49.27 4/ 4 Graham Thorpe 16 1235 45.74 3/ 8 Shivnarine Chanderpaul 17 1303 44.93 4/

  • on December 18, 2011, 13:59 GMT

    srilanka flat track bullies one amazing stat highest average against austalia in australia since 1990 sehwag 59.50,sachin58.53 laxman 54 rahul 48.60 kaliis 49 kallis 45 lara 41thats why these are great not sanga and jaya

  • on December 18, 2011, 13:57 GMT

    lolzzzz england listen india won in 2007 tremlet was there drew in 2002 lost in 2011 india en england 1-1 as series and one drawn wat about england in india and in one day more humiliation last 11 nil if join another six then 17-1 india still won series in england wat did england done first won in indi then shout also inengland 1-1 levelled won in england one more then shout lolzzzzzzz average teamengland worst of the team travelled india srilanka neva won test in india atleast won in one one day india won one day series asia cup in lanka drew test series in astralia drew in 2003 won in perth this year england lost in perth and team was without tait when india won tait lee both were there and fully fit in next50 yers england cant win in perth and lanka india won test series in pak2004 england same year lost humiliating loss shoaibcracked them first won outside then talk if england after 1 year still no 1 then we will praise them rite now average team beat injury jolted side india if en

  • aman878 on December 18, 2011, 13:52 GMT

    Be-aware Eng with wounded Pakistan.

  • on December 18, 2011, 13:46 GMT

    @gerardpereira20..."England are nowhere as good as their supports are trying to make out nor India as poor". This is the case with indians as well. Both thrive mostly on what their media paints them. Demi-gods. In this instance the greater media won. Just compare Pakistani performance with the indians. Pakistan were unstopable on their ever controversial tour to england last summer. Media onslaught was the only way to hold them, or they would rip through the deified English team.

  • Dravid_Pujara_Gravitas on December 18, 2011, 13:03 GMT

    @Gerard Periera, very interesting thoughts about Asif and Amir. Yes, we may never know if Broad's was indeed his own performance or graciously helped by the Pakistani bowlers. It makes me very sad to see Amir go down that road. What a shame match fixing is. You never know if a performance or a win is real or a reality show! Yes, India was down with injuries on that tour. But England too had their share of injuries. Which means their bench strength and planning was much better than ours. Look at the Aussie series now to understand what I'm saying. We have Ishant with a pre-existing injury on the tour and as we speak India is now, at the 11th hour, looking for a replacement. But look at Eng-Pak series now. They have Graham Onions already there as cover for the England bowlers up until the first test starts. Now, that's what I want to see from Indian Cricket. Professionalism, Foresight by covering all the bases. BCCI didn't show that in England and is not showing that in Australia either.

  • gerardpereira20 on December 18, 2011, 12:53 GMT

    I don't know why people are surprised that Indians are supporting Pakistan after all we cut from the same cloth, speak the same language, enjoy the same cuisine and music, share our passion for cricket and had be not been divided at birth we would have been unbeatable at cricket for at least the last four decades. imagine Wasim, Waqar, Kapil Dev, Imram, Zaheer Abbas ,Vishwanth, Gavasker, and Miandad in the same team. Imagine the current Indian Batting line up with the Pakistani bowling .

  • 5wombats on December 18, 2011, 12:39 GMT

    @gerardpereira20 on Dec 18 2011 11:50 you state; "the two highest run getters in both forms of the game are Indian, the only two men to score double centuries in ODIs are Indian. There are three Indians in the 10 highest wicket takers in test history and in the period from 2001 to 2011 in test matches against the all conquering Aussies the scoreline was 9-6 in India's favour". This all irrelevent excuse making and history. 2 of the "3 Indians in the 10 highest wicket takers" weren't playing in 2011 and Harbahjan Singh had his career ended by England in 2011 so that is irrelvent. Any comments about double hundreds in ODI are irrelevent. Comments about Australia are irrelevent - and anyway, England also beat the "all conquering Aussies " in 2005, 2009 and 2011 home and away - so what? "the two highest run getters in both forms of the game" this may be true, but so what? When it came to it in 2011 india was found wanting. Whitewashes don't happen to "great" sides. Truth. Painful isn't it?

  • gerardpereira20 on December 18, 2011, 11:50 GMT

    Dravid_Gravitas Thanks !! The point I have been trying to make is that while accepting the India played poorly last summer there were many mitigating circumstances that led to their defeats, and a 4-0 score line flattered England . England are nowhere as good as their supports are trying to make out nor India as poor. I would like to remind people like wombats that India are still ranked at number two, the two highest run getters in both forms of the game are Indian, the only two men to score double centuries in ODIs are Indian. There are three Indians in the 10 highest wicket takers in test history and in the period from 2001 to 2011 in test matches against the all conquering Aussies the scoreline was 9-6 in India's favour. Ok England are showing signs that they can compete at the top level of world cricket by drafting in some good South Africans and Irishmen but they have a long way to go if ever before they can be called "great".

  • MrBrightside92 on December 18, 2011, 10:41 GMT

    @DG...a few years ago I would've agreed with you...especially Anderson but England have learned that if conditions are not helpful for taking wickets they dry up the runs, a current discrepancy with the SA attack who if theye don't roll the opposition over, they get carted (re Haddin/Johnson). I also would've said there are no dodgy grassbowls in Australia but after watching the Hobart test, I've never seen a pitch so green! Speaking about excuses, I thought RandyOz et al were very upfront about the loss, no mention of injuries and they had a few. Wombats - the excuse put forward was we don't care about ODI's which is disrespectful and incorrect. We're just not very good, certainly not very consistent. I think Pak have better spinners than India but if we aim for 250 we're well in the game, against India 250 won't win you many. Tests tight, ODI's PAK, Twenty-20's PAK (if Razzaq plays well).

  • 5wombats on December 18, 2011, 9:31 GMT

    We don't think @Gerard Pereira points are valid in the least. There are also "valid" points about England injuries in the Eng V ind Test series. Tremlett was injured for 3 and Trott only played 2 Tests, Swann also had injury. These injuries had a serious impact on England team and probably reduced the magnitudes of indian defeats, which were bad enough. But England fans don't go crowing that England beat india with "England B Team". Eng fans are not that sort of people. Neither do we make or accept excuses. If we get beat, we get beat. Simples. We can't bear excuses - excuses which suggest; "we would have beaten you, except x y or z so that still makes india the better team". Plainly, india were second best in England, but plainly England were poor in ODI in india. We can't remember a single excuse from England fans during ODI in india - but there have been thousands of excuses from people like @Gerard Pereira, and they are still being made months later. None of them can be accepted.

  • on December 18, 2011, 4:48 GMT

    pakistan will give tough time to Eng. pak have great spin attack and unity in team which never seen like before if you will fan of cricket you will must enjoy the series in tests both teams have equal chance but in odi pakistan is favorite.wkts will slow and low this is the reason which heart england badly. because in india they have very bad time. pak have much better spin attack. Ajmal is the man look for

  • on December 18, 2011, 3:14 GMT

    INSHAALLAH PAK will win !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Dravid_Pujara_Gravitas on December 17, 2011, 23:56 GMT

    @5wombats, lol! Good to lock horns with you. Always! Gerard Periera is following you like a banana inswinger. Take them. He has very valid points.

  • 5wombats on December 17, 2011, 21:12 GMT

    @Dravid_Gravitas - We used to be sweet naive and innocent - before 2011, before the England ODI series in india..... Then we learned to bite! But you are a worthy cricket follower - We always look for your posts. Good fun!

  • Dravid_Pujara_Gravitas on December 17, 2011, 20:44 GMT

    @MrBrightside92, thanks for that information and I stand corrected. But still it's hard to believe that all the English batsmen are good at playing spin - Strauss, Cook, Trott, KP, Bell. Now, it's even harder to understand the reason as to why England couldn't win any series in India for a long time. May be their bowlers are toothless and just rely on dodgy grassbowls? I'm just thinking...

  • MrBrightside92 on December 17, 2011, 20:05 GMT

    @D Gravitas. WHy would Swann have any success against Indian batsmen in England. in this equation you have English non spinning tracks and batsmen who are good against spin. Where were the Indian spinners against the 'sitting ducks'? Did Strauss get a century in each innings in the last test in Chennai? Or Cook who scored a century in India on debut? To be fair I haven't rated Swann as highly as his ranking suggests as he's too orthadox, and the drivel English commentators say, we'll win on the subcontinent because of Swann. We'll win with good batting, putting pressure with tight, accurate bowling and fielding. Obvious I know. Pakistan won't win if they rely on Ajmal..they're going to have to bat really well, like they did against South Africa. It's going to be tight!

  • 5wombats on December 17, 2011, 19:57 GMT

    @Gerard Pereira - you really have no idea do you. If people like you did not come onto Pak V Eng conversations reminding us about "indias summer" then wombats like us would not have to bang on about England and what they did to india. The real truth is that people like you have been banging on about india being a great side but now that they have been brought back to earth with a bump - they can't handle it. There is more than a whiff of sour grapes on your comments, more like vinegar. Please publish.

  • Dravid_Pujara_Gravitas on December 17, 2011, 18:21 GMT

    @hhillbumper, that's not a question you ask us so easily on cricinfo. That's an over the top question not related to this board. Nuff said. Yes, many of us support Pakistan team. India, Pakistan and England share a shameful past in the history of mankind. At the same time, India and Pakistan also have a bloodshed between them. Our support depends on what is dearer to us between the two facts. Each to his own. And Indian Government, as of now, is looking at the present political situation rather than living as a prisoner of past. Got a problem with that? When one gets to know our history it is but natural to feel that Pakistanis are our long lost brothers. We also noted that many Pakistanis blessed Yuvraj when he is sick. That should tell you that India and Pakistan share a very special emotional relation of Love and Hate. But emotionally, England will always be seen at one end and India & Pakistan will be seen at the other by many Indians and Pakistanis alike.

  • on December 17, 2011, 18:15 GMT

    5wombats : You respect and enjoy Pakistan cricket as well as the other two sub continental sides. That is big of you considering England are at number position thanks to Salman Butt and Company who helped with some points push England up the ladder. When England were on the ropes Daddy's boy Broad got a handy ton. Was this due to brilliant batting or the fact that Amir and Asif took their foot of the gas we will never know. Neither will we know outcome at Lords and Trent Bridge has Zaheer been playing. India were handicapped at Lords to such an extent that Dhoni had to get some overs in to relieve the workload. Add to the fact that Ghambir was injured in the second innings and Sachin was down with a viral infection and had to bat lower down the order had a serious impact on the test and the series. You may find it hard to accept these facts. You can bang on about England being a great side but it is only a matter of time they and you are brought back to earth with a bump

  • hhillbumper on December 17, 2011, 17:54 GMT

    lets see what happens.as for all you Indian fans lets see how you do in Aus.Lets have a chat after then if you can beat them easily then come back and start talking.Also if you care so much for Pakistan then why don't you play them once in a while

  • on December 17, 2011, 17:44 GMT

    Let us see. I hope a better contest, England recently was off color against India in India, I expect almost same result in Sharja as well

  • Dravid_Pujara_Gravitas on December 17, 2011, 15:53 GMT

    @5wombats, it is naive of you to not to expect any Indian to support Pakistan against England. Indian support to Pakistan wouldn't look obnoxious to you if you try to be better informed. When India was suffering in England in one of the series from yesteryears, Javed Miandad, Wasim Akram, Waqar Younis and Jehangir Khan (the Squash Champ) visited the Indian Camp and especially helped, Sachin, Azhar, Srinath and Venkatesh Prasad. When Miandad was asked by a reporter why they are doing this he said, "Cricket against India is a war for us. But I and many Pakistanis cannot see either Pakistan or India going down to England". You may never understand it from India-Pakistan perspective. The support to Pakistan Team will be there from many Indians irrespective of the implication on the rankings this series result may have. None of the support is obnoxious. Only your innocence is quite an eye-opener. Didn't know that the 5wombats are so innocent!

  • Dravid_Pujara_Gravitas on December 17, 2011, 15:30 GMT

    It's not going to be a cakewalk for the English though I back them to win the series. Most of them, barring Trott, KP and Bell, are sitting ducks against spinners. England's problem is not just ODIs but facing spin, as can be understood from the fact that they didn't win neither an ODI series nor a test series in India for a long long time. Also, they couldn't produce one quality spinner for ages now. I don't know much about Monty. I was impressed with Swann before. Not so much now. The way he was brutally caned and assualted by Indians on our spinning tracks and not having much success against us in England, barring an inning or two towards the end of the test series, should tell you the story. This may actually work in favour of the English because Pakistanis are better players of spin than pace and with near zero spin reserves in the English team, England will rely on their fast bowlers. But the pitches are not going to be dodgy grassbowls you get to see in some parts of the world.

  • AlanHarrison on December 17, 2011, 12:56 GMT

    Well I think Mushy is right to suggest that this will be a close series, not only because that is my instinct, but because if you look at Mushy and what he's done in his career (first spinning out the England top order in the 1992 world cup final, player of the series in the 1996 series, being a star for Sussex and topping the county wicket-taking tables year after year 2003-7, and now coaching with England), there must be few people who have a better overall understanding of the game in England and Pakistan. But Mushy is being a bit modest when he says of Panesar's season this year with Sussex: "he took 60 to 70 wickets in the domestic season, which is a lot for a spinner." Yes Panesar did well last year, but if you look at Mushy when he bowled spin for Sussex, if he took 90 wickets in a season it looked like a relatively bad year for him! (Mushy took 90 county championship wickets for Sussex in 2007, but over 100 in 2003 and 2006, during each of their championship-winning years.)

  • allblue on December 17, 2011, 12:32 GMT

    There is a fundamental difference between ODIs and Test cricket. In the former the onus is on the batsman to try to score off every ball while in the latter the onus is on the bowler to try to take a wicket off every ball. So in ODIs (and more so in T20) 'taking the pace off the ball', particularly on slow wickets (which we'll probably see here) is very effective because the batsman has to go at the ball to put energy on it off the bat. This makes them vulnerable, but in these upcoming Tests if a bowler sends down six slow dobbers Cook and Trott will just pat them back down the wicket all day long. England's big problem in ODIs is that of the top six only KP and Morgan are power-hitting improvisers so they are left with the dilemma of picking their best batsmen across the formats, or radically restructuring the top six for the shorter game. They still haven't resolved his, hence they struggle. In Tests though, just look how any times they have got past 500 in the last 12 months.

  • on December 17, 2011, 11:54 GMT

    these 9 moths will finisheh england bet onme started from 5 nil whitewash and those who cant play spin in one days ten overs no bat and pad god knows how willthese rookie will play in test always plays in there den england outside there a sheep atleast teams beats england in england in 2007 india did but watengland did in india series victory is far even they cant salvage there pride

  • on December 17, 2011, 11:32 GMT

    i think pakistan were the best team this year

  • JG2704 on December 17, 2011, 9:53 GMT

    @johnathonjosephs on (December 17 2011, 02:26 AM GMT) - Don't be sorry . Me neither. These were the sort of posts we were getting from some folk after England beat the tired and injury ravaged Indian side in the summer

  • JG2704 on December 17, 2011, 9:53 GMT

    @WeeBee on (December 16 2011, 22:16 PM GMT) - All your stats show (in OD cricket may I add) is that India have much better spin bowlers than pace bowlers. Nothing more. England - regardless of how they do in Pak - will almost certainly lose more wickets to spin bowlers for the same reason and how long ago was it that you dredged up the selected history/stats from re the test matches?

  • JG2704 on December 17, 2011, 9:52 GMT

    @Gerard Pereira on (December 16 2011, 20:39 PM GMT) - You're wrong - there were plenty going on about how ZK would have changed things. Trust me. Then again , at the time there were those who were saying Sehwag would change the series when he came back and look what happened. As I said , we'll see if ZK is the god some make him out to be on the Oz pitches

  • JG2704 on December 17, 2011, 9:51 GMT

    @ 5wombats on (December 16 2011, 10:30 AM GMT) - probably little point in us pointing the fact that we see it as an OD weakness rather than a spin weakness as our comms (when published) get ignored by the blinkered brigade. To be honest I'd say it's unproven either way as we've not played a quality SC side in test matches in their back yard for so long. I must admit I'd prefer it if we were playing a Pak fringe side (a side who'll excel in these conditions) as a warm up match or maybe playing the weaker looking SL side before Pak so that we're getting used to playing in those conditions vs SL , but I'm guessing they'll be doing plenty of prep behind the scenes

  • on December 17, 2011, 9:12 GMT

    Yes, i agree that pakistan played against minor teams, played against srilanka which is out of form.But don't forget that when England played this year in World cup against minor teams (Bangladesh & Ireland) in subcontinent & lost against them

  • 5wombats on December 17, 2011, 8:57 GMT

    @Gerard Pereira on (December 16 2011, 20:39 PM GMT) You state; "Had he (Zaheer) been around when England were struggling at 65 for 5 in the second innings at Lords or 128 for 8 at Trent Bridge the outcome of those matches might have been different". Do you really think so? 65/5 at Lords was NOT struggling. It was a position of REAL strength - Even if England had declared at 75 runs they would still have won the game by 6 wickets. At Trent Bridge even if England had only got to 225 they would still have won the game. It shows the real dominance of England that you can only think of one session where England "struggled" = this is out of a series of 20 days (60 sessions) of Test cricket. During the rest of the 20 days it was india who struggled, not England. Thanks for reminding us. @Gerard Pereira - you are grasping at straws, and failing. plz publish.

  • umairasgharbutt on December 17, 2011, 8:49 GMT

    we will take the revenge for sure. Pakistan Zindabad !

  • binojpeter on December 17, 2011, 7:43 GMT

    This is a wonderful opportunity for England to change their subcontinent track record. They have 6 batsmen with excellent test averages and 4-6 really good bowlers. If they want to do it, they should strive to do it now.

  • landl47 on December 17, 2011, 7:20 GMT

    It's an interesting match-up. England hasn't played test matches on the subcontinent (except 2 against Bangladesh) in the last 3 years. Pakistan hasn't won a test series against one of the top 4 teams (India, Australia, South Africa and England) in the last 5 years. As a result, both teams will be trying to find their way in this series. Pakistan's seam bowling doesn't look great (Umar Gul was 3rd seamer when Asif and Amir were playing and Cheema is an ordinary 130-135kph medium-pacer). However, their spinners have looked useful recently, albeit against weak sides. England have much better seamers, but usually include only one spinner. England's batsmen are far superior to Pakistan's- @WeeBee, quoting stats from 2008 and earlier is hardly relevant today, is it? It will be a fascinating series to watch.

  • on December 17, 2011, 4:19 GMT

    It is going to be a big series...I think the result of the series will be either 1-0 or 1-1...Either 1 or 2 tests will be drawn....But think of the last time when English team came to Pakistan in 2005...They lost the series 2-0 after beating the Ausies in Ashes 2005....I know that the current english side is much better but I see the likes of strauss,cook and morgan really struggling against hafeez on those hot conditions..Its going to be much hotter in Abu dhabi than in Dubai....Its going to be a really tough series...If England win the series they will cement their position at Number one..but if Pakistan wins they will go to no.4 even if they win 1-0 according to ICC predictor..

  • RoarofTiger on December 17, 2011, 3:48 GMT

    lolz...can somebody give a bat to 5wombats and ask gul to bowl at him... :D

  • Lmaotsetung on December 17, 2011, 3:23 GMT

    There is a difference having to score runs on every ball and having all the time in the world to score. That ladies n gents is the difference between test cricket and ODIs

  • on December 17, 2011, 2:33 GMT

    Hell Yeah Baby..... A series i am waiting for a long time....

    Please umar gul perform man.... not a good test wickets with sri lanka and either bangladesh....

    Junaid Khan..... hope he is fit and perform a 5 wickets again .......

    Go on guys .............. it's time for a big REVENGE

  • johnathonjosephs on December 17, 2011, 2:26 GMT

    @JG2704 I'm sorry but i really fail to see how a bowler with an average of 31 in Test Cricket and who went for 150+ runs without a wicket in the WARM UP MATCH against Somerset could hardly reverse a 4-0 whitewash. Remember, we're not talking about Wasim Akram, Murali, McGrath, or Warne. We are talking about Zaheer Khan.

  • johnathonjosephs on December 17, 2011, 2:24 GMT

    Ehhh England will mount 600+ runs on flat pitches and then maybe bowl Pak out for maybe 300-400 and follow on will be put on. Pakistan thinks they are high up because of recent NZ tour and the tour against severely out of form Sri Lanka, along with this Bangladesh tour, but a high quality tour is yet to come. Would be more interested in the ODI's, especially with that man Shahid Afridi. Would love to see the T20 as well since Pakistan is definitely not a Number 7 and will look to smash the number 1 England down a notch

  • on December 17, 2011, 2:24 GMT

    england on slow wickets against quality spin would still be vulnerable.. whether ajmal and rahman should be allowed to bowl is debatable.. that being said, england will never be able to beat pak with this batting.. they do not have the aura of world beaters.. they have a strong team, but they cannot and should not win this series..

  • OhhhMattyMatty on December 17, 2011, 2:23 GMT

    Every cricket fan in the world has written off England in this series. If we avoid defeat or win the series it will be the greatest achievement of all time!

  • on December 17, 2011, 0:56 GMT

    COME ON PAKISTAN ITS REVENGE TIME GO AND BEAT ENGLAND....:)

  • WeeBee on December 16, 2011, 22:45 GMT

    English players record on slow pitches in tests against good teams (1st inning + second inning) ... Strauss(32 in multan, 12 in faisalabad, 74 in Nagpur, 31 in mohali, 132 in mumbai,231 in chennai, 21 in mohali) Bell (24 in chennai, 25 in mohali, 123 in chittagong)... cook (164 in nagpur, 19 in Mohali, 61 in chennai, 60 in Mohali)... Trott (53 in Chittagong, 83 in Dhaka) Morgan never played test on slow pitches... and now do your maths and suggest result of Pak Eng Series

  • WeeBee on December 16, 2011, 22:16 GMT

    How English first seven batsman lost wickets to average spin balling attack in india ( Kieswetter 2/5 times )..( Cook 2/5 times )..( Peterson 2/4 times )..( trott 2/5 times )..( bopara 4/5 times )..( bairstow 4/4 times )..( Patel 2/5 times )..( Bresnan 2/5 times ) ... and list of Swann wickets on those slow pitches ... swann wickets in 5 matches (0+0+1+DNP+0) ... so now think about how they will face ajmal, rehman, hafeez ... and i dont know from where mushtaq ahmad said that his players have learnt how to bat against spinners.

  • Kak-mal_Khan on December 16, 2011, 21:35 GMT

    @ Dave Brown, I feel your pain in trying to explain that England are better at Test and Pakistan are better at ODI stance. But what you got to bear in mind is that Pakistan were written off ahead of the 2005 Test series in Pakistan, and they turned up. The issue you have in your argument with the stats when it comes to Pakistan cricket will never digest with Pak fans. So sit back relax and I will give you a quick insight of how it works. In the world of cricket, Pakistan has always been the team that can turn a game on its head. Even during Australian domination, Pakistan were being put to the sword and have an embarrassing record especially in Test matches, but people who followed these matches will remember the moments of sheer brilliance that do not show up in the record books or statistics. Pakistan at their lowest eb have players of sheer natural ability that offer Pakistan fans with a last drop of hope that can not be rivalled - that's what makes em a dangerous cricket team bro!

  • on December 16, 2011, 20:39 GMT

    JG2704:Nobody said that " Zaheer would have single handedly revered the last series against England" but losing him on the first session of the first test meant India were reduced to operating with three inexperienced pace bowlers. Had he been around when England were struggling at 65 for 5 in the second innings at Lords or 128 for 8 at Trent Bridge the outcome of those matches might have been different.

  • on December 16, 2011, 19:21 GMT

    I'm a huge Pakistan fan but I don't believe we have the fire power yet to win the tests against England. It should be close and I think we can give them a run for their money especially with our new found discipline with the bat and deadly performance in the spin bowling dept.

    However the shorter version of the game we should take based upon the form we are in. Totally looking forward to this series as it is a true test of this Pakistani side.

  • aa61761 on December 16, 2011, 18:30 GMT

    English fast bowlers are pathetic on sub continental wickets. Swann will cause problems for Pakistan, but Pakistan has 2 spinners who will more than balance Swann's effect. Pakistani fast bowlers are used to bowling on dead wickets and they will suceed as usual.England has better batting lineup then Pakistan, so the Test series will be interesting, but Pakistan will win. ODI and T20 Pakistan will blow away England.

  • JG2704 on December 16, 2011, 18:23 GMT

    @ Saddam Rasool on (December 16 2011, 13:38 PM GMT) - respect to you for your balanced views. This is a tough test for both sides and will say alot about how far Pak have come and prove one way or the other whether Eng can perform in tests in these conditions

  • JG2704 on December 16, 2011, 18:23 GMT

    @ Valavan on (December 16 2011, 13:10 PM GMT) - Sorry , I know this is supposed to be an Eng/Pak subject but I'm interested to see exactly how huge a player Zaheer Khan is when he plays in Australia as he would (acc to many) have single handedly reversed the last test series in England.

  • JG2704 on December 16, 2011, 18:22 GMT

    @ smuham1 on (December 16 2011, 09:48 AM GMT) re "When was the last time they peformed on pitches which were prepared by the asian countries ??" - Answer vs India (the eventual winners) in the world cup earlier this year when the game was tied and in a format where we usually struggle. We've not played test cricket in subcontinent (unless you include Bangladesh which we won) with this exact team.

  • on December 16, 2011, 18:04 GMT

    Well, it would be a great contest to watch, i am pretty optimistic about Pakistan's victory in both tests and one dayers. wish you best of luck Pakistan.

  • on December 16, 2011, 18:00 GMT

    If Pakistan play smartly with the bat and apply themselves they can come away with ar convincing series win. Ajmal's spells will be key, his variations can really outfox the english batsman and that's what every Pakistani cricket lover will be hopeful for. In the ODIs and T20s the Afridi-Ajmal combination will be key because both of them can spin the ball both ways, Mushtaq Ahmed is well aware of the talent and quality the Pakistani bowling unit possesses and should point out this fact to his batsmen.

  • getsetgopk on December 16, 2011, 17:57 GMT

    I have to say England traditionaly valued test cricket more than anyother forms though they are 1st ranked T20 team. They are 1st ranked in test for a reason, they are a way better test team than ODI or T20, they have the best first class structure in the world and there is general love for the longer format of the game in Eng. My prediction, drawn test series unless Eng batsmen somehow cant read Ajmals variations, ODI and T20 are in favour of Pak with players like Afridi and Razaq in the mix with Ajmal and Hafeez should be relatively easy for Pak to win. In all should be one gripping contest. May the best team win!

  • on December 16, 2011, 17:52 GMT

    Eng lost 5 - 0 to Ind in Ind in a ODI series. An undisputable fact. I don't think anyone would disagree Eng can't play Ind spin in Indn ODIs. Thankfully though we are about to play Pak in UAE in a test series. The only similarity between those two statements is that Eng are playing. We are not playing Pak in Ind ODIs, we are not even playing Pak in Ind in a test series. We are playing Pak in UAE in a test series. The two can not be compared. It's like saying Misbah is a better player than Ajmad because he has a better batting average. A silly comparison. Or, Mike Hussey is a better bowler than Ajmad because he has a lower bowling average. A silly conclusion. Or, Jimmy Anderson is a better batsman than everyone else in the world as he went the longest amount of time without getting out for a duck. Silly silly silly. I've said it before and i will say it again. England are rubbish at ODI's we are good at tests. You can't compare the two, or any aspecs of the two.

  • USAPakCricFollower on December 16, 2011, 17:42 GMT

    Shame on those that criticize Mushtaq for coaching England. They are living in the past. These guys are playing (and coaching) professionally now and there is nothing wrong with coaching in a different country than what you played for. Mushtaq is a professional and his comments are very much professional. Its good to see his talents being recognized and put to good use.

  • on December 16, 2011, 17:02 GMT

    I Like Mushtaq he is a very good sports man..

  • on December 16, 2011, 16:59 GMT

    @5wombats: Well if India beat Australia they could need our help in restoring them to numero uno by dethroning England, hence this support for us from unexpected quarters. Don't be surprised.

  • on December 16, 2011, 16:57 GMT

    Pakistan are favourites against England in all formats and Pakistan should get Mohammad Yousuf and Mohammad Sami back for the test matches against England because in tests you need a bowler who can bowl very fast which Mohammad Sami does and Mohammad Yousuf is one of the best current batsmans in test cricket who should be selected again in Pakistan test team and it will be good to see Saeed Ajmal bowl against England batsmans who will be finding Ajmal hard to pick and i am looking forward to see Abdur Rehman bowl to Kevin Pietersen because Pietersen struggles against left arm off spin so it will be good to see Rehman against Pietersen.

  • imransangdil on December 16, 2011, 16:53 GMT

    The reason Eng and ind are/were No.1 not because they are the best, it's because aussie team is in decline. Eng and Ind are only good in their home conditions but aussies were class apart when they were in their prime. Aussies were the best in batting, bowling and fielding but these two teams are only good in one area but pathetic in others. The ICC ranking is a joke, you have two teams at the top who are only good in their home conditions.

  • on December 16, 2011, 16:50 GMT

    I think Mr.Mushtaq is trying to keep his job here !! England have learned how to play spin ?? Yes sure we saw that in the world cup and then in india a few months ago ! When was the last time they peformed on pitches which were prepared by the asian countries ?? And get ready for ajmals new delivery (teesra), I have not seen any batsman picking him with his doosra, and now is he has another delivery ! Good Luck to both teams ! Pakistan Zindabad !

  • fahadalam1 on December 16, 2011, 16:46 GMT

    Pakistan and India! the best teams in the world!

  • bilalAWAN on December 16, 2011, 16:11 GMT

    I think Mushtaq should respect the ability of Pakistani bowlers not as pakistani but as a Professional!!!

  • khiladisher on December 16, 2011, 15:16 GMT

    PAKISTANI BATTERS WOULD ENSURE AN ENGLISH WIN- PAKISTANI BATTERS CANNOT PUT RUNS ON BOARD AT ALL.THAT HAS ALWAYS BEEN THE ROOT OF PAKISTAN PROBLEMS-GREAT BOWLING AND VERY POOR BATTING.

  • SaudAliPk on December 16, 2011, 15:12 GMT

    I agree with you ExplicitPlatinum. This is the best playing 11 these days for pak team in test matches.mb i will include adnan akmal instead of sarfraz ahmed. Sarfraz has failed to perform at international level.Also, i would select asad shafique for first test.If he fails then to select umer for remaining series.I think junaid will be among wickets against England and will become major weapon for pak for time to come.

  • Crazy4cricket40 on December 16, 2011, 14:32 GMT

    Well professionalism adopted by Mushtaq Ahmed..but he himself and everydoby knows whats in heart and what he fears from. So I request all pak fans not to harsh on him as he is just doing his job and he has to say all this to sucure his job with england team. As far as concern series: Tests Pak win 1-0 or draw 1-1 or 0-0, ODI pak 3-1, T20: Pak 2-1. England wont win any series. If pakistani batsmen apply themselves fully and improve fielding, take all catches.. they can even whitewash everything as pak bowling is really strong and best at the moment...at least on subcontinent pitches

  • ExplicitPlatinum on December 16, 2011, 13:46 GMT

    I believe it's time for Umar Akmal to play in tests. We have to give him a chance to play as he will score the runs. It should be the right time now as I am guessing he is matured in playing the longer format in the Pakistan domestic games. It's great to see Junaid Khan back and he will give problems to the England batsmen. Misbah is doing well, the Pakistani batsmen are having a blast. Hafeez, Younis and Azhar should pile up the runs really well. Just hoping that Ajmal is practising his new offspin delivery before the series. Taufeeq needs to make sure not to get out as he is unreliable sometimes but hoping for another 200 from him. Abdur Rehman needs to perform well with the ball because he can get hit for six's if not careful. My test squad- 1.) Mohammad Hafeez 2.) Taufeeq Umar 3.) Azhar Ali 4.) Younis Khan 5.) Umar Akmal 6.) Misbah ul-haq 7.) Sarfraz Ahmed (WK) 8.) Abdur Rehman 9.) Umar Gul 10.) Saeed Ajmal 11.) Junaid Khan. So guys, respond back on what you think of the squad.

  • on December 16, 2011, 13:39 GMT

    correction : *they will NOT find a Pakistani batsman giving his wicket away.

  • on December 16, 2011, 13:38 GMT

    Absolutely true. The way England is treating this series shows how important it is for them. This one is already making quite alot news. Cant wait for it to start. England is a worldclass team from position 1 to 11 and they have almost all the areas covered. Their bowlers are now good with reverse swing so they will make life difficult for Pakistan batsmen. On the other hand, they will find a Pakistani batsman giving his wicket away. Pakistan bowlers will have the most difficult of tests ahead. English batsmen are way way better than they have bowled during the last 1 years. On similar wickets, they failed against South Africa, so it will be a challenge. No doubt that they have grown stronger and stronger during the last year and now they know their strenghts. For Misbah, it will be foolish if he remains defensive against ENG. For me, it will be a 1-0 series either way.

  • thePakistanian on December 16, 2011, 13:32 GMT

    I just got 1Question to those who keep saying that Pakistan didn't play against any top side in 2011,hence they're performing well! I've a different take on it! Take England vs India last summer, England was No.3,India was No.1 & everyone said its going to be a great competitive series,but it didn't &England swept! Now if Pakistan plays against SA,NZL,WI &SL &in WC 2011 as well: this is competitive for Pakistan, cuz we are NOT the best team in the world. We at @ 6, WI 7, NZL 8 & SL is 5th & SA 2nd! So it's simple; if No.1team plays against 2nd,3rd team as equally tough opposition, then for a No.6 team it's equally tough to play against No.7,8 or 5,2 &now No.1! & on top if that we lost Asif, Amir, Butt & M. Yousaf (don't know why he's not playing) &still managed to Beat/Draw against SA, NZL, WI, SL & now Bang & also reached WC-SemiFinal. Oh & we don't even play in our HOME conditions, UAE is closest but its still not HOME! So, let the series come & see who Wins!! GoodLuck Pakistan!

  • on December 16, 2011, 13:17 GMT

    I'm expecting the no1 rated Test team to easily beat Pakistan what ever the conditions, Pakistan will self destruct once again.

  • on December 16, 2011, 13:12 GMT

    It will be a good contest b/w Pak & Eng. I thought pace by Eng and spin by Pak could be the challenge for opposition. If Eng played well against Ajmal and Abdul Rehman,they are favorites. But overall Pak will not play as India played in Eng. Test series may be resulted as 1-1

  • Valavan on December 16, 2011, 13:10 GMT

    Lot of indians howling in ENG vs PAk games, If it was IND vs PAK, the same howllers would say India will thrash Pakistan and they will bring all sort of unjustifiable comparisons between Zaheer Khan ( who is ineffective comapring to Gul or Junaid) and call him like a GOD father. Indians want Pakistan to take revenge so that India can open back door and climb to no.1. England is not a good ODI side, thats the underline truth, England struggled against spinners means why did harbhajan or amit mishra didnt spin in Oval or nottingham. Oval and Nottingham are generally slow tracks that assist spin from day 4. I feel it will be a good contest, BTW PAK fans cant spill at Mushtaq or Saqlain, coz Aussies never fumed at Lawson when he coached Pakistan or SA neither when Woolmer coached pakistan. and well I wish England to prevail in test series and T20, probably PAK will grab the ODI glory. cricinfo please publish.

  • PiyushD on December 16, 2011, 13:09 GMT

    @tomphillips : No cricket is meaningless a defeat is a defeat and a win is a win, calling your defeat meaningles does not help, yes time will tell how good this english attack is in unfriendly conditions, though Pakistan has weak batting line up so do not wish to predict, would love to see England Vs India in India now in Tests, that will tell the true picture.

  • Mike_veitch on December 16, 2011, 12:55 GMT

    rahulcricket007 - YEAH MUSHI WE SAW HOW GOOD ARE ENGLAND BATSMEN ON PLAYING SPIN IN INDIA RECENTLY . MOST PLAYERS INCLUDING SENIORS LIKE COOK , BELL , KP WERE OUT CHEAPLY BY SPIN BOWLERS .

    don't want to pick holes in your agrument rahul but Cook - out once to spin in 4 innings Bell - 1 innings Pietersen averaged 55 out twice to spin out of 4

    Hardly conclusive stas to back up your CAPS

  • GreenTeam-Elite on December 16, 2011, 12:48 GMT

    I feel that it will be a tough Test, ODI and T20 series for both sides but I have strong feeling it will be the game of spinners. Hope Pakistan will do better in UAE!!! I am also waiting for saeed ajmal's invention "TISRA"

  • WeeBee on December 16, 2011, 12:31 GMT

    For a moment i accept that English players know how to play spinners because they are so called NO.1 team, but if you check the facts. Then it is totaly a different story. Eng vs India Spinners took .... (1st ODI -- 6 wicktes) , (2nd ODI -- 2 wicktes) , (3rd ODI -- 2 wicktes) , (4th ODI -- 5 wicktes) , (5th ODI -- 9 wickets) Indian spinners took 19 wickets, still Mushtaq Ahmad thinks English player know how to play spin especially on slow tracks. Whatever form of the game (test, ODI or T20), To play spinners your technique is the key, and English players really needs to work on it. And Pakistan have variety, Left Arm leg spin Rehman, Off Break Doosra Master Ajmal , quick Muhammad Hafeez for Left Hand Batsman. So ENglish players really have to work hard to handle the spinners. This Tour will not be a batsman game at all, Watch Srilankan Matches. From both sides, spiners made the difference. Mushtaq should really work on their main batsman to play spinners. peace

  • 5wombats on December 16, 2011, 12:16 GMT

    Don't be under any illusion - wombats enjoy and respect Pakistan cricket, (also Sri Lanka and Bangladesh). No teeth to be sunk into followers of these teams. But bearing in mind what England did to the other sub-continental side a few months ago - there is no reason for any of them to be here reminding us of their ill-fated tour to England. Wholly obnoxious to see so many india "fans" cheering for Pakistan to win. We would never have believed it until we saw it with our own eyes. Shameless & Unbelievable.

  • naseer90 on December 16, 2011, 11:52 GMT

    Inshaallah we will show the England and Mushi what is loyality ,,,as these player are all professionals and they are good as a team,,,,,we will beat them 3-0 in tests no less....goodluck team Pak

  • on December 16, 2011, 11:46 GMT

    mushi ( MUSHTAQ AHMED with all due respect ) , even though u are among the greaTESt servers of Pakistan cricket but by far (2011 to be precise ) i dont think england batsmen can cope up with PAK spin ,, and SPECIALLY iF iTs A " SPIN ATTACK " that u r talking about n nt just a spinner ,, we all know how gud swann is but thats the diifference b/w an attack and individual !! batting will be the key for pak along with fielding .. tests will certainly be more thrilling than oDis !!

  • cricadept on December 16, 2011, 11:35 GMT

    England would not be able to score more than 250.Best spinners vs worst batsmen against spin.

  • Fahii on December 16, 2011, 11:24 GMT

    Two Heavy weights collision for today's cricket......It wud be a tight contest,Eng's a good side if not the best, Pak has much potential despite of loosing Aamir/Asif & Misbha doesnt wan to lose a single match.....Test series wud be draw by 0-0 in ODI Pak has the upper hand if Razzaq comes back, Afridi/razzaq/akmal turns the table.

  • tomphillips on December 16, 2011, 11:03 GMT

    @PiyushD - Your comments about England bowling in unhelpful conditions are based on a meaningless one day series where most of Englands test attack was not even present! England havent played in the subcontinent (exc vs Bang) since Strauss took over so this current attack cannot be judged yet. Also I would suggest Aus last winter would class as unhelpful conditions seeing as Eng piled up 500+ in 4 out of 5 games and the bowlers did pretty well there, better than any subcont teams ever have in Aus! Time will tell.

  • WhoCaresAboutIPL on December 16, 2011, 10:51 GMT

    I agree with @JG2704 - trying to relate ODI performance to Tests is a total waste of time - look who is no.1 in ODIs! It is true that Pakistan have a good Test record recently but they have not really played many (any?) top teams in that time. That is reflected by their no.6 position. In my view England are no weaker than any other side against spin *when there is no urgent pressure to score*, and Pak have to take 20 wickets to win. Also if it comes to a slow pressure batting game, Pak, with the exception of Misbah, are not going to come out on top. I just cannot see them winning the series.

  • rahulcricket007 on December 16, 2011, 10:34 GMT

    YEAH MUSHI WE SAW HOW GOOD ARE ENGLAND BATSMEN ON PLAYING SPIN IN INDIA RECENTLY . MOST PLAYERS INCLUDING SENIORS LIKE COOK , BELL , KP WERE OUT CHEAPLY BY SPIN BOWLERS . AJMAL HAS ALREADY SAID HE WILL SHOW HIS SECRET WEAPON AGAINST ENG .AND PAK FAST BOWLERS HAVE ABILITY TO REVERSE SWING THE BALL WHICH WILL BE THE KEY .PAK WILL WIN 1-0 .

  • 5wombats on December 16, 2011, 10:30 GMT

    Mistakes are being made here by some commenters; Many think because England failed in ODI series in india that they have "weakness on slow pitch" or "weakness against spin". NOT TRUE. Truth is England have weakness in ODI. Remember; Englands failure in Australia ODI in 2011 had nothing to do with spin bowling - since Australia have no spin bowlers, but Eng had just thrashed Aus in Tests. It's a huge mistake to think of ODI performance giving pointer to Test performance. Look - Aus; good ODI side but poor in Tests, Sri L; good in ODI but poor in Tests, ind good in ODI at home but poor away in Tests. None of this says; "England can't play spin". It only says - most teams are better at ODI than England. In Test situation England batsmen have plenty of time to adjust and will be under no pressure to score quickly. Wombats predict Pakistan will put up more fight than india, but Eng batsmen more consistent than Pak batsmen - so England to win Test series. In ODI wombats give Eng little hope!

  • JG2704 on December 16, 2011, 10:08 GMT

    One thing's for certain.This series will confirm one way or the other if England can adapt to these conditions.My opinion is more that England (for whatever reason) struggle in one day cricket and obviously if you combine a format which we struggle at with conditions we are unfamiliar with it is going to exaggerate the OD weakness further. We have had indifferent series in the subcontinent - not AS bad in tests as others like to make out. I do notice that others quote instances of Englands failures in such conditions in the OD format. The WC sums our inconsistency in OD cricket drawing vs India (which is forgotten) beating SA but losing vs Bang and Ireland. We lost 6-1 in the last OD series vs Australia after beating them 3-1 in the tests in similar conditions. Does this not prove that OD cricket form does not necessarily have an impact on test form

  • PiyushD on December 16, 2011, 10:04 GMT

    It won't be easy for England, while Pakistan seamers are good on subcontinent type wickets, England seamers have proved hopeless in unhelpful conditions,recently in india. I predict Pakistan to be on top if their batters can apply themselves. Comeon Pakistan show them there true status.

  • Suleman1 on December 16, 2011, 9:48 GMT

    I think Mr.Mushtaq is trying to keep his job here !! England have learned how to play spin ?? Yes sure we saw that in the world cup and then in india a few months ago ! When was the last time they peformed on pitches which were prepared by the asian countries ?? And get ready for ajmals new delivery (teesra), I have not seen any batsman picking him with his doosra, and now is he has another delivery ! Good Luck to both teams ! Pakistan Zindabad !

  • on December 16, 2011, 9:44 GMT

    Pakistan will won the series Tests (1-0 or 2-0) ODi's (4-0) T20 (2-1). Inshallah

  • Morfi on December 16, 2011, 9:27 GMT

    @maddy20 ..."Swann is not really a spinner...." how else would you qualify him, might I ask? Pak beating Eng hands down has to be a first... this is not the Pakistan and Eng of late 1980's early 1990s when you could say that with confidence despite the Bothams and Lambs around. Yes, it will be tough for Eng but so will it be for Pak... remember they have not been tested against good quality bowling as yet. If I were the Pak board, I would bring M. Yousuf for this series and let him bat at 5, pushing Misbah to 6 and letting Shfaiq sit on the bench. Also, Pak do not have a tear away fast bowler... Aizaz is inexperienced and erratic... Gul has been average of late. Good series, I will give you that... even if it is 3 draws... it will be exciting! (mind you, Pakistan will happily take 3 draws today) ;)

  • iBilal on December 16, 2011, 9:23 GMT

    all braced for a wonderful series... cant wait for the moment

  • on December 16, 2011, 9:04 GMT

    Records for the most number of ducks in a calender year?? :-P

  • Zahidsaltin on December 16, 2011, 8:57 GMT

    Pakistan needs to sort out problems surrounding Kaneria. He could be handy with his experience and bounce. I wished Pakistan include Sarfraz as wicketkeeper in tests and Adnan in ODi. Sarfraz is a good batsman when he is given time to build his innings. By including Sarfraz, pakistan should go with 5 bowlers, 5 batsmen and a wicketkeeper. Saeed Ajmal, Rehman and Kaneria should be thrown in together to wipe out England batting line.

  • Cpt.Meanster on December 16, 2011, 7:53 GMT

    This is going to be a series of the BATSMEN. Both teams have good stroke makers. I can't see ANYTHING for the bowlers... although Swann and Ajmal are both attacking spinners so they should be among the wickets. The pitches are generally placid in the UAE. So I won't be surprised to see a few draws. Hopefully the curators can leave some grass on the wicket but with all the sun and heat... it's gonna be hard to do that. England are the no.1 side... it's up to them to negotiate whatever conditions they face up to. Pakistan on the other hand will be quietly confident after a decent run of performances. Cheers for a good series.

  • maddy20 on December 16, 2011, 7:49 GMT

    Doesn't matter. Graeme Swann is not really a spinner one might say, especially if you consider his splendid performance in the recent ODI series. I'm no fan of Pakistan but they should win this one hands down, provided their batting line up can back the bowlers' performance.

  • on December 16, 2011, 7:28 GMT

    mushtaq u say well but u know pakistan very well . pakistan is full of surprise and ajmal save 1 new surprise for england so watch out that surprise well take u out in no time .

  • on December 16, 2011, 7:27 GMT

    Well Pakistan has the Advantage bcz England doesn't have good record in Slow pitches.

  • CheerforUnderdogs on December 16, 2011, 7:04 GMT

    Looks like Mr. Mushtaq Ahmed has forgot that ENGLAND cant play spin well. Its stamped... Remember slow pitch during WC QFinal against SL... England batsman will struggle for sure...

  • riverlime on December 16, 2011, 7:00 GMT

    Bell will break records in 2012.

  • No featured comments at the moment.

  • riverlime on December 16, 2011, 7:00 GMT

    Bell will break records in 2012.

  • CheerforUnderdogs on December 16, 2011, 7:04 GMT

    Looks like Mr. Mushtaq Ahmed has forgot that ENGLAND cant play spin well. Its stamped... Remember slow pitch during WC QFinal against SL... England batsman will struggle for sure...

  • on December 16, 2011, 7:27 GMT

    Well Pakistan has the Advantage bcz England doesn't have good record in Slow pitches.

  • on December 16, 2011, 7:28 GMT

    mushtaq u say well but u know pakistan very well . pakistan is full of surprise and ajmal save 1 new surprise for england so watch out that surprise well take u out in no time .

  • maddy20 on December 16, 2011, 7:49 GMT

    Doesn't matter. Graeme Swann is not really a spinner one might say, especially if you consider his splendid performance in the recent ODI series. I'm no fan of Pakistan but they should win this one hands down, provided their batting line up can back the bowlers' performance.

  • Cpt.Meanster on December 16, 2011, 7:53 GMT

    This is going to be a series of the BATSMEN. Both teams have good stroke makers. I can't see ANYTHING for the bowlers... although Swann and Ajmal are both attacking spinners so they should be among the wickets. The pitches are generally placid in the UAE. So I won't be surprised to see a few draws. Hopefully the curators can leave some grass on the wicket but with all the sun and heat... it's gonna be hard to do that. England are the no.1 side... it's up to them to negotiate whatever conditions they face up to. Pakistan on the other hand will be quietly confident after a decent run of performances. Cheers for a good series.

  • Zahidsaltin on December 16, 2011, 8:57 GMT

    Pakistan needs to sort out problems surrounding Kaneria. He could be handy with his experience and bounce. I wished Pakistan include Sarfraz as wicketkeeper in tests and Adnan in ODi. Sarfraz is a good batsman when he is given time to build his innings. By including Sarfraz, pakistan should go with 5 bowlers, 5 batsmen and a wicketkeeper. Saeed Ajmal, Rehman and Kaneria should be thrown in together to wipe out England batting line.

  • on December 16, 2011, 9:04 GMT

    Records for the most number of ducks in a calender year?? :-P

  • iBilal on December 16, 2011, 9:23 GMT

    all braced for a wonderful series... cant wait for the moment

  • Morfi on December 16, 2011, 9:27 GMT

    @maddy20 ..."Swann is not really a spinner...." how else would you qualify him, might I ask? Pak beating Eng hands down has to be a first... this is not the Pakistan and Eng of late 1980's early 1990s when you could say that with confidence despite the Bothams and Lambs around. Yes, it will be tough for Eng but so will it be for Pak... remember they have not been tested against good quality bowling as yet. If I were the Pak board, I would bring M. Yousuf for this series and let him bat at 5, pushing Misbah to 6 and letting Shfaiq sit on the bench. Also, Pak do not have a tear away fast bowler... Aizaz is inexperienced and erratic... Gul has been average of late. Good series, I will give you that... even if it is 3 draws... it will be exciting! (mind you, Pakistan will happily take 3 draws today) ;)