Pakistan v England, 1st Test, Dubai January 16, 2012

Pakistan seek to escape unhappy history

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Match facts


Tuesday, January 17-21, Dubai
Start time 1000 (0600 GMT)

Big Picture


History will hang heavily over this series. Three Pakistan players are serving custodial sentences after being found guilty on match-rigging charges during the 2010 series in England. However much England suggest that the affair is now largely a media obsession and Pakistan provide indications of more stable and contented times, such matters cannot be easily waved aside.

That Pakistan recover their strength and reputation is vital for the health of world cricket and England have been reminded of their responsibilities to contest the series in a natural manner and to rise above any resentment, which does exist, over what has gone before without losing the competitive and aggressive edge that has contributed to their rise to the No. 1 Test side in the world.

Pakistan are careful not to speak of "home advantage" because Dubai, however much the conditions might be similar to those in Lahore or Karachi, is simply not home. But sub-consciously England feel themselves in an away series, not a neutral one. Their policy of six specialist batsmen, three pace bowlers and a solitary spinner automatically comes under strain on placid surfaces and the loss of Tim Bresnan, the most capable batsmen in their lower order, does not make a change of tack easy.

Test series between Pakistan and England have often been wonderfully combative affairs. As long as the pitches in Dubai and Abu Dhabi encourage attractive cricket, it is an appealing prospect.

Form guide


Pakistan: WWDWD
England: WWWWW

Players to watch


Saeed Ajmal has enlivened the build-up to the Test by announcing, Shane Warne-style, that he is about to unleash a formidable new delivery. The doosra - "the other one" - is about to be supported by the teesra - "the third one".

Whatever the impact of that proves to be, Ajmal will test England's improvement against spin bowling to the utmost. For England, Stuart Broad will be desperate to escape the run of injuries that have disrupted his progress over the past year. A bruised foot suffered when batting in the nets is unlikely to hinder him, but it gives a further impression of vulnerability that he could do without.

Team news


Any temptation that England felt to abandon their policy of six batsmen disappeared the moment that Tim Bresnan, the sturdiest batsman among the bowling attack, left the tour through injury. To include Monty Panesar as a second spinner would therefore entail perming three fast bowlers from six. In the first Test at least, they are likely to exclude Panesar and stick to a proven formula.

England (probable) 1 Andrew Strauss (capt), 2 Alastair Cook, 3 Jonathan Trott, 4 Kevin Pietersen, 5 Ian Bell, 6 Eoin Morgan, 7 Matt Prior (wk), 8 Stuart Broad, 9 Graeme Swann, 10 James Anderson, 11 Chris Tremlett

Pakistan (probable) 1 Mohammad Hafeez, 2 Taufeeq Umar, 3 Azhar Ali, 4 Younis Khan, 5 Misbah-ul-Haq (capt), 6 Asad Shafiq, 7 Adnam Akmal (wk), 8 Abdur Rehman, 9 Umar Gul, 10 Saeed Ajmal, 11 Wahab Riaz

Pitch and conditions


England are bracing themselves for a demanding bowling experience on a benign surface, in conditions that do not offer the fast bowlers much help. The two Tests played at the DICS so far don't entirely support that view with only one total so far in excess of 400.

Stats and trivia


  • England are sure to remain top of the ICC Test Championship if they do not lose to Pakistan by more than a one-Test margin in the three-Test series.
  • England have three bowlers - Graeme Swann, James Anderson and Stuart Broad - in the top four of the Test rankings.
  • In their last home series against Pakistan, England dismissed the opposition for less than 100 on three occasions.
  • Pakistan have won nine, lost 11 and drawn seven of their 27 Tests since their loss of home Tests because of security concerns. Only seven of those Tests have been at a neutral venue.

Quotes


"It's all a bit smoke and mirrors isn't it. Just remember, you don't play the bowler and what he says, you play the ball that comes out of his hand."
Graham Gooch, England's batting coach, admits to a spot of cynicism about the threat of Saeed Ajmal's teesra.

"It's good to see every player backing the other. The days of infighting and rifts seem to be over."
Wasim Akram, the former Pakistan captain, anticipates happier times.

"We play our cricket very, very hard. There's no way Jimmy Anderson, who is a grumpy bowler, is not going to be grumpy. The guys will still be aggressive, that's what has got us to No 1."
Kevin Pietersen, reflecting on how past history might affect the mood of the Pakistan v England Test series

David Hopps is the UK editor of ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • POSTED BY JG2704 on | January 17, 2012, 18:27 GMT

    @ Rexton87 on (January 16 2012, 21:01 PM GMT) - And there was I thinking that you had something original to say after listing your anti England frustrations. Truth is we've had players in the past who were not born in the UK like Lamb,Smith,Hick, Caddick and who remembers Martin Mccague and the Hollioake brothers? The thing is no one really cared back then because England were bad. As soon as England become decent then we all get the bandwagon jumpers going on about where these players were born etc. Prior has an English mother and moved here when he was 11 - I think that's good enough. You fail to then recognize that Bell and Cook are UK born , Strrauss moved here when he was 6 and the whole bowling attack is England born and bred. BTW the team can't stop what is being written about them

  • POSTED BY on | January 17, 2012, 13:41 GMT

    Pakistan tmam matches zror jeete ga.INSHA'ALLAH

  • POSTED BY on | January 17, 2012, 5:20 GMT

    Its really great to mention spot-fixing in articles to give a positive boooost to PAK Team......

    regards, HARKAWAL SETIA

  • POSTED BY on | January 17, 2012, 5:17 GMT

    i am Indian but will support Pakistan against arrogant british

  • POSTED BY ekasraz on | January 17, 2012, 5:12 GMT

    What a pathetic preview....spot fixing allegations recently surfaced in English county and who knows how many england players are involved too...

    Ferociously hot conditions !!!!! are you nuts ???? this is winters season in UAE, and the highets temparature is no more than 26 C . Very pleasant weather for playing cricket.

  • POSTED BY Syed_imran_abbas on | January 17, 2012, 4:59 GMT

    is that a preview of match??? or another preview of spotfixing??? so baised...

  • POSTED BY on | January 17, 2012, 4:55 GMT

    Hi Mr. Misbah I would like to tell you something!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! *LEADERSHIP: A leader is who knows the way, Goes the way, And Shows the way! *Effective leadership is not about making speaches or being liked; Leadership is defined by results not attributes!

  • POSTED BY on | January 17, 2012, 4:47 GMT

    Dubai like Pakistans Home ground, but in test against Eng so sorry

  • POSTED BY on | January 17, 2012, 4:36 GMT

    England will remain in the top forever......

  • POSTED BY on | January 17, 2012, 4:25 GMT

    hahahahaha Jonesy final scorline Pakistan 3 Enland 0 :D

  • POSTED BY JG2704 on | January 17, 2012, 18:27 GMT

    @ Rexton87 on (January 16 2012, 21:01 PM GMT) - And there was I thinking that you had something original to say after listing your anti England frustrations. Truth is we've had players in the past who were not born in the UK like Lamb,Smith,Hick, Caddick and who remembers Martin Mccague and the Hollioake brothers? The thing is no one really cared back then because England were bad. As soon as England become decent then we all get the bandwagon jumpers going on about where these players were born etc. Prior has an English mother and moved here when he was 11 - I think that's good enough. You fail to then recognize that Bell and Cook are UK born , Strrauss moved here when he was 6 and the whole bowling attack is England born and bred. BTW the team can't stop what is being written about them

  • POSTED BY on | January 17, 2012, 13:41 GMT

    Pakistan tmam matches zror jeete ga.INSHA'ALLAH

  • POSTED BY on | January 17, 2012, 5:20 GMT

    Its really great to mention spot-fixing in articles to give a positive boooost to PAK Team......

    regards, HARKAWAL SETIA

  • POSTED BY on | January 17, 2012, 5:17 GMT

    i am Indian but will support Pakistan against arrogant british

  • POSTED BY ekasraz on | January 17, 2012, 5:12 GMT

    What a pathetic preview....spot fixing allegations recently surfaced in English county and who knows how many england players are involved too...

    Ferociously hot conditions !!!!! are you nuts ???? this is winters season in UAE, and the highets temparature is no more than 26 C . Very pleasant weather for playing cricket.

  • POSTED BY Syed_imran_abbas on | January 17, 2012, 4:59 GMT

    is that a preview of match??? or another preview of spotfixing??? so baised...

  • POSTED BY on | January 17, 2012, 4:55 GMT

    Hi Mr. Misbah I would like to tell you something!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! *LEADERSHIP: A leader is who knows the way, Goes the way, And Shows the way! *Effective leadership is not about making speaches or being liked; Leadership is defined by results not attributes!

  • POSTED BY on | January 17, 2012, 4:47 GMT

    Dubai like Pakistans Home ground, but in test against Eng so sorry

  • POSTED BY on | January 17, 2012, 4:36 GMT

    England will remain in the top forever......

  • POSTED BY on | January 17, 2012, 4:25 GMT

    hahahahaha Jonesy final scorline Pakistan 3 Enland 0 :D

  • POSTED BY on | January 17, 2012, 4:21 GMT

    David hopps... Why don't you start this article with English team latest scandal where one of their county player admits to spot fixing? Will you now give Pakistani team a break? Why don't you do the same with Australians & Indian players too? I would say it's just pathatic!

  • POSTED BY satish619chandar on | January 17, 2012, 3:57 GMT

    This is where England ll miss Bresnan.. His stodgy batting would have been a bonus and would have allowed them to play Monty as fifth bowler..

  • POSTED BY satish619chandar on | January 17, 2012, 3:52 GMT

    Wahab's batting talent ll get him more preference.. But lack of competiticve cricket ll be against him.. If one leftie, i would rather go with Junaid especially after the way he bowled against SL..

  • POSTED BY The_big_j on | January 17, 2012, 3:31 GMT

    England will bat first....

  • POSTED BY on | January 17, 2012, 3:10 GMT

    Being an Indian, i seriously hope England to b thrashd by 3-0 to pakistan...they shud taste sum juices of consecutive away defeats..!

  • POSTED BY on | January 17, 2012, 2:50 GMT

    It is important to remember that even though England are the top ranked test team in the world this has largely been achieved because of results at home and Australia in the last Ashes tour. They have not had similar success on the sub-continent. The conditions in Dubai resemble those in India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka so i expect the series to be much closer than most people seem to think.

  • POSTED BY cricket_fan_1980 on | January 17, 2012, 1:43 GMT

    The South Asians have really had a battering at the hands of the Saffers, English and Aussies in the past few months, SL to SA, and Ind to Eng and Aus. The Pakistanis though have not been tested against these 3 since the shambolic summer of 2010. Can Pakistan step up to restore some South Asian pride as we gear up to take on 2012? The answer to that question unfortunately is teethering closer to a NO than a YES, simply because Eng is overall a superior side and will probably not allow the Pakistani batsmen to get set. Without that, the Pakistani bowlers will have very little to defend. It will an uphill task for the batsmen in this relatively rejuvenated side..

  • POSTED BY sk12 on | January 17, 2012, 1:12 GMT

    Well just to keep the balance at the top more even, I would support Pak to win the series.. And they have the players to do that too..

  • POSTED BY on | January 17, 2012, 0:14 GMT

    On papers, English team looks much more strong and experienced as compared to Pakistani current team. But in practical it would be quite diffrent. Some of Pakistan's young players and very fine and doing very good job like Azher Ali, Asad Shafique, Adnan Akmal, Umer Akmal, Junaid Khan etc...They are playing like a unit, so contest would be tough and equal...Good luck to Misbah and Co. for this much awaited and exciting series...

  • POSTED BY on | January 16, 2012, 23:58 GMT

    We play our cricket very, very hard. There's no way Jimmy Anderson, who is a grumpy bowler, is not going to be grumpy. The guys will still be aggressive, that's what has got us to No 1."

    What does that mean? is kevin already justifying any major sledging that might take place? seems like England and India own the ICC and the media. We shall see on the field whose the better team!

  • POSTED BY me54321 on | January 16, 2012, 22:47 GMT

    Come on England!! Show everyone you can win in alien conditions. Seem to have been waiting for this series for ages.

  • POSTED BY JosRoberts on | January 16, 2012, 22:23 GMT

    @Azhar Hussain - To be fair, given it happened last time these 2 played mentioning the spot-fixing thing is entirely justified.

  • POSTED BY cricket_pak419 on | January 16, 2012, 21:35 GMT

    Why do people like wahab riaz and always have to mention about the spot-fixing scandel its overdone. Now straight to wahab he is not a good player junaid should be given a chance to deafeat England. I agree on the batting terms that they have a good line up for the team. The reason they're going to pick Asad is because he is a test player Umar is not straight forward. Good luck team Pakistan!

  • POSTED BY on | January 16, 2012, 21:27 GMT

    i would like to see wahab riaz in the team instead of junaid as he brings in that extra pace which pak has been lacking in recent times and remember that pace has been our main weapon for the past few decades hence his presence will give the team an added confidence.

  • POSTED BY on | January 16, 2012, 21:20 GMT

    I WILL GO WITH pakistan as i believe england cant play spin well.........

  • POSTED BY johnathonjosephs on | January 16, 2012, 21:17 GMT

    When India toured England the last time and got whitewashed, I was hailing England as the best Test Team out there. Now, I'm seeing even the Aus Team who lost the Ashes twice and drew with New Zealand about to whitewash the Indians too, so I'm not sure England is as great as they are up to be. Especially in Away Conditions, I fear England won't do as great as they were abroad. Pakistan does have a chance

  • POSTED BY OptimusPrimal on | January 16, 2012, 21:07 GMT

    Why does cricinfo always have to mention spot-fixing when talking about Pakistan? Unfortunately, they are following what the rest of the world is doing. Focus on the biggest -ve they can find out about the country/team and then talk a little bit about all the good.

  • POSTED BY Shan156 on | January 16, 2012, 21:03 GMT

    England fan here. Quietly confident that England will put a much better display than their previous visits to the sub-continent (excluding Bangladesh). The key is to remain patient. Unlike England where bowlers can make things happen (like Broad's hat-trick at TB). It will be a battle of attrition. England missed a trick by not playing 5 bowlers but let's hope our 4 bowlers can do the job. I am more worried about the batting - our middle order didn't set the world alight in the warm-ups and Strauss, I'm afraid, will be a walking wicket for Gul/Wahab. A lot depends on Cook and Trott. Rehman is picked specifically to target KP's much published weakness against left arm spin. Let's see how he responds.

  • POSTED BY Rexton87 on | January 16, 2012, 21:01 GMT

    This is in response to George Dobell patronizing article where I was unable to post a comment. Not long ago England was the most pathetic team registering losses after losses in most humiliating capitulations. Now they cannot write a paragraph without trumpeting their number one status. This is only achieved when England resorted to creating an eleven of mercenaries mostly players pinched from South Africa and Ireland. If you take out Jonathan Trott,Peiterson,Eoin Morgan and Matt Prior England would return to number six position where they actually belong. If Misbah will not be remembered as an exciting captain what about Strauss Nasser Hussain,Gower,Gatting and Aec Stewart did they have any cutting edge.If you give up the players who change their allegiance for financial gains England will revert to thier inherently loser status.

  • POSTED BY Tit4Tat on | January 16, 2012, 20:46 GMT

    ALL THE BEST Green shirts and saeed Ajmal as well.let the cricket talk.

  • POSTED BY Stromeon on | January 16, 2012, 20:41 GMT

    Should be an interesting series... and Englands form guide should be WWWWD not WWWWW - remember they drew their last test against Sri Lanka due to Kumar Sangakkara's hundred...

  • POSTED BY SanjivAwesome on | January 16, 2012, 19:43 GMT

    Are England fragile when not playing on made-to-order home pitches? I will follow up this post in 5 days time.

  • POSTED BY chmirfan on | January 16, 2012, 19:42 GMT

    pakistan is not playing with only england eleven but also with english mdia. that u can see from this cricinfo preview. but luckly yhis time we have a calm head(Misbah) in our team.

  • POSTED BY AsadCricFan on | January 16, 2012, 19:33 GMT

    Infact, it wouldn't be a bad idea to give Cheema a go at some point. The English would be quite familiar with Wahab and Junaid as both of them have played plenty of county cricket. However, they would be completely new to Cheema. Wahab and Junaid also both swing the ball into the left handers. Cheema on the other hand swings it away from left handers and also bowls and impeccable line and length to the left handers. Could put some pressure on the left handed opening partnership.

  • POSTED BY DamieninFrance on | January 16, 2012, 19:25 GMT

    I've been getting all excited about the improvement in the Australian side in recent tests.... Then, I saw this: Strauss (Excellent opener and good Captain), Cook (arguably the world's most improved batsman in the past two years), Trott (Arguably the best number three in world cricket atm), Pietersen (All class, perhaps the world's best number 4?), Bell (Best performed number 5 in the past 12 months?), Morgan (Until 12 months ago, was almost immovable from the crease), Prior (probably the most improved wk in recent years), Broad, Swann, Anderson (3 of world's current best bowlers), and one of the most-improved, in Tremlett. For all the class of India's ageing line-up, the potential in the Pakistani team, it's difficult to make an argument for anyone except the Saffas challenging them for number one in the forseeable future. Let's hope that I'm wrong, and that Pakistan turns this series into a herculean contest!

  • POSTED BY AsadCricFan on | January 16, 2012, 19:21 GMT

    I would have thought Yasir Shah is a strong contender to give Abdul Rehman some competition for that second spinner spot. I would also prefer Junaid Khan over Wahab Riaz in the XI, although Riaz is more exciting to watch, at times he can be an absolute nightmare for the captain. However, IF he has gotten some sort of control over his line and length, he is definitely in my playing XI. Umar Gul was magical on those UAE pitches against Sri Lanka so he definitely has the first seamer role. I would also have had Umar Akmal in that XI in place of Azhar Ali, and Asad Shafiq at number 3. I never thought I would say this, but he seems to be maturing and he puts a value on his wicket and deserves to be in the side. He is also good enough to put pressure on an already pressurized English attack. All seems set for a thrilling series! England will be looking to justify and strengthen their number 1 spot while Pakistan will want to settle some old scores and finally silence their critics.

  • POSTED BY on | January 16, 2012, 19:14 GMT

    3 Pakistani cricketers have been punished. Now its England's turn - one has admitted guilt which clearly indicates there is a lot out there. Its time now for England to come clean. The other countries need to follow next. Hope we can eradicate this problem from world cricket one country at a time - there is so much out there, its gonna take a long time though.

  • POSTED BY on | January 16, 2012, 18:58 GMT

    Staying in the wilderness may have been good for Pakistan. Let's see. As for England: if there could not have been a better chance for practice to go to the Sub-Continent to face an Indian team that seems have got nothing right at the moment ... Expecting a competitive series. May the best team win

  • POSTED BY voyager on | January 16, 2012, 18:18 GMT

    You are right. England do have to be reminded not to repeat (broad throwing and hitting Zulqarnain on purpose) and Trott getting physical with Wahab, more importantly both did not get punished, in the later case Trot should have been charged.

  • POSTED BY rahulcricket007 on | January 16, 2012, 18:16 GMT

    best of luck to both teams for an exciting & compettive test series as our indian team as already bored too many fans with their no fighting spirit in australia & england .

  • POSTED BY Shan156 on | January 16, 2012, 18:08 GMT

    @jrben, I was going to post the same. England won the first test in Cardiff against SL but drew the next two. There was an error in another Pak. vs Eng. article too.

  • POSTED BY zd492 on | January 16, 2012, 18:04 GMT

    well said Azhar Hussain....why all the writers mention spot fixing in every article.... case has been closed, this habit should also be ended...i hope pak will end this behaviour of writers with performance in series...

  • POSTED BY JG2704 on | January 16, 2012, 17:55 GMT

    I really hope that England don't select the probable side that ESPN have listed. I don't know why but I've started getting it in my head that we will actually go for 5 batsmen , Prior , Swann , Broad , Anderson , Monty and 1 from Tremlett , Finn and Onions. Morgan has played 3 inns out here and has failed badly in every one. Monty has played one game and could do no more. I've given all my reasons why they need to go for a 5/1/5 formation and to me Morgan's lack of form doesn't make it a tough decision either. I've not heard one reason why they should not go with the 5/1/5 system unless you're just saying , that's what got us to number 1 etc. If they go for the 6/1/4 formation , part of me will hope they come unstuck

  • POSTED BY The_big_j on | January 16, 2012, 17:53 GMT

    Pakistan needs to play cheema, gul and ajmal for all their combined experience and the fourth bowler could be rahman or khan/riaz depending on the pitch. It would be a toss up between Riaz and Rahman because of their batting abilities.

  • POSTED BY Desihungama on | January 16, 2012, 17:38 GMT

    Can we get over the hysteria of spot-fixing now? The guilty has been served. Let's move on ICC CricInfo Staff shall we? Can't wait for the start of the series. Finally, will get to see some competitive Test cricket unlike the down under series.

  • POSTED BY on | January 16, 2012, 17:34 GMT

    Junaid is more improve bowler and has more potential then Wahab. England is still to prove that they can be No. 1 on subcontinent tracks, which i think will be very difficult against the world best bowling attack which belongs to Pakistan now!!!!!! It would be battle of English batting v/s Pakistan Bowling simply.....................

  • POSTED BY Haroon.ch on | January 16, 2012, 17:26 GMT

    I think Pakistan should go with two spinners because the conditions of UAE is almost like pakistan. no matter what was hapened in past but for now it is very important for pakistan to win this series. M teamfor Pak 1:Mohammed Hafeez 2: toufeeq umar 3:Azhar ali 4:younis khan 5:misbah ul haq 6: asad shafiq 7: adnan akmal 8: Umar gul 9:abdur rehman 10: saeed ajmal 11: wahab riaz. I will prefer wahab riaz on junaid khan because i think this is not the time for experiments we have to left up our cricket & we should not do any experiments junaid is verygood bowler but we have to remember what hapened in England with wahab riaz if he play then he will play with different emotions.

  • POSTED BY on | January 16, 2012, 17:10 GMT

    Writers- You have milked spot-fixing enough so stop mentioning it please.

    Pak- I hope to see good cricket here and will be up at 12AM Chicago time to see this match. Win or lose but you must play good cricket, after India's series I don't have a stomach for another one sided series.

    Good luck

  • POSTED BY landl47 on | January 16, 2012, 17:01 GMT

    Another article suggesting that for some reason England feel resentment over the spot-fixing issue. Why? Any damage caused was to Pakistan, first in giving away free runs by bowling no-balls and second by losing two of the leading seam bowlers in the world. I have no idea why the writer thinks that England would be upset and I'm sure they aren't. As for the game, since it is reportedly being played on the same pitch as England's two warm-up games, during which no side scored 300 in an innings, fears that the pitch will be too placid seem exaggerated. On the other hand, in the second game the ball appears to have been turning sharply and England need to think hard about going in with two spinners. Two seamers should be adequate, though it's a pity that Bopara hasn't had any match practice- his medium pace might have been useful and Morgan is the only batsman who hasn't done anything in the warm-up games. Hopefully it will be a good, well-fought series.

  • POSTED BY on | January 16, 2012, 16:53 GMT

    Ferociously hot conditions? You must be joking Mr Hopps...and benign surface? Maybe..but the last test here ended inside 4 days...

  • POSTED BY srivatsan on | January 16, 2012, 16:48 GMT

    I wish England get drubbed

  • POSTED BY Pro-CricketXpert on | January 16, 2012, 16:48 GMT

    Pakistan should go with: 1 Mohammad Hafeez, 2 Taufeeq Umar, 3 Azhar Ali, 4 Younis Khan, 5 Misbah-ul-Haq (capt), 6 Umar Akmal, 7 Adnam Akmal (wk), 8 Wahab riaz, 9 Umar Gul, 10 Saeed Ajmal, 11 Junaid Khan

  • POSTED BY knan on | January 16, 2012, 16:48 GMT

    With Ajmal, the best spinner in the world in their ranks, I expect Pak team to defeat Eng , as long as their batting does not collapse. Hopefully the wickets in Dubai will assist the spinners. Best of Luck to Pak team

  • POSTED BY on | January 16, 2012, 16:46 GMT

    I'd like to see the temperament of Pakistani players while playing a relatively tougher side. Would that series held in England the Pakistani had been down under due to IMMENSE reputation of English team after winning BIG against INDIA.....but still with this defensive strategy they might fall short of target

  • POSTED BY criclover112 on | January 16, 2012, 16:40 GMT

    Umar akmal should definitely play. I am not convinced by Taufeeq Umar, I do not think he will be sucessful.

  • POSTED BY on | January 16, 2012, 16:36 GMT

    it'll be a good contest between bat and ball! i hope so that Pakistan will play better cricket in conditions similar to their home.

  • POSTED BY KashifMuneer on | January 16, 2012, 16:31 GMT

    I agree with some of the others over here and would prefer Junaid Khan over Wahab Riaz as Junaid can swing and seam the ball both ways unlike Wahab who only swings away from right handers. I know Wahab has more pace but Junaid is more crafty/intelligent. The remaining team I agree with. Also I have an inclining that the Ajmal "Teesra" will be a reverse of a top spinner. So he will reverse spin the ball towards himself which means the ball will pitch and slow down considerably also keeping very low. You can pick it off the hand but it might still be very difficult to play it and its easy to mistime shots off it.

  • POSTED BY on | January 16, 2012, 16:25 GMT

    I WAS DYNG TO SEE ENG STRUGGLE IN SUBBCONTINENT..WE ALL SAW WHT HAPPND WHEN THEY FACED AVG SPINNER JADEJA....NW I THINK ITS REAL TEST BECAUSE AJMAL IS THE BEST SPINNER ATM..I JUST HOPE THT PITCH OFFERS LITTLE TURN N THTS ENOUGH..I FEEL 3-4 FIVE WICKET HAULS FOR AJMAL..

  • POSTED BY on | January 16, 2012, 16:19 GMT

    umer akmal should be playing

  • POSTED BY jonnybtestmatch on | January 16, 2012, 16:18 GMT

    England should dominate the series as they have a better batting line up and attack. Pakistan must attack Swann from the off if they are to stand a chance as he is clinical against the defensive players, but I think struggles when players really get after him. Reverse swing will decide the series and I think Anderson and Broad will get the ball to reverse early on.

  • POSTED BY on | January 16, 2012, 16:17 GMT

    time to kick off.. time to show the world that Pakistan is not bothered by the controversies... time for revenge. Best of luck team Pakistan

  • POSTED BY bplusa on | January 16, 2012, 16:16 GMT

    A fantastic series is anticipated; Full support to Pakistan Team. Come on Tigers "GO FOR THE KILL".

  • POSTED BY wrenx on | January 16, 2012, 16:12 GMT

    Just hope it's a competitive series... no-one wants to see another England v India.

  • POSTED BY Aura123 on | January 16, 2012, 16:11 GMT

    Can't wait. This the real test for Pak team agaist the really well balanced and No 1 team in the world. This series will def be more competetive & exiciting as compare to other two serieis which seems to be one sided affair Let the battel begin. Come on Pak

  • POSTED BY on | January 16, 2012, 16:10 GMT

    I will follow this series more closely than Aus vs India despite being an Indian. Not for anything else, but because i believe world cricket is going downhill. I dont see many teams winning overseas tours without the 'home'advantage...

  • POSTED BY HawksEyeFocused on | January 16, 2012, 16:06 GMT

    Pakistan,obviously has come out from shades of despair to enlightenment brilliantly. All the guys struggled hard to regain the spirit of 'the Imran Khan's cornered TIGER'. Pakistan is fully prepared and oozing with enthusiasm and gusto. If they a bit improve their fielding and batting then the collapse of world no.1 is inevitable. Go Pakistan Go!!! One eighty millions proud Pakistani are here to support you!!! Love you Pak more than my life!!! Shahzan Haider Bukhari,Muscat,Oman!!!

  • POSTED BY 5wombats on | January 16, 2012, 16:03 GMT

    @jonesy2; increasing your medication to 4 doses might be more appropriate.

  • POSTED BY on | January 16, 2012, 16:03 GMT

    @Azhar Hussain, I 100% agree with you, there isn't a single article on cricinfo written after that spot fixing scandal which didn't referred it. Come on guys, we need to move ahead its more than a year now.

  • POSTED BY on | January 16, 2012, 15:57 GMT

    umar akmal shud be preferred over asad shafiq.....he is the aggressor,dasher and a gud quality batsmen as welll....as concerned to asad shafiq,he is similar to misbah and younis with defensive approach wid gud defensive technique but not a shot maker...

  • POSTED BY AbdullahShaikh on | January 16, 2012, 15:39 GMT

    @ Stark62 .. Riaz is a very good ODI bowler and so is Umar Gul. I would love to see the pace attack comprised of Cheema, J.Khan & M.Talha. But the way Misbah has been going on with this captaincy i am sure she will play Gul & Riaz with 2 spinners. According to me not a good sign.

  • POSTED BY on | January 16, 2012, 15:37 GMT

    saeed ajmal has played a mind game by saying that he has a 'teesra' but it will be really intresting to see if teesra exist or it's just a mind game anyway looking forward to the much awaited series

  • POSTED BY DOGAR420 on | January 16, 2012, 15:37 GMT

    Bst Of Luck PAKISTAN.....................

  • POSTED BY AbdullahShaikh on | January 16, 2012, 15:36 GMT

    @ World.Cricketer .. Youy refferrance to England team. Sunil Gavaskar rightly remarked during the last india tour to england " it looks like world XI, with hardly 4 players of english origin. " Also their Captain is a South African. It looks like England will go to any lenghts to win matches. You in the club matches and county matches and now also in IPL, there are rules that a team can have only 4/5 foreign players. If such rules are introduced at the Test Level England are sure to loose some of its foreign/hired players.

  • POSTED BY Haleos on | January 16, 2012, 15:35 GMT

    Good luck to Strauss and Co. This is indeed the real test of their No. 1 status.

  • POSTED BY YorkshirePudding on | January 16, 2012, 15:33 GMT

    @jrben, well spotted, I thought it looked wrong I think england can remain #1 in the test rankings even if they lose 3-0, though SA have to win 3-0 in NZ and hope england lose in SL......Whatever the combinations here's to a great series, and one im looking forward to. Pakistan fans are far more better than their over-emtional counter parts to the south.

  • POSTED BY AbdullahShaikh on | January 16, 2012, 15:30 GMT

    @ Junaid Farhan .. i think did not see U.Akmal's last appearance in England. Through out the series he looked like a fool. He had taken his place in the team for granted and kept thowing his wicket away. Ultimately with Shafeeq replaced him at no.6 did the Pk team get some stability. Umar Akmal does not have the temperament of test cricket. he has been pampered too much. He should not have been in the XV leave alone XI. if Misbah does include him in the XI Pk will loose because U.Akmal will not be able to handle the sleding of this very aggressive team. seccondly your comment about U.Akmal playing spin well is absolutely wrong. One thing that You absolutely nailed is regarding Triaitors. There i agree with you. But also you see that since then the present bowlers have performed remarkable well against all opposition Especially the spinners. My only worry with the Pk is always their fielding and catching. You see these guys have learnt many ways of letting the match slip.

  • POSTED BY ahtasham.rvj on | January 16, 2012, 15:29 GMT

    well talking about pakistan .....pak team is way better than england atleast on Asian pitches....we know that england are the world no. 1 and have some world class batsmen...but they are not as good on asian pitches as on home grounds..for me pak will go in this test series as favourites...hope umer akmal will play tmoro...my playing XI is... Hafeez...taufeeq....younis....azhar....misbah...umer akmal...adnan akmal....rehman....gul...junaid...ajmal..

  • POSTED BY on | January 16, 2012, 15:21 GMT

    I think it would be close series with awesome cricket.... I would love to see pak winning...indian supporter

  • POSTED BY on | January 16, 2012, 15:11 GMT

    desperately waiting..........

  • POSTED BY TeamSelector on | January 16, 2012, 15:10 GMT

    I think Pakistan should gamble with Umar Akmal @ #6 for the opening Test. They desperately need an aggressive batsman in the middle order to up the tempo or to accelerate a 4th innings run chase. As it stands now, Hafeez is the only attacking batsman they have ... I also agree with Hoppsy that they should go with Wahab over Junaid for the first Test.

  • POSTED BY kasyapm on | January 16, 2012, 15:06 GMT

    I am an Indian fan and am predictably sad by our performance down under. But, I find this series pretty interesting and am looking forward to a tough series. England are in the subcontinent for the first time after they have clinched the no.1 ranking. They sure look a determined lot. Pakistan are regrouping well under Misbah and have one of the best bowling attacks (more importantly excellent spinners who should find favor in Dubai). They might still have issues in batting, but with the calm Azhar Ali and the stable duo of Younis & Misbah, they should be confident. Expecting a close contest and possibly a Pak win to keep the rankings very very interesting :-)

  • POSTED BY on | January 16, 2012, 15:04 GMT

    I wish pak wins.. to increase the moral of the subcontinent teams.. both srilanka and india are in bad shape.. Go gul gooo....

  • POSTED BY on | January 16, 2012, 15:02 GMT

    We shall see how much "swing" the English bowlers can generate on the Dubai cricket surfaces.

  • POSTED BY Z.Saleem on | January 16, 2012, 15:01 GMT

    Not sure why Wahab is in the XI in place of Junaid, coz I think Junaid bowled his heart out in the tests against Sri Lanka and Wahab doesn't have a really good line (Mitchel Johnson like wides).....so Khan should be in the playing XI and the rest team looks good!

    For England, I think Monty should be there in place of Morgon who has failed to score any runs in recent times!

  • POSTED BY on | January 16, 2012, 14:55 GMT

    I presume Pak v Eng should be a very contest in UAE, both the have almost equal potential in terms of bowling and batting, however the fitness and the fielding of Eng has been quiet better than Pak. Nonetheless, Pak would certainly enjoy the far land home ground advantage in UAE. Hafeez, Asad Shafiq, Ajmal and Younis Khan should be the key, i m sure about Umar Gul because he is most yo yo guy in Pak team. England has been performing quiet well in the recent past, but they have been tested yet, I don't see any one sided match between them, even though that Pak has the tendency to miss out completely but we should hope for the best for both teams, i must say and wish that Eng should be stretched till last limit. mykhan

  • POSTED BY on | January 16, 2012, 14:52 GMT

    I think that Pakistan batsman will suffer against Swan and James Anderson. Against good spin bowling Pakistani batsman are weak.. If Misbah adopted defensive approach then no chance for Pakistan to overcome on opposition. Pakistan should start with one regular spinners and three seam bowlers. Pakistan must give chance to Junaid inspite of playing with Wahab Riaz. I again repeat that Swan will be great threat for Pakistani batsman. If Pakistan do well against him then Pakistan will definitively on top of the game.

  • POSTED BY Khan1983 on | January 16, 2012, 14:49 GMT

    It continues to baffle me that England despite claiming to have world's best top/middle order still fret about absence of a bowler who can bat a bit; this shows that innate fragility of which everyone in the British dressing room is well aware of and the Barmy army here subconsciously accept by needing to continuously comment upon who would they like to see in their team. Clearly Ajmal recognises that and hence the Warney style banter! Hahahaha!

  • POSTED BY AbdullahShaikh on | January 16, 2012, 14:46 GMT

    I thought Broady and Bell had injured themselves in the net sessions. But obviously they are shown in the probables above, so let us see. Any way broady is a competitive cricketer but needs to control his emotions. On numerous occassions he has shown himself to be very short tempered and ill behaved in the past. In the last series in England he unnecessarily threw the ball at Zulkarnain Hyder and injured his thumb, following which the stumper had to return home for treatment in mid-series. But this time around there is a new bunch of players. Especially M.Hafeez remind me of Aamir Sohail , he will give back with interest what ever he gets. Y.Khan is very cunning and aggressiive. We can expect a very livelyl series.

  • POSTED BY mustufa on | January 16, 2012, 14:41 GMT

    Mouth watering to say the least.

  • POSTED BY Stark62 on | January 16, 2012, 14:40 GMT

    I'm actually quite excited!

    I would love to have both Junaid and Riaz in the team but Pak have to play 2 spinners in Dubai no matter what and Gul just has to play. I would definitely not play Shafiq ahead of Umar for multiple reasons and I hope to see a three man pace attack in Abu Dhabi consisting of Riaz, Junaid and Gul.

  • POSTED BY world.cricketer on | January 16, 2012, 14:37 GMT

    i see all players in the eng side are lucky to have each other player as teammate i mean every player in the team has got some specialty swan,KP,cook,bell,broad,anderson,trot... so they are playing as a team and winning matches

  • POSTED BY on | January 16, 2012, 14:28 GMT

    Asad shafiq wont be in playing 11 , umar akmal will come there coz he plays spin very well. The tour opener is set to put the Dubai field on fire , verbal blows will be from both sides but remember pakistan had much stronger batting line up than the one which played against Eng last year although bowling is a bit weak compared to that but not to forget present bowlers aint traitors so compitition is on ... bring it on England .. let the best one win ... PEace !

  • POSTED BY jrben on | January 16, 2012, 14:23 GMT

    England's form guide is incorrect. It should read WWWWD (3rd test against SL ended in a draw).

    Would like to see Junaid in place of Wahab in Pak's 11.

  • POSTED BY on | January 16, 2012, 14:18 GMT

    Is it a basic requirement for criciifo writers that whenever they write articles about Pakistan cricket they have to mention spot-fixing in the first paragraph. The guys have been punished and they are serving sentences, for crying out loud. The rest of the team is playing good cricket.

  • POSTED BY on | January 16, 2012, 14:18 GMT

    My Team for Pak, 1 Mohammad Hafeez, 2 Taufeeq Umar, 3 Azhar Ali, 4 Younis Khan, 5 Misbah-ul-Haq (capt), 6 Umar Akmal, 7 Adnam Akmal (wk), 8 Abdur Rehman, 9 Umar Gul, 10 Saeed Ajmal, 11 Junaid Khan

  • POSTED BY jonesy2 on | January 16, 2012, 14:10 GMT

    pakistan by 4 goals.............

  • No featured comments at the moment.

  • POSTED BY jonesy2 on | January 16, 2012, 14:10 GMT

    pakistan by 4 goals.............

  • POSTED BY on | January 16, 2012, 14:18 GMT

    My Team for Pak, 1 Mohammad Hafeez, 2 Taufeeq Umar, 3 Azhar Ali, 4 Younis Khan, 5 Misbah-ul-Haq (capt), 6 Umar Akmal, 7 Adnam Akmal (wk), 8 Abdur Rehman, 9 Umar Gul, 10 Saeed Ajmal, 11 Junaid Khan

  • POSTED BY on | January 16, 2012, 14:18 GMT

    Is it a basic requirement for criciifo writers that whenever they write articles about Pakistan cricket they have to mention spot-fixing in the first paragraph. The guys have been punished and they are serving sentences, for crying out loud. The rest of the team is playing good cricket.

  • POSTED BY jrben on | January 16, 2012, 14:23 GMT

    England's form guide is incorrect. It should read WWWWD (3rd test against SL ended in a draw).

    Would like to see Junaid in place of Wahab in Pak's 11.

  • POSTED BY on | January 16, 2012, 14:28 GMT

    Asad shafiq wont be in playing 11 , umar akmal will come there coz he plays spin very well. The tour opener is set to put the Dubai field on fire , verbal blows will be from both sides but remember pakistan had much stronger batting line up than the one which played against Eng last year although bowling is a bit weak compared to that but not to forget present bowlers aint traitors so compitition is on ... bring it on England .. let the best one win ... PEace !

  • POSTED BY world.cricketer on | January 16, 2012, 14:37 GMT

    i see all players in the eng side are lucky to have each other player as teammate i mean every player in the team has got some specialty swan,KP,cook,bell,broad,anderson,trot... so they are playing as a team and winning matches

  • POSTED BY Stark62 on | January 16, 2012, 14:40 GMT

    I'm actually quite excited!

    I would love to have both Junaid and Riaz in the team but Pak have to play 2 spinners in Dubai no matter what and Gul just has to play. I would definitely not play Shafiq ahead of Umar for multiple reasons and I hope to see a three man pace attack in Abu Dhabi consisting of Riaz, Junaid and Gul.

  • POSTED BY mustufa on | January 16, 2012, 14:41 GMT

    Mouth watering to say the least.

  • POSTED BY AbdullahShaikh on | January 16, 2012, 14:46 GMT

    I thought Broady and Bell had injured themselves in the net sessions. But obviously they are shown in the probables above, so let us see. Any way broady is a competitive cricketer but needs to control his emotions. On numerous occassions he has shown himself to be very short tempered and ill behaved in the past. In the last series in England he unnecessarily threw the ball at Zulkarnain Hyder and injured his thumb, following which the stumper had to return home for treatment in mid-series. But this time around there is a new bunch of players. Especially M.Hafeez remind me of Aamir Sohail , he will give back with interest what ever he gets. Y.Khan is very cunning and aggressiive. We can expect a very livelyl series.

  • POSTED BY Khan1983 on | January 16, 2012, 14:49 GMT

    It continues to baffle me that England despite claiming to have world's best top/middle order still fret about absence of a bowler who can bat a bit; this shows that innate fragility of which everyone in the British dressing room is well aware of and the Barmy army here subconsciously accept by needing to continuously comment upon who would they like to see in their team. Clearly Ajmal recognises that and hence the Warney style banter! Hahahaha!