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

First test for England's No. 1 status

For all England's success in recent years, they are yet to find consistent form in Asia. They meet Pakistan, who are rebuilding after the spot-fixing scandal and Misbah-ul-Haq could be the ideal man to guide them
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Perhaps it is fitting that Pakistan and England should meet at a cricket ground in the middle of a building site, surrounded by rubble and desert, because both these teams are a work in progress.

England, for all their success at home and in Australia, have a modest record in Asia. Pakistan, for all their success in their last three series, know that a far stiffer test now lies ahead. We will have a clearer picture of the progress of each side in a few weeks.

England are further along the road of achievement but the next 12 months will begin to define their legacy. They face three tough tours in Asia - Sri Lanka beckons in April before England visit India at the end of the year and a strong South African side in between at home. If England win all four of those series - and the series against West Indies squeezed amid them - then there can be no caveats to their status as the No. 1 Test team.

"English sides have not done particularly well in Asia," Andrew Strauss said. "That's an immediate hurdle we need to overcome. There's a lot of scope for improvement in our side and I'll be very disappointed if anyone sits back and thinks we're the finished article. We're clearly not."

England routinely refuse to show their hand regarding the balance of their side. It would appear, however, that the selection has come down to a straight choice between a third seamer - Chris Tremlett - and a second spinner - Monty Panesar. A return for Tremlett seems the most likely conclusion.

Stuart Broad bowled in training and looked to have recovered from the blow to his foot. There was more concern over an injury sustained by Ian Bell, who was hit on the left wrist while receiving throwdowns from Graham Gooch. Bell was taken to hospital for scans but he did not appear overly concerned and X-rays subsequently cleared him fit to play.

Pakistan are seeking their fourth series win in succession and, despite the spot-fixing debacle, have quickly rebuilt a team that demands respect

Pakistan also have selection decisions to make. The most pertinent is whether to pick Aizaz Cheema or Wahab Riaz as the second fast bowler. It would be a surprise if they did not field both specialist spinners and so made room for both Cheema and Riaz.

The recall of Riaz is potentially inflammatory. He was questioned by police and named during the spot-fixing trial of his three former teammates - Salman Butt, Mohammed Asif and Mohammed Amir - in October, but no charges were ever made. He also had an altercation with England's Jonathan Trott at a practice session towards the end of the acrimonious ODI series in 2010.

But he is a fine bowler. Blessed with pace and the ability to move the ball both ways, the Riaz took five wickets in an innings on debut during the Oval Test of 2010, the final Test of an ill-fated series.

This series is not all about the result. After what has gone before there will also be focus upon the spirit in which the series is played. That does not mean there will be any less intensity than normal, only that both sides have to be aware of their responsibility to the wider game. There can be no repetition of some of the scenes that marred 2010.

"Given the history between the two nations it is important we recognise our responsibilities," Strauss said. "But any idea that it won't be a competitive series is well wide of the mark. It'll be a very competitive series between two very good sides, both of whom are hungry to improve."

It was a point on which the Pakistan captain, Misbah-ul-Haq, agreed. He knows the image of Pakistan cricket has been tarnished in recent months and is eager to see his side regain the respect and affection which it once enjoyed.

"I have told the team that you can get your image back only by playing good cricket, by winning and by your good conduct in the field," he said. "That's what we are trying to do and the way we have played for the last year-and-a-half shows we are on the right path."

Indeed it does. Pakistan are seeking their fourth series win in succession and, despite losing several of their finest players to the spot-fixing debacle, have quickly rebuilt a team that demands respect.

History may not remember Misbah as the most dynamic or visionary captain. But bearing in mind the hand fate dealt him and the context in which he took on the job, he may prove to be exactly the right man in the right position at the right time.

Pakistan cricket has had plenty of flamboyant, unpredictable individuals. It could, perhaps, do with a little more calm, a little more predictability and a little more teamwork. Pakistan may yet come to be very grateful for Misbah-ul-Haq.

George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • POSTED BY cricket_pak419 on | January 17, 2012, 13:41 GMT

    Misbah is one of the best and calmest batsmen ever if he was given captainccy early I think could have went farther the world cup semi final Misbah the calm and patient

  • POSTED BY Biggus on | January 17, 2012, 12:57 GMT

    I hope Pakistan do well, not from any anti-England bias, since I'm pretty fond of the Poms too, but because the world of cricket needs a functioning Pakistan team. We Aussies have had some great clashes with them before and what has transpired recently has been distressing not only to Pakistanis, but to us as well. I hope this resurgence is a sign of good things to come. Good luck to both sides, if that is possible.

  • POSTED BY AnotherCricketer on | January 17, 2012, 11:11 GMT

    Interesting move by Pakistan. They sat Umar Akmal in favor of Asad Shafiq and Azhar Ali. Too defensive a strategy in my opinion.

  • POSTED BY on | January 17, 2012, 10:27 GMT

    Is this a neutral venue? The pitches are tailor made to support spin. How can anyone imagine a bowler like Ajmal to take 5 wickets on 1st day of the match? Lets see what the best spinner in the world, Swann, can do now.

  • POSTED BY on | January 17, 2012, 10:20 GMT

    @Wahaj Hashmi: Why does every Pakistani bring India in every conversation. There have been many one sided test series in the world but all you can do is bring India's failures into discussion. Pakistan Cricket is miles behind Indian cricket at the moment. Face it. And dont be too happy if you do well in UAE. We beat the same England side 5-0 two months back. Its when you travel to England/Australia and play tests, thats when the whole game changes. And I can imagine what pitch this might be, a spinner taking 5 wickets on the first day. Ha!

  • POSTED BY JG2704 on | January 17, 2012, 10:17 GMT

    I do agree with sirviv in that past records/stats is history. If someone said (as short a time as) 9 months ago that India would lose 2 of the next series by 4-0 and 4 or 5 of those tests by an innings people would have thought you were bonkers. Having said that , as I type England are 112-7 having played 6 specialist batsmen!!? and no Monty and when you see what Ajmal is doing , it's not looking great

  • POSTED BY on | January 17, 2012, 7:43 GMT

    Pakistan will gonna win this series against England.Their World Class spinner are to handful for English batsman who are traditionally weak against soin bowling on Turning track but equally importantly Pakistan batting must perofrmed they are slightly weak in that departnment and England too have good attack

  • POSTED BY dunger.bob on | January 17, 2012, 7:41 GMT

    And so it begins. The first step on a journey of a thousand miles. Can England do it. Some argue that it is an alignment of the planets that has brought them to this point. What they mean is that England have peaked at exactly the same time as Australia has bottomed out, South Africa don't seem to have the mongrel in them to go to the next step and India is not concerned about playing Test cricket any more. Naturally enough the Poms are saying that's all rubbish and the reason they are on top is because they have the best players. This series won't decide it, but it will be some indication. Ps. Why does everyone keep saying that this series is being played in Asia? The Arabian peninsula is not Asia. It's the Eastern edge of the Sahara desert and has much more in common with northern Africa. Doesn't anyone know their geography these days?

  • POSTED BY KarachiKid on | January 17, 2012, 6:20 GMT

    I think they should not have had Wahab Riaz in the squad, rest him for another year or two before this spot fixing thing becomes history. We already have Junaid Khan so why could be have gul, junaid, cheema and talha as fast bowlers in the squad. Wahab is both redundant and not good for overall atmosphere of the series.

  • POSTED BY sk12 on | January 17, 2012, 5:28 GMT

    oops sorry - mistook George Dobell for a different George. Of course this is not your first article here :)

  • POSTED BY cricket_pak419 on | January 17, 2012, 13:41 GMT

    Misbah is one of the best and calmest batsmen ever if he was given captainccy early I think could have went farther the world cup semi final Misbah the calm and patient

  • POSTED BY Biggus on | January 17, 2012, 12:57 GMT

    I hope Pakistan do well, not from any anti-England bias, since I'm pretty fond of the Poms too, but because the world of cricket needs a functioning Pakistan team. We Aussies have had some great clashes with them before and what has transpired recently has been distressing not only to Pakistanis, but to us as well. I hope this resurgence is a sign of good things to come. Good luck to both sides, if that is possible.

  • POSTED BY AnotherCricketer on | January 17, 2012, 11:11 GMT

    Interesting move by Pakistan. They sat Umar Akmal in favor of Asad Shafiq and Azhar Ali. Too defensive a strategy in my opinion.

  • POSTED BY on | January 17, 2012, 10:27 GMT

    Is this a neutral venue? The pitches are tailor made to support spin. How can anyone imagine a bowler like Ajmal to take 5 wickets on 1st day of the match? Lets see what the best spinner in the world, Swann, can do now.

  • POSTED BY on | January 17, 2012, 10:20 GMT

    @Wahaj Hashmi: Why does every Pakistani bring India in every conversation. There have been many one sided test series in the world but all you can do is bring India's failures into discussion. Pakistan Cricket is miles behind Indian cricket at the moment. Face it. And dont be too happy if you do well in UAE. We beat the same England side 5-0 two months back. Its when you travel to England/Australia and play tests, thats when the whole game changes. And I can imagine what pitch this might be, a spinner taking 5 wickets on the first day. Ha!

  • POSTED BY JG2704 on | January 17, 2012, 10:17 GMT

    I do agree with sirviv in that past records/stats is history. If someone said (as short a time as) 9 months ago that India would lose 2 of the next series by 4-0 and 4 or 5 of those tests by an innings people would have thought you were bonkers. Having said that , as I type England are 112-7 having played 6 specialist batsmen!!? and no Monty and when you see what Ajmal is doing , it's not looking great

  • POSTED BY on | January 17, 2012, 7:43 GMT

    Pakistan will gonna win this series against England.Their World Class spinner are to handful for English batsman who are traditionally weak against soin bowling on Turning track but equally importantly Pakistan batting must perofrmed they are slightly weak in that departnment and England too have good attack

  • POSTED BY dunger.bob on | January 17, 2012, 7:41 GMT

    And so it begins. The first step on a journey of a thousand miles. Can England do it. Some argue that it is an alignment of the planets that has brought them to this point. What they mean is that England have peaked at exactly the same time as Australia has bottomed out, South Africa don't seem to have the mongrel in them to go to the next step and India is not concerned about playing Test cricket any more. Naturally enough the Poms are saying that's all rubbish and the reason they are on top is because they have the best players. This series won't decide it, but it will be some indication. Ps. Why does everyone keep saying that this series is being played in Asia? The Arabian peninsula is not Asia. It's the Eastern edge of the Sahara desert and has much more in common with northern Africa. Doesn't anyone know their geography these days?

  • POSTED BY KarachiKid on | January 17, 2012, 6:20 GMT

    I think they should not have had Wahab Riaz in the squad, rest him for another year or two before this spot fixing thing becomes history. We already have Junaid Khan so why could be have gul, junaid, cheema and talha as fast bowlers in the squad. Wahab is both redundant and not good for overall atmosphere of the series.

  • POSTED BY sk12 on | January 17, 2012, 5:28 GMT

    oops sorry - mistook George Dobell for a different George. Of course this is not your first article here :)

  • POSTED BY on | January 17, 2012, 5:27 GMT

    I think England are the stronger side, but on these pitches I think a draw is the most likely result most of the time. Essentially both sides will struggle to pick up 20 wickets to win games. The English seamers won't enjoy the conditions and as for the Pakistan bowling attack, they are more suited to conditions, but the English batting lineup is very strong. I see a drawn series.

  • POSTED BY heathrf1974 on | January 17, 2012, 5:27 GMT

    England should win the series. I don't think many Pakistani fans understand how good England are and how far Pakistan still has to go. But the wicket will defintely make the match closer.

  • POSTED BY sk12 on | January 17, 2012, 5:25 GMT

    George Dobell - Welcome aboard.. decent first write-up. Reg the series - happy there is this series I can follow as a neutral fan, so no emotional feelings (with the way the INdian team is playing I badly needed this). But guess I would be supporting Pak. Should be a good contest.

  • POSTED BY Hussain_KSA on | January 17, 2012, 5:00 GMT

    Teesra, Teesra and Teesra will be a great weapon of Pakistan against England. We all aware about the fact that is England is very week against quality spin bowling; as contrast with Sri-Lanka; Pakistan already won against Lanka in the same conditions with same bowling attack without using their special weapon(Teesra); Then against England they can definitely make a significant impact. The only worries are for Pakistan batting; If Pakistanis players can able to put runs on the board then.... There is no man, no war, no magic can able to stop Pakistan to take the series with dignity and honor!!!!

  • POSTED BY on | January 17, 2012, 4:56 GMT

    send me detail of the match.......

  • POSTED BY pak78 on | January 17, 2012, 4:55 GMT

    come on bring it on have waited a very very long time for this series good luk team pakistan v love yaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa.

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

    First test for England's No. 1 status.........

  • POSTED BY on | January 17, 2012, 4:43 GMT

    england must win....... They will remain in the top forever.... No one can compete them.....

  • POSTED BY subbass on | January 17, 2012, 4:32 GMT

    Be interesting to see how Pak do against a quality team, as the article says they have not really beaten anyone of note in their recent run. Howver they can only beat what is in front of them and they have done this quite well. England should win, but the poor record in Asia(it's actuallly mainly poor in ODI's not Tests but still) makes me think a 1-1 draw is most likely.

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

    Both teams are in good form, but i am seeing a good competition between Spin Bowling, Pakistan Got an edge over England. Both Ajmal & Rehman are in good form, where Penesar will have to give is full. Pakistan Batting is fine but they have one problem, thier defensive approach, they must have to tickle score board, likely to go with an avg of 3.50, England were good in past, they only have to set them selves on Asian piitches... anyways All the best to both teams,,, want to see good heart breaking cricket, its a gentlemen game, play it like gentleman..........

  • POSTED BY joseyesu on | January 17, 2012, 4:05 GMT

    What a title. We(IND, PAK, SRI) would like to thrash So called no.1 Eng, Emerging AUS and Respected SA in our home town. Get ready to feel the heat down under.

  • POSTED BY on | January 17, 2012, 4:02 GMT

    I think so Pakistan can beat England in these conditions because they have not played the spinners in these conditions and pakistan have good quality spinners

  • POSTED BY hasaankakar on | January 17, 2012, 3:54 GMT

    After reading so many comments and articles i have observed that almost every one is backing the English side but i want to say one thing that under estimating Pakistani side at the time when they are playing really good cricket and playing as one unit, i think that its biased. looking forward for a good contest...

  • POSTED BY satish619chandar on | January 17, 2012, 3:50 GMT

    Good dilemma for Pakistan mmanagement.. Cheema and Junaid in good form and with Wahab a good swing bowler and Umar Gul the most experienced, they can bank on any two who ll be picked.. Anyways, Pakistan should look to play two spinners..

  • POSTED BY ktmguy on | January 17, 2012, 3:47 GMT

    I am waiting for a breathtaking test series after seeing a one sided contest between India and Australia. Hope this test series will fulfill all cricket lover's appetite for test cricket.

  • POSTED BY Desihungama on | January 17, 2012, 3:29 GMT

    @landl47 - Good points about Misbah's age factor, though keeping his fitness in mind, I don't see why he can't play for another 2-3 years. Most Pakistani cricketers play upto 40. whatever age is mentioned to the profile, add another two. After Misbah, there is no better person to lead the current group of players than M. Hafeez and Azhar Ali is definitely a future prospect, in my opinion.

  • POSTED BY satanswish on | January 17, 2012, 2:49 GMT

    Pakistani spinners will prove too much for Pommie batsmen.

  • POSTED BY bilalAWAN on | January 17, 2012, 2:35 GMT

    @JustIPL What's about India??? Their batting seems to be as bad on foreign pitches as ever. Lol.

  • POSTED BY anwer36 on | January 17, 2012, 2:30 GMT

    Would love to see an enthralling contest between no 1 team and a team which has gone through forgettable experiances. Time for Pakistan to show their metal.

  • POSTED BY on | January 17, 2012, 2:26 GMT

    This series is testing my patience ugghhh i can't wait for it to start =o

  • POSTED BY agneepath007 on | January 17, 2012, 1:39 GMT

    everyone is waiting for the exciting series...England are very professional and No. 1 Team without any doubt. I think even if Pakistan manage to draw the series against this England Side, it will be counted as a huge success for Pakistan. This England side is the best side of last 20 years may be. No one knows what gonna to happen and people are not making any predictions. I think lot depends on Pakistan batting. If batting clicks then Pakistan can win this series through hardwork.

  • POSTED BY cricket_fan_1980 on | January 17, 2012, 1:13 GMT

    Misbah's temperament is the greatest asset to the Pakistan camp. On another note, Straussy is one of the finest gentlemen around. Best luck to both sides and all fans for the next five days, and for the rest of January. We all hope for a cracking series!!

  • POSTED BY G4rgoyle on | January 17, 2012, 1:02 GMT

    Why would the recall of Riaz potentially be inflammatory? As Dobell himself pointed out there have been no charges laid against him. And even if his nam popped up during the hearing, in the absence of any action against him I doubt that there was even a shred of evidence to impicate him in any wrong doing. The English press and players need to move forward as their Pakistani counterparts have successfully done. I am looking forward to a positive contest between the two teams that have recently been enjoying success.

  • POSTED BY donda on | January 17, 2012, 0:51 GMT

    Just play entertaining cricket and don't disrespect each other. Just play like gentlemen and every thing will be fine. England is #1 team in the world and it will be extremely hard to beat them but it's UAE where ball spins and keep low. Spinner vs Spinner contest. Let's see who wins.

  • POSTED BY on | January 16, 2012, 23:48 GMT

    Nice article. I expect Pakistan to win, but I bloody hope we see more exciting cricket from both sides, unlike India's in Australia.

  • POSTED BY on | January 16, 2012, 23:28 GMT

    Pakistan must let play ANWAR ALI, specially in ODI matches against England. He is one of the best alrounder. Please don't waste this talented cricketer PCB.

  • POSTED BY JustIPL on | January 16, 2012, 23:15 GMT

    I think pak have been as good and as bad as they were and have lived to their reputation of having few very good batsmen, bad opening stands, supported by bowling with varying degree of potency. The way england mauled the so called numbher one of the past is a good enough measure of their potential.

  • POSTED BY AMUSMANI on | January 16, 2012, 21:55 GMT

    Best of Luck Pakistan Team. Our all best wishes are with you. Insha ALLAH we are going to win the series.

  • POSTED BY on | January 16, 2012, 21:49 GMT

    Best of lick Pakistan .... Pakistan will win this series 2-0 or 1-0 . i ca say from the englands batting in th tour matches. they r afraid internally but showing tht they r not bothering.. their technique is going to be flopped against saeed ajmal.. and in recent past Pakistan had super series. they r going to be top ranked team within 2 years . they should continue this tough work... England should take Younis big threat than saeed ajmal coz he will grind swan nd panesar with his sweeeps.. coz hes the best batsman of spin at the moment :)

  • POSTED BY AbdullahShaikh on | January 16, 2012, 21:32 GMT

    On the first couple of days the direction of the series will be knwon. even on the first day itself thngs will be a little clearer. simply if england can adapt to the pitch and conditions they will be dangerous, otherwise not.

  • POSTED BY Goldeneye175 on | January 16, 2012, 21:25 GMT

    Regardless of the conditions, taking the wickets of Cook, Trott, and Bell, is going to cost mega-runs!

    Throw in Strauss (on-off success), KP (if he is in form, god help Pakistan bowlers), Morgan (underestimate him at your peril, he may be the junior batter but he has the skills and strong potential), and Prior (best wicket-keeper batsman in the world, destructive strike-rate when bowlers are tiring).

    Finishing with Broad (reliable for upping the total in time for a declaration, with Prior), Swann (able to score a few wild slogs to the ropes), and Anderson (who is developing a reputation as a better nightwatchman)...lucky Bresnan isn't fit to add to the batting power in our ranks.

    ---

    Please don't confuse our ODI form with our Test form, England are No.1 for a reason, that they have immensely strong batting seam throughout the team, have improved massively in fielding, and their bowling strength gives them every chance of taking 20 wickets.

    Good luck with taking 20 English wickets!

  • POSTED BY SirViv1973 on | January 16, 2012, 20:37 GMT

    I also wanted to add to my previous post, that you also mentioned Pak are looking for their 4th straight series win, since when was a one off test (v Zim) a series ? and just one more thing I would add Eng record in Aus was pretty poor going in to the last Ashes series and this side did pretty well down under last time.

  • POSTED BY on | January 16, 2012, 20:03 GMT

    would be a cracker of a series.. Best of Luck to both the teams..English Lads.. vs Team Green! 6:00 GMT :) can't wait..

  • POSTED BY Cpt.Meanster on | January 16, 2012, 19:59 GMT

    Well.. England's first true test as a no.1 team begins here. While I am confident of them putting up a good show, I won't be surprised by a Pakistani victory either. Pakistan have played many games in the UAE the last 2 years or so. So they know the conditions better than England who are coming into the series after a long holiday break. The key for England will be to counter Pakistan's spinners. On the flat UAE tracks the fast bowlers from either team might struggle. The key will be spin and how the English batsmen bat. If England can consistently score big runs.. then it will be that much easier for their bowlers to trouble Pakistan's batsmen. It's all very exciting. Do England deserve the no.1 status ? we shall see soon. Good luck to both teams.

  • POSTED BY SirViv1973 on | January 16, 2012, 19:57 GMT

    Sorry George but I really don't think this is a great article. Yes Eng's record in Asia isn't great but they have never played a test in the UAE before. They did win their last test series in Asia all be it against Ban and were unlucky to loose the series in India in 08 and drew there with almost a second string side in 06. I think it's also fair to say this team and management haven't played a series in Asia - Bang so, what happened with previous Eng may well not have a huge bearing. I could be wrong but I also don't think Eng will go with 2 spinners and 2 seamers, if Monty plays then I think it will be at the expense of Morgan & not Tremlett who looks like he will get the nod over Finn. I was also surprised to see you thoughts on Pak selection most Pak fans on here are expecting Junaid to play and most don't seem to think Riaz is in the frame although I would agree that they will go will 2 spinners as I think they feel the Eng batters or more Vulnerable to them than the quicks.

  • POSTED BY CharlesCrasto on | January 16, 2012, 19:57 GMT

    I was a bit skeptical when Misbah was handed the captaincy - Im sure a lot of Pakistanis were. I nearly went in a fit when Misbah decided to give up on the run chase in NZ. But now, as the writer has so correctly pointed out, this is exactly what the doctor ordered for Pakistan's cricket. He has brought the much needed stability and predictability to the team. Can't wait for this series. Good luck to both the teams!!

  • POSTED BY landl47 on | January 16, 2012, 19:49 GMT

    It's a pity for Pakistan that Misbah, now 37, has come to the job so late in his career. Had he become captain when Inzamam retired, he might have enabled Pakistan to avoid the problems encountered when Yousuf and Younis were captain and to have kept Amir, at least, from getting involved in the betting scandal. He's done a great job in the circumstances, but age will catch up with him before much longer. Who then will lead Pakistan along the right path?

  • POSTED BY r1m2 on | January 16, 2012, 19:32 GMT

    I think this England team is very very good. But I think under Misbah this Pakistan team in the subcontinent like pitches/environment will provide good competition. So, I am looking forward to a good contest.

  • POSTED BY on | January 16, 2012, 19:31 GMT

    THIS NO. 1 STATUS IS OVER DONE. TEAMS AT NO 1 NEED TO DOMINATE OPPOSITION INDIA AND ENGLAND MAY BE BULLIES AT HOME BUT AWAY NOT TRUE. WEST INDIES WERE AND AUSTRALIA WERE.

  • POSTED BY on | January 16, 2012, 19:03 GMT

    PAKISTAN TEAM IS AWESOME,IT WILL GIVE TOUGH TIME TO ENGLAND, WE PRAY FOR TEAM PAKISTAN 'S VICTORY,PAKISTAN ZINDABAD,

  • POSTED BY WeeBee on | January 16, 2012, 18:56 GMT

    Lets see how it goes , it would be a contest worth watching "A fight between Pakistani top spin against English Strong Batting" ....

  • POSTED BY ahtasham.rvj on | January 16, 2012, 18:45 GMT

    well England are the no. 1 team in the world having a lots of world class batsmen....but they haven't yet proved themselves in Asia...on the other hand Pakistan had played extremely well cricket in last couple of series and they had a fantastic 2011...for me Pakistan still has the upper hand in these slow turning wickets...hope Umer Akmal will the part of playing XI.....waiting for Ajmal's teesra..best of luck Pakistan

  • POSTED BY ShoaibAfridi on | January 16, 2012, 18:45 GMT

    Best of luck Pakistan.Allah humay kamyab kare.

  • POSTED BY on | January 16, 2012, 18:43 GMT

    just to make the correction, riaz dis take fie wickets on debut at oval, but it wasntt the final test... the unfortunately famous final test was in Lords

  • POSTED BY honestno2 on | January 16, 2012, 18:37 GMT

    Cant Wait........best Of Look Pak....Whole nation is with you.......

  • POSTED BY hhillbumper on | January 16, 2012, 18:31 GMT

    lets hope its a good clean fight and may the best team win.For England to have any credence as a test team then they need to win abroad as well. Though the overseas record has not been bad in the last few years

  • POSTED BY on | January 16, 2012, 18:30 GMT

    Pakistani players will play each match of the series as their last match(keeping in minds their series result in the past)

  • POSTED BY Syed_imran_abbas on | January 16, 2012, 18:29 GMT

    Very nice article, very unbaised... and only bit which is blurry is jonathan trott and riaz's issue which was basically agitated by Trott.. I hope england stays in good sports spirit and positive.. i am expecting this series to be more interesting then austrailia india series.. good luck to both teams and figures are crossed

  • POSTED BY on | January 16, 2012, 18:25 GMT

    All the Best Pakistan.. Hope they will beat England this time :)

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

    the writer needs to make corrections... 1. the Oval test of 2010 wasn't the final test of the series 2.Wahab Riaz doesn't swing the ball both ways, he can only swing it away from the right hander with the angle but can't swing it in.

  • POSTED BY bumsonseats on | January 16, 2012, 18:10 GMT

    your piece say england have not done well in asia. but not this england side because as yet this team in tests have not a yet played a test in asia. we were beaten 5 - 0 in india in odis, but let face it we have been beaten everyere in odis. lets wait till after the SL series.if wwe are unbeaten after that. then i cannot see us been overtaken as #1. and beat SA which i think we will. go into the ashes 2013 still #1 things look rosy. dpk

  • POSTED BY WattaBowler on | January 16, 2012, 18:07 GMT

    I'm grateful to Misbah already - currently we need a team which learns how to be disciplined and consistent, and continues to grind out results. Once we get to a stage where we are consistently continuing to win test series, and some of the younger members of the squad (Umar Akmal) included have found their comfort zone in test cricket, we can look to be more aggressive in Tests (Aussie style).

    For now, a result will do...and that means that if there's a position against England where Pakistan can either go for the same draw or the risky victory, we go for the safe draw

  • POSTED BY Shan156 on | January 16, 2012, 18:04 GMT

    "Riaz took five wickets in an innings on debut during the Oval Test of 2010, the final Test of an ill-fated series."

    Riaz did take five wickets at the Oval but that wasn't the final test. That was the third test which Pakistan won. The final test was at Lord's where England won to take the series 3-1.

  • POSTED BY rivernile on | January 16, 2012, 18:01 GMT

    "..because both these teams are a work in progress." I disagree with you Mr. Dobell. England is the best team in the world and rightfully so. I can see this statement as the case for Pakistan, but not for England. I do hope that Pakistan side fields both Wiaz and Cheema. They are both excellent bowlers.

  • POSTED BY Hussain_KSA on | January 16, 2012, 17:58 GMT

    Teesra, Teesra and Teesra will be a great weapon of Pakistan against England. We all aware about the fact that is England is very week against quality spin bowling; as contrast with Sri-Lanka; Pakistan already won against Lanka in the same conditions with same bowling attack without using their special weapon(Teesra); Then against England they can definitely make a significant impact. The only worries are for Pakistan batting; If Pakistanis players can able to put runs on the board then.... There is no man, no war, no magic can able to stop Pakistan to take the series with dignity and honor!!!!

  • POSTED BY on | January 16, 2012, 17:54 GMT

    I CANNOT WAIT FOR THIS SERIES - Regards RSA fan.

    Good luck to both teams, I am completely neutral.

  • POSTED BY MNBBappy on | January 16, 2012, 17:41 GMT

    its the best time for pakistan to prove then self ...........n i will pray for then

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

    kudos to the Pakistani team on how they've rehabilitated after the spot-fixing debacle. This proves they've always a good team but bad management has led to them straying from their path. Just maintain stringent checks on suspicious activities, and then let the team do its magic

  • POSTED BY SteveX on | January 16, 2012, 17:31 GMT

    England should drop Morgan for this one, with Prior batting at 6 and Panesar coming into the side. The batting is strong enough to go with 5 batsman plus Prior, and England could use an extra bowler in these batsman-friendly conditions.

    As regards Pakistan, the fixing issue is difficult to ignore. Many players in the current side have been influenced by bookies in the past, including Hafeez, Umar Akmal and the captain Misbah, whose innings against India in the world cup semi we all remember. Oh, and I have also learned that Ajmal's last over against Aus in the world 20-20 in the Caribbean in 2010 was also deliberate. Many of the current Pak squad played in the fixed Sydney test of 2010. We can't ignore the issue as much as the Pak fans would like it to be swept under the carpet.

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

    this series gonna good to watch best of luck pakistan team

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

    this series gonna good to watch best of luck pakistan team

  • POSTED BY SteveX on | January 16, 2012, 17:31 GMT

    England should drop Morgan for this one, with Prior batting at 6 and Panesar coming into the side. The batting is strong enough to go with 5 batsman plus Prior, and England could use an extra bowler in these batsman-friendly conditions.

    As regards Pakistan, the fixing issue is difficult to ignore. Many players in the current side have been influenced by bookies in the past, including Hafeez, Umar Akmal and the captain Misbah, whose innings against India in the world cup semi we all remember. Oh, and I have also learned that Ajmal's last over against Aus in the world 20-20 in the Caribbean in 2010 was also deliberate. Many of the current Pak squad played in the fixed Sydney test of 2010. We can't ignore the issue as much as the Pak fans would like it to be swept under the carpet.

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

    kudos to the Pakistani team on how they've rehabilitated after the spot-fixing debacle. This proves they've always a good team but bad management has led to them straying from their path. Just maintain stringent checks on suspicious activities, and then let the team do its magic

  • POSTED BY MNBBappy on | January 16, 2012, 17:41 GMT

    its the best time for pakistan to prove then self ...........n i will pray for then

  • POSTED BY on | January 16, 2012, 17:54 GMT

    I CANNOT WAIT FOR THIS SERIES - Regards RSA fan.

    Good luck to both teams, I am completely neutral.

  • POSTED BY Hussain_KSA on | January 16, 2012, 17:58 GMT

    Teesra, Teesra and Teesra will be a great weapon of Pakistan against England. We all aware about the fact that is England is very week against quality spin bowling; as contrast with Sri-Lanka; Pakistan already won against Lanka in the same conditions with same bowling attack without using their special weapon(Teesra); Then against England they can definitely make a significant impact. The only worries are for Pakistan batting; If Pakistanis players can able to put runs on the board then.... There is no man, no war, no magic can able to stop Pakistan to take the series with dignity and honor!!!!

  • POSTED BY rivernile on | January 16, 2012, 18:01 GMT

    "..because both these teams are a work in progress." I disagree with you Mr. Dobell. England is the best team in the world and rightfully so. I can see this statement as the case for Pakistan, but not for England. I do hope that Pakistan side fields both Wiaz and Cheema. They are both excellent bowlers.

  • POSTED BY Shan156 on | January 16, 2012, 18:04 GMT

    "Riaz took five wickets in an innings on debut during the Oval Test of 2010, the final Test of an ill-fated series."

    Riaz did take five wickets at the Oval but that wasn't the final test. That was the third test which Pakistan won. The final test was at Lord's where England won to take the series 3-1.

  • POSTED BY WattaBowler on | January 16, 2012, 18:07 GMT

    I'm grateful to Misbah already - currently we need a team which learns how to be disciplined and consistent, and continues to grind out results. Once we get to a stage where we are consistently continuing to win test series, and some of the younger members of the squad (Umar Akmal) included have found their comfort zone in test cricket, we can look to be more aggressive in Tests (Aussie style).

    For now, a result will do...and that means that if there's a position against England where Pakistan can either go for the same draw or the risky victory, we go for the safe draw

  • POSTED BY bumsonseats on | January 16, 2012, 18:10 GMT

    your piece say england have not done well in asia. but not this england side because as yet this team in tests have not a yet played a test in asia. we were beaten 5 - 0 in india in odis, but let face it we have been beaten everyere in odis. lets wait till after the SL series.if wwe are unbeaten after that. then i cannot see us been overtaken as #1. and beat SA which i think we will. go into the ashes 2013 still #1 things look rosy. dpk