Pakistan v England, 1st ODI, Abu Dhabi February 12, 2012

England need to defy history

48

Rarely can two teams so closely positioned in the ICC rankings have entered a series with one side so overwhelmingly fancied to win. Pakistan, fifth in the ICC ODI rankings, are expected to thrash England, sixth in the ODI rankings, in the four-match series that begins in Abu Dhabi on Monday. Some are already predicting a whitewash.

It is not hard to understand why. While Pakistan have won their last six ODI series, their last seven ODIs and 13 of their last 14, England have lost their last five. Indeed, England have won only five of their last 20 ODIs played outside the UK and, since December 12, 2005, England have won just 12 of 38 ODIs in Asia. Four of those victories came against Bangladesh and the Netherlands. Indeed, since 1987 - yes, 1987 - and excluding games against Bangladesh, England have won just one two-nation limited-overs series in Asia. Several of England's squad - Steven Finn among them - were not even born at the time.

Furthermore, Pakistan whitewashed England 3-0 in the recently concluded Test series. England's batting was woefully fragile against spin and it is anticipated that Pakistan will play a maximum of two seamers. It is possible they may even play five spinners. From an England perspective, such statistics do not justify much optimism.

Scratch beneath the surface of those statistics, however, and the picture is not so clear. Not quite so clear, anyway. England have actually won nine of their last 12 ODI series, including the last one against Pakistan. In the 2011 English season, they defeated both World Cup finalists - India and Sri Lanka - and, until the 5-0 thrashing they took in India, they seemed to be on a gentle upward curve.

Perhaps they may not prove quite the pushover some are predicting.

In many ways, Alastair Cook offers a microcosm of England's reputation. Cook, England's 50-over captain since their almost ritual humiliation at the 2011 World Cup, has received a great deal of criticism in recent times. A plethora of former players - the likes of Ian Botham, Mike Atherton and Dermot Reeve - have questioned not just his captaincy ability, but his right to a place in the side as a batsman. For evidence they cite Cook's ODI career-strike rate of 78.98, which is low for an opening batsman in this era, and his sometimes ponderous Test batting.

Again, the more recent statistics tell a slightly different story. In the home series against India and Sri Lanka, Cook scored 467 runs at a strike-rate of 95.89 and an average of 58.37. By any standards, those are impressive statistics. Even in India, where he averaged just 26.60, his strike-rate was 84.71. It means that, since he was appointed captain, his batting average is 46.15 and his strike-rate is 93.16.

Cook, like England, have had one bad series. The encounter with Pakistan may allow clearer conclusions to be drawn.

One man who will not be helping England, in the first match at least, is Jos Buttler, the 21-year-old Somerset batsman. He had been pencilled in for a place in England's middle order but will not be available for selection as his hand injury has not healed sufficiently. The injury will be monitored over the next day or two before a decision is made whether Buttler should be sent home.

Indeed, since 1987 - yes, 1987 - and excluding games against Bangladesh, England have won just one two-nation limited-overs series in Asia.

Pakistan's team is unlikely to differ too much from that which defeated Afghanistan on Friday night. It is possible Wahab Riaz could be dropped for another spinner, probably Abdur Rehman, or that Shoaib Malik will make way. Either way, it is likely that spin will be introduced very early - possibly from the start. Mohammad Hafeez, Shahid Afridi and Saeed Ajmal will form a formidable trio at the very least.

One of Pakistan's strengths is the presence of three decent allrounders in their side. Afridi's batting may not be the force it once was, but he is still a dangerous player capable of turning a game with bat or ball within a few overs. Hafeez, too, provides bowling depth, while Umar Akmal, by no means the finished article as a wicketkeeper, is a very fine batsman to find himself as low as No. 7 in the order.

Perhaps there is just one, small concern for Pakistan. While their current squad looks ideally suited to conditions in the UAE, it may prove less well balanced in Australasia, where the 2015 World Cup will be contested. Misbah-ul-Haq, Pakistan's captain, said it was "too early to think about the 2015 World Cup" and that it was better for the team "to concentrate day by day. We have to bring in some youngsters for long-term planning, but we are doing it day by day."

Misbah said the use of two new balls - one from each end - should minimise the affect of dew, but did warn against over confidence from his players. "Sometimes confidence is harmful for the team," he said. "We have to guard that." Over confidence, at least, should not be a problem for England.

England's policy is somewhat puzzling. They talk of fresh faces and building for the 2015 but their side in this game will be strikingly similar to the ones that have played over the last year or so. It is just in a slightly different order. Indeed, had Eoin Morgan and Stuart Broad not missed the series in India due to injury, England's side would be identical.

If England do lose, they may also have cause to reflect on their preparation for this series. The standard of net bowling has been well below the required standard while, for reasons that remain unclear, their warm-up game against England Lions was a day time encounter despite the fact that the series will be contested under lights. As a consequence, England are unsure how dew could affect conditions.

While Cook said that England had "tried" to stage the warm-up game under lights, he complained that England "don't have control over the wicket and groundsman and stuff." The ground authorities and PCB insisted both sides had "agreed on the schedule mutually… well in advance." A spokesman commented: "If there had been a wish from ECB for a day-night fixture it would have been addressed."

Cook, at least, took encouragement from necessity. "The one-day game dictates you have to be more positive," Cook said. "We're not going to have men around the bat all the time so it changes your mentality as a batter. It frees you up and we've got a good record against Pakistan."

To listen to some pundits, you would think that England's best hope in this series is to avoid humiliation. Cricket would not be nearly such an absorbing game, however, if it was predictable.

George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • on February 14, 2012, 15:59 GMT

    Team Pakistan's selectors / management / board / higher authorities have to think now more in PRESENT rather than settling down for typical series settlement.. If we know that the pitch is helping spinners and our spinners are doing tremendously well and our pacers are not performing good so what is the problem in realising that we should go with two specialist spinners and two supporting.. none other then Afridi and Hafeez.. England atlast got the gentle smile of Goddess of Luck and she blessed them with first win after 6 innings :) but now we've to think over our mistakes before we parished against them 0 - 4..

  • on February 14, 2012, 15:51 GMT

    Our batting is undoubtly in trouble and that is all through the test series.. I've discussed that earlier and i'd like to brief it now that we need another full time spinner now replacing shoaib malik because there is no need of one extra batsman when your other 7 specialist are collapsing yet another time since test series.. we need our spinning to be more fortified.. we need Rehman back!! and further Imran Farhat has no justified place now.. he should be replaced with Abdul Razzaq who can fire his guns with bat and can swing the ball too.. but atleast he can pitch the ball in right areas in contrary to stupidity done by Wahab Riyaz.. If we went into 2nd ODI with same combination unchanged. IT WILL BE SUBTITUTE TO SUICIDE for us and i believe that our this ODI series is in danger..

  • BarmyIan on February 13, 2012, 16:11 GMT

    Patel and Bopara aren't international standard cricketers! Think we'll win this one though.

  • on February 13, 2012, 15:42 GMT

    If we loose today's match by any means, that'll be the pace department which will be only responsible by giving away too many runs, remaining wicket less, worst economy rates.. Abdul Razzaq should be prefered over Shoaib Malik now!. I don't know when will we be able enough to consume our resources in appropriate manner without wasting time.. BPL is currently using 17 pakistani players.. i questioned why they were not selected for playing 11 or selected 16? If they were'nt worth enough than why BPL selected them? It is called talent drain and nothing else.. Damn!!!. Best of luck Pakistan for the 1st ODI!!!

  • on February 13, 2012, 15:21 GMT

    See the lack of Abdul Rehman yourself!! It could've been England All out and even might be way before 200 or just 200 plus if Abdul Rehman would be there.. Wahab Riaz's addition didn't payed up well as Gul / Riyaz combination given away 100 runs for just 15 overs at an economy rate of 6.70, that is terrible enough to narrate the facts itself.. also Wahab was only culprit for five of the six extra runs given with 4wds + 1nb. In contrary to that Spinners played really well and as far as wicket taking duo is concerned Afridi + Ajmal gave away 98 runs and taken 7 wickets in 20overs and overall spin department was also very decent, Hafeez bowled 10overs and given away only 30 runs at an economy rate of 3.0 per over and Malik with 5 overs 21 runs given.. which tells the overall spinner's story of 149 / 7 in 35 overs with just one extra conceeded.. It is stats / conclusive enough for our selectors / management to rethink the justification of another pacer!! and up Abdul Rehman straight away..

  • on February 13, 2012, 14:20 GMT

    Aspect of Pakistan's advantage over England proven wrong with current England performance, even as a Pakistani i would say that they've really learnt from their mistakes and driven the total upto 200 plus with only 4 wickets down.. as i'm writing this article Pakistan has taken two quick scalps in no time to leave England 230/6 as Captain got out after playing true captain's knock.. What i want to remind is!! see.. all 6 wickets taken by spinners Shahid Khan Afridi : 2 wkts Saeed Ajmal : 4 wkts Muhammad Hafeez & Shoaib Malik remains wicketless but maintains decent economy rate of 3.0 and 4.20 vise versa.. On the other hand Pace Attack was counterattacked by English Batsmen and not only they remained wicketless but their economy rates were Umer Gul : 5.71, Wahab Riaz : 6.37.. I don't have any idea why another pacer is introduced in the squad when spinner squad of Ajmal / Rehman / Hafeez & Afridi is/will be doing tremendous..

  • Fast_Track_Bully on February 13, 2012, 11:47 GMT

    this series will give another whitewash for England in ODIs. But they will be at the receiving ends :P. Thus the Fast track bullies will be at the end of the ODI rankings table!!

  • khurramsch on February 13, 2012, 10:04 GMT

    i dont get this. why r there such articles which shows that pak is way strong. i m pak fan want them to win 4-0 but odi is diffrent game on the day any team can win. so writting such articles which shows tht pak is way superiror than england is no way justice. i think reason is that if england lose they will say told you. if england win couple of games they will say ohh they acheived heights of k2? otherwise odi is the game on day.

  • on February 13, 2012, 9:23 GMT

    I believe Hammad Azam should be chose instead of Malik. While, Wahab Riaz should be dropped for Abdur Rehman. In this way, we'll have another spin option and we can also give proper time to Azam to adjust in international cricket. Given that a medium pace batting allrounder is needed by the team to replace the underperforming Razzaq.

  • on February 13, 2012, 9:20 GMT

    but one should not forget that even the whitewashed side has bowled you out on 99/10 once.. crumbled you many times in the 3 test matches series.. Let me remind it for us! 1. 3rd Test Match 1st innings .. 99 all out 2. 3rd Test Match 2nd innings.. 365 all out fact: 331/3 to 365/10 thats means, crumbled last 7 wickets for 34 runs. 3. 2nd Test Match 1st innings.. 257 all out fact: last 5 wickets made 9 runs, in which last four wickets scored 0. Another crumble!.

    The only thing with which we survive another terrors and over whemingly won the series 3 to 0 was Spinners awesome bowling and England's hard luck and our good luck(which helped us winning the series).. Fact file: We bowled out England all 6 times they came in for batting, that means we took atleast 60 wickets in the series. Lets see some facts..

    Spinners: Saeed Ajmal: 24wkts Abdul Rehman: 19 wkts Muhammad Hafeez: 5wkts Total : 48 wkts / 80%

    Pacers: Umer Gul: 11 wkts Aizaz Cheema: 1wkt Junaid Khan: 0wkt Total : 12 wkts / 20%

  • on February 14, 2012, 15:59 GMT

    Team Pakistan's selectors / management / board / higher authorities have to think now more in PRESENT rather than settling down for typical series settlement.. If we know that the pitch is helping spinners and our spinners are doing tremendously well and our pacers are not performing good so what is the problem in realising that we should go with two specialist spinners and two supporting.. none other then Afridi and Hafeez.. England atlast got the gentle smile of Goddess of Luck and she blessed them with first win after 6 innings :) but now we've to think over our mistakes before we parished against them 0 - 4..

  • on February 14, 2012, 15:51 GMT

    Our batting is undoubtly in trouble and that is all through the test series.. I've discussed that earlier and i'd like to brief it now that we need another full time spinner now replacing shoaib malik because there is no need of one extra batsman when your other 7 specialist are collapsing yet another time since test series.. we need our spinning to be more fortified.. we need Rehman back!! and further Imran Farhat has no justified place now.. he should be replaced with Abdul Razzaq who can fire his guns with bat and can swing the ball too.. but atleast he can pitch the ball in right areas in contrary to stupidity done by Wahab Riyaz.. If we went into 2nd ODI with same combination unchanged. IT WILL BE SUBTITUTE TO SUICIDE for us and i believe that our this ODI series is in danger..

  • BarmyIan on February 13, 2012, 16:11 GMT

    Patel and Bopara aren't international standard cricketers! Think we'll win this one though.

  • on February 13, 2012, 15:42 GMT

    If we loose today's match by any means, that'll be the pace department which will be only responsible by giving away too many runs, remaining wicket less, worst economy rates.. Abdul Razzaq should be prefered over Shoaib Malik now!. I don't know when will we be able enough to consume our resources in appropriate manner without wasting time.. BPL is currently using 17 pakistani players.. i questioned why they were not selected for playing 11 or selected 16? If they were'nt worth enough than why BPL selected them? It is called talent drain and nothing else.. Damn!!!. Best of luck Pakistan for the 1st ODI!!!

  • on February 13, 2012, 15:21 GMT

    See the lack of Abdul Rehman yourself!! It could've been England All out and even might be way before 200 or just 200 plus if Abdul Rehman would be there.. Wahab Riaz's addition didn't payed up well as Gul / Riyaz combination given away 100 runs for just 15 overs at an economy rate of 6.70, that is terrible enough to narrate the facts itself.. also Wahab was only culprit for five of the six extra runs given with 4wds + 1nb. In contrary to that Spinners played really well and as far as wicket taking duo is concerned Afridi + Ajmal gave away 98 runs and taken 7 wickets in 20overs and overall spin department was also very decent, Hafeez bowled 10overs and given away only 30 runs at an economy rate of 3.0 per over and Malik with 5 overs 21 runs given.. which tells the overall spinner's story of 149 / 7 in 35 overs with just one extra conceeded.. It is stats / conclusive enough for our selectors / management to rethink the justification of another pacer!! and up Abdul Rehman straight away..

  • on February 13, 2012, 14:20 GMT

    Aspect of Pakistan's advantage over England proven wrong with current England performance, even as a Pakistani i would say that they've really learnt from their mistakes and driven the total upto 200 plus with only 4 wickets down.. as i'm writing this article Pakistan has taken two quick scalps in no time to leave England 230/6 as Captain got out after playing true captain's knock.. What i want to remind is!! see.. all 6 wickets taken by spinners Shahid Khan Afridi : 2 wkts Saeed Ajmal : 4 wkts Muhammad Hafeez & Shoaib Malik remains wicketless but maintains decent economy rate of 3.0 and 4.20 vise versa.. On the other hand Pace Attack was counterattacked by English Batsmen and not only they remained wicketless but their economy rates were Umer Gul : 5.71, Wahab Riaz : 6.37.. I don't have any idea why another pacer is introduced in the squad when spinner squad of Ajmal / Rehman / Hafeez & Afridi is/will be doing tremendous..

  • Fast_Track_Bully on February 13, 2012, 11:47 GMT

    this series will give another whitewash for England in ODIs. But they will be at the receiving ends :P. Thus the Fast track bullies will be at the end of the ODI rankings table!!

  • khurramsch on February 13, 2012, 10:04 GMT

    i dont get this. why r there such articles which shows that pak is way strong. i m pak fan want them to win 4-0 but odi is diffrent game on the day any team can win. so writting such articles which shows tht pak is way superiror than england is no way justice. i think reason is that if england lose they will say told you. if england win couple of games they will say ohh they acheived heights of k2? otherwise odi is the game on day.

  • on February 13, 2012, 9:23 GMT

    I believe Hammad Azam should be chose instead of Malik. While, Wahab Riaz should be dropped for Abdur Rehman. In this way, we'll have another spin option and we can also give proper time to Azam to adjust in international cricket. Given that a medium pace batting allrounder is needed by the team to replace the underperforming Razzaq.

  • on February 13, 2012, 9:20 GMT

    but one should not forget that even the whitewashed side has bowled you out on 99/10 once.. crumbled you many times in the 3 test matches series.. Let me remind it for us! 1. 3rd Test Match 1st innings .. 99 all out 2. 3rd Test Match 2nd innings.. 365 all out fact: 331/3 to 365/10 thats means, crumbled last 7 wickets for 34 runs. 3. 2nd Test Match 1st innings.. 257 all out fact: last 5 wickets made 9 runs, in which last four wickets scored 0. Another crumble!.

    The only thing with which we survive another terrors and over whemingly won the series 3 to 0 was Spinners awesome bowling and England's hard luck and our good luck(which helped us winning the series).. Fact file: We bowled out England all 6 times they came in for batting, that means we took atleast 60 wickets in the series. Lets see some facts..

    Spinners: Saeed Ajmal: 24wkts Abdul Rehman: 19 wkts Muhammad Hafeez: 5wkts Total : 48 wkts / 80%

    Pacers: Umer Gul: 11 wkts Aizaz Cheema: 1wkt Junaid Khan: 0wkt Total : 12 wkts / 20%

  • on February 13, 2012, 8:04 GMT

    My supreme 11 would be..

    1. Muhammad Hafeez(bat/bowl) 2. Abdul Razzaq(bat/bowl) 3. Azhar Ali(bat) 4.+Misbah-ul-Haque(bat) 5. Younis Khan(bat) 6. Asad Shafiq(bat) 7. Adnan Akmal(bat/keeper) 8. Umer Gul(bowl) 9. Saeed Ajmal(bowl) 10. Abdul Rehman(bowl) 11. Shahid Khan Afridi(bat/bowl)

    This is the best combination with respect to everything any one can question.. Abdul Razzaq will add up an all rounder we desperately need and which will pair the only seemer in our line up.. with this addition our all rounder's list will be upto 3. Seemers' will be upto 2 and spinners will be 4 which is most terrifying for breaking up the Great Britian's Batting line up.

  • T.M.M on February 13, 2012, 6:19 GMT

    @251990. That is true that Misbah, Younis, Abdur Rehman and Ajmal are old, but Ajmal still has 4 5 years cricket left, Abdur Rehman has recently proved so he is out of picture, but we have decent backup in Umer Akmal, Adnan Akmal, Umer Amin. I wonder what will happen to Indian team when there old players like Tendulker, Dravid, Laxman will say good bye.

  • Abdullah1991 on February 13, 2012, 6:02 GMT

    Very nicely researched article. England has one more disadvantage in this series, their confidence level will be very low after losing the test series. Where as Pakistan has got the advantage of home crowd because UAE is Pakistanis' second home. Also Pakistan hasn't lost any series in UAE since past three years ao so. Best of luck Pakistan.

  • Rahul_78 on February 13, 2012, 5:29 GMT

    England be prepared to face 35 overs of quality spin from Ajmal / Afridi / Hafeez / Rehman and or Malik. There is going to be no respite for them from Misbah as Hafeez will surely open the bowling neither will Gul let them off the hook as currently he is one of the best when it comes to ODIs and T20. England will be better of playing to their strength and forget about apposition's strength or weakness. England should try to bat first and put 230+ runs on the board and not try to get too many too early. Then attack Pakistans batting which in general not as strong as their bowling. If England are made to chase anything in excess of 240 or 250 Pakistan bowlers will put some serious pressure on them with relentless quality spin bowling. Not only Ajmal but Afridi is in spectacular form recently and Poms have been thrashed 5-0 by India not so long ago.

  • OttawaRocks on February 13, 2012, 5:02 GMT

    This one will be another walkover for Pakistan 4-0. And I say that as an India fan.

  • on February 13, 2012, 4:24 GMT

    @ 251990 .. lol dude, worry about your own team please! dont worry about Pakistani players getting old. Ajmal will still be around the next time england visit south asia to play against Pakistan and that for most of your players except the 12th man is a horror show. We can build teams out of no where and beat number 1 teams like yours any day unlike you who after 30 years started to dominate against the aussies and other non asian teams outside england!

  • cricket_fan_1980 on February 13, 2012, 4:19 GMT

    The English media is being really hard on Cook and Trott. I think their ODI team needs some class and sense at the top order. All the best ODI teams in the world, each and every single one of them have a couple of classy stalwarts in the side, who they turn to at crunch times, Sanga & Jaya, Sehwag & Dhoni, Clarke & Hussey, Younis & Misbah and the list goes on. England has to groom that, guys with a solid head, the ability to steer an innings, accumulate, block out tough opposition. George Dobbell is right, on paper England look very weak because of their extremely poor record in Asia and their inability to overcome the difficulties on these tracks. They can't hide behind these difficulties because other sides like Aus and SA have consistently overcome Asian opposition in Asia. But, Mr Dobbell is right in that Pakistan have a stronger ODI side than a test side, so by looking at the recent test results, all sensible eyes would be on a BIG Pak win. Still, Eng will strike and come strong.

  • chokkashokka on February 13, 2012, 4:03 GMT

    the english are getting a taste of their own medicine - they prepared wickets so diametrically opposed to the visiting sub continental teams. While that strategy got the english team to win matches at home, they will have to contend with the same treatment abroad. It is not only in England that 20 wickets fall in a day and test matches get over in 3 days - it can happen to visitors in the sub continent as well.

  • on February 13, 2012, 3:15 GMT

    Pakistan & engalnd atleast play 2 to 3 seamers each , spin is spoiling the game , gul & ajmal must be rested , gul's recent odi record is not good enough

    also there is two new balls from each end

  • satish619chandar on February 13, 2012, 3:11 GMT

    I guess, the Pakistan ODI team just added strength in shorter formats.. Afridi is almost unbreakable as a bowler these days.. With Ajmal, Afridi and Hafeez, Pakistan just added more ammunition to their already heavily firing attack.. My 11 will be, Hafeez, Farhat, Younis, Umar Akmal(WK), Misbah, Asad/Azam, Afridi, Wahab, Gul, Cheema, Ajmal.. England unless they find out a way to hit out the spinners, its going to be a deja vu for them.. Cook, Kieswetter, Trott, KP, Patel, Bopara, Morgan, Bresnan, Broad, Swann, Finn.. This si the best 11 Englnad can have.. Hope for a close contest..

  • satish619chandar on February 13, 2012, 3:05 GMT

    @spence1324 : I too had the doubts.. May be because, India and Pakistan has the massive fan following and they play more cricket too.. George Dobrell was initially giving articles on England only for the first two tests.. May be to be more diplomatic and to give credit where it is due, he started writing on Pakistan too.. Actually, the initial part of the tour had all the articles on England only.. You can always refer mate..

  • wrenx on February 13, 2012, 3:05 GMT

    This is the same @OhhhMattyMatty who predicted 500+ declarations in every England innings during the test series, and then went oddly quiet throughout. Patel & Bresnan don't scare anyone. There isn't too much between the teams in ODIs right now, though Pakistan have done better travelling in West Indies, England and New Zealand than England have done as tourists lately. I think this series will be decided on fielding; as woeful as England are against spin, Pakistan haven't exactly scored at an express pace in ODIs in the past several years either. Even against weaker attacks, where the Gayles and Sehwags of the world will get their team 300+, Pakistan do well to achieve 250. They're *always* light on runs, and always have to depend on their bowlers to perform exceptionally. The side that fields better should clinch this series.

  • wrenx on February 13, 2012, 2:52 GMT

    @OhhhMattyMatty You're back! We've missed you!

  • zoot on February 13, 2012, 0:15 GMT

    I don't think England are rank outsiders. Pakistan start as favourites but England are very capable of winning this series.

  • samiki on February 12, 2012, 22:55 GMT

    i not sure why people question Cook and Trotts places in the side, if they get in early and both bat for the first 40 overs this should give england at least 210 + 10 overs with wickets in hand at the very least, they are not the most explosive but they do have the ability to go at 80-90 strike-rates once they get going. the only concern is that they score a slow 20, but both of them have the same goal to score 100 at around a run a ball and they seem to be in the kallis mould to guide the innings to the later stages for the rest of the team to launch. people seem to forget this is a 50 over game and that you need a few players who can bat through not people who score a quick 30 and get out!

  • on February 12, 2012, 22:23 GMT

    Some people are comparing Cook's strike rate against Misbah's, well they both should ideally increase their strike rate by 5, but Misbah is a middle-order batsmen who holds the batting together which means that he can be allowed to score moderately but Cook is an opener and nowadays openers need to have a 80-90 strike rate so that they can cash in on the field restrictions.

  • TurningSquare on February 12, 2012, 21:27 GMT

    Gutted that Buttler is still injured. I'm not sure if the Pakistani's would have had any idea of how immense a talent he is and he's far from the only one, watch out. It's a real shame Misbah, Ajmal, Younis, Rehman etc are all getting old and will have to retire soon and you'll have to rebuild yet again when you only just started to look like a team.

  • hoodbu on February 12, 2012, 19:30 GMT

    If Cook bats slow, then how does Misbah bat? Why does Cook have to justify his place in the ODI team and not Misbah?

  • donda on February 12, 2012, 18:57 GMT

    I predict england winning 3-1 this series. It's time for pakistan to show some respect to international teams and let them win too. Spin attach is so lethal therefore do not use it and let england win for the sake of good sportsmanship and for the future of their players. Not Joking.

    Nothing wrong in losing a series to make people happy. Just don't win it. It looks obvious that Pak will win it but where is unpredictability factor now. We need our Pakistani team back which was unpredictable , this team is wining and seems like boring and don't belong to Pakistan. It's UAE team not pakistani. We need to lose to live. Come on Pakistan.

  • Sports4Youth on February 12, 2012, 18:53 GMT

    Gul will surely play. So 5 spinnners is out of question. Howver if the second seamer is Hammad Azam then we could expect upto 35 overs of spin, with hammad and Shoeb Malik doing 10 overs between them. The performance of Wahab Riaz was not good against the minnows Afgani's. So I expect Junaid or Hammad Azam comming in at the expense of W.Riaz. However, the bottom line remains 30 - 35 overs of high quality spin.

  • on February 12, 2012, 18:53 GMT

    Well I am already fearing the worst in this series after the shenanigans of the test matches. I am afraid this more hope rather than expectation for England, but hopefully they can prove me wrong. Pak for the exceptional ODI team they are, do have their weaknesses, which if exploited, can be of significance. Hopefully, as they beat us at our format, we can beat them at their format, but I am not very confident at all.

  • JG2704 on February 12, 2012, 18:52 GMT

    @OhhhMattyMatty - You are joking right? Seriously we do have a chance as maybe our batsmen will play with some more freedom as they are under far less pressure as no one expects them to win.Really peeved that Buttler misses out. I also don't rate Cook as a OD player or a captain. I think Morgan might do a good job. The other thing I don't like is our batsmen's inability to work the ones and 2s and rotate strike etc. I feel we should be looking to score a run off every ball and if the four ball comes or if we can manouvre the field to create gaps for boundaries then great , but I wish we'd learn to be busier at the crease. I posted our stats in the thread re the last match and if you take away our boundary balls then most of our batsmen were going at around 50% for the remainder of the balls faced

  • JG2704 on February 12, 2012, 18:44 GMT

    @spence1324 - I hear where your coming from.If I was a Pakistan fan I wouldn't care less about the reporting if my team had won the test series 3-0.An English reporter is always going to report it as if he's reporting to the English fans.This means that if England get bowled out cheaply he would more likely lambast the England batsmen than praise the Pakistan bowling and vice versa when England bowl Pakistan out cheaply.If a Pakistan reporter covered the game I'd expect him to praise Pakistan when they score well and take lots of wickets and lambast his team when they are bowled out cheaply etc. It's just human nature and to me is not showing bias.It's not like he's blaming the toss or conditions or umpiring decs for Eng being outplayed. I see ESPN and these forums as a privilege. If we were all subscibing it would be different. Having said that on the last thread I noticed it was folk from another country who were booing about reporting bias.

  • Rajavicky on February 12, 2012, 18:42 GMT

    I would certainlt like to sandwich Umar Akmal between Younus Khan and Misbah... It will bring back the thrashing appeal to Pakistan cricket.

  • Sports4Youth on February 12, 2012, 18:41 GMT

    England need to defy history. Dear George Dobell, You could not be more Optimistic.

  • on February 12, 2012, 18:39 GMT

    George Dobel nice article:d well if Pakistan score 250 r 230 plus > England have no chance to win.becoz every one talking about saeed ajmal doosra ,shahid afridi gugly n hafeez skids.although wicket will be flat but dun ignore umar gull n wahab riaz deadly yourkers n ability to pick up wickets.its my prediction em nt pundit but i dun think so England will cross 200 runs in any of this 4 match series.so my advice to Pakistani batsman is ,,openers play sensible(hafeez n ferhat) n middle order play like test match like (misbah,younas,shoaib malik) n in da end fire works for any one of these 3 (umar akmal,afridi,asad shafiq) n wahab riaz if required.> moral 4-0 iz just a formality :p

  • JG2704 on February 12, 2012, 18:33 GMT

    @ jackiethepen - To me Bell underperforms in this format of the game. Some people say he should open but as Cook is opening that is unviable as those 2 are the slowest England OD batsmen - slower than Trott even. Bopara can bowl some useful overs. In fact I'd go as far to say that this is what keeps him in the side

  • explorer76 on February 12, 2012, 18:27 GMT

    ODI's are very different from Tests so hard to predict about ODI results based on the Test match results. England has a strong team and I don't understand why would anyone consider them pushovers? Our pakistan team isn't exceptionally strong compared to england. As for the allrounders, it works both ways. One way to look at it is that we don't have enough specialized players and rely too much on "part-time batsmen" and "part-time bowlers". I think the ODI series is wide open for anyone to take.

  • theon on February 12, 2012, 18:26 GMT

    @OhhhMattyMatty- No offence but England are horrible at ODI's outside England. Also, seriously, Samit Patel making England favourites? He's a mediocre spinner who can bat a bit, can't run and is a mediocre fielder

  • jackiethepen on February 12, 2012, 17:56 GMT

    After the 2006/7 Ashes 5-0 whitewash England won the triangular ODI Series against Australia and New Zealand. At the time none of the media cared about their triumph because of the loss of the Ashes but it could inspire Cook and Co. England also lost a Test Series to India in 2007 followed up by a classy ODI Series win. And in 2008 England lost the Test Series to South Africa and whitewashed SA in the ODI Series 4-0. Bell was prominent in all those victories. Flower dropped him in 2009 to keep Bopara in the side. Sounds familiar?

  • OhhhMattyMatty on February 12, 2012, 17:50 GMT

    This series could get embarrassing for Pakistan. With Patel and Bresnan back, England are massive favourites!

  • MN-USA on February 12, 2012, 17:29 GMT

    Although Pakistan has more variety and options in their bowling department, however, both teams have solid batting line up that goes upto 8-9 in the batting order. Pak Batting: Shahid Afridi batting at #8 with tail likes of Ajmal, Gul and Wahab (who can slog a few balls for good) looks promising but it remains to be seen how much the top order contributes. Pak definitely has an edge in the bowling department. England on the other hand has a strong batting line up that goes upto 9-10 in the order and it will be interesting to see how their bowlers coop with the conditions. (In test series bowling has been promising) TO SUM UP: ITS ALTOGRTHER A DIFFERENT BALL GAME THAN TEST AND BOTH TEAMS ARE EQUALLY STRONG...THE TEAM THAT OVERCOME THE NERVES & PERFORMS BETTER AT THE FIELD (AT TIME) WILL TAKE THE HONORS.....IT WILL BE AN INTERESTING SERIES.

  • on February 12, 2012, 17:24 GMT

    i never consider stats before any match because its not the stats but its the team effort at that day which matter at the end.No doubt pak is the fevr8 for this series but cricket is unpredictable game,but still i think current eng side have many top class players,whenevr they get back their lost cnfidnc,then their stats in asia could b changd..

  • bilalAWAN on February 12, 2012, 17:21 GMT

    Wow!!! 5 spinners!! Be afraid... Be really afraid...

  • on February 12, 2012, 17:15 GMT

    It's not a small concern...fast bowling dept is so weak of Pakistan and batting as well. Also no deputy for misbah

  • on February 12, 2012, 17:03 GMT

    The last sentence is just...EPIC! Good going, Mr. Dobell!

  • spence1324 on February 12, 2012, 16:59 GMT

    As always a another good article,but one question? why are pakistanis and indians always whining about your work?,do they think cricinfo is an exclusive site for pakistan fans or indian fans? what about fans from other countries namely ones outside of the subcontinent who can never get a word in edge ways? I am sure other fans are of the same opinion!

  • on February 12, 2012, 16:55 GMT

    England will be playing 30 overs ODI matches beginning tomorrow. If they manage to survive 30 overs of spin, it will be an interesting series else they will beaten black and blue again by Pakistan.

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  • on February 12, 2012, 16:55 GMT

    England will be playing 30 overs ODI matches beginning tomorrow. If they manage to survive 30 overs of spin, it will be an interesting series else they will beaten black and blue again by Pakistan.

  • spence1324 on February 12, 2012, 16:59 GMT

    As always a another good article,but one question? why are pakistanis and indians always whining about your work?,do they think cricinfo is an exclusive site for pakistan fans or indian fans? what about fans from other countries namely ones outside of the subcontinent who can never get a word in edge ways? I am sure other fans are of the same opinion!

  • on February 12, 2012, 17:03 GMT

    The last sentence is just...EPIC! Good going, Mr. Dobell!

  • on February 12, 2012, 17:15 GMT

    It's not a small concern...fast bowling dept is so weak of Pakistan and batting as well. Also no deputy for misbah

  • bilalAWAN on February 12, 2012, 17:21 GMT

    Wow!!! 5 spinners!! Be afraid... Be really afraid...

  • on February 12, 2012, 17:24 GMT

    i never consider stats before any match because its not the stats but its the team effort at that day which matter at the end.No doubt pak is the fevr8 for this series but cricket is unpredictable game,but still i think current eng side have many top class players,whenevr they get back their lost cnfidnc,then their stats in asia could b changd..

  • MN-USA on February 12, 2012, 17:29 GMT

    Although Pakistan has more variety and options in their bowling department, however, both teams have solid batting line up that goes upto 8-9 in the batting order. Pak Batting: Shahid Afridi batting at #8 with tail likes of Ajmal, Gul and Wahab (who can slog a few balls for good) looks promising but it remains to be seen how much the top order contributes. Pak definitely has an edge in the bowling department. England on the other hand has a strong batting line up that goes upto 9-10 in the order and it will be interesting to see how their bowlers coop with the conditions. (In test series bowling has been promising) TO SUM UP: ITS ALTOGRTHER A DIFFERENT BALL GAME THAN TEST AND BOTH TEAMS ARE EQUALLY STRONG...THE TEAM THAT OVERCOME THE NERVES & PERFORMS BETTER AT THE FIELD (AT TIME) WILL TAKE THE HONORS.....IT WILL BE AN INTERESTING SERIES.

  • OhhhMattyMatty on February 12, 2012, 17:50 GMT

    This series could get embarrassing for Pakistan. With Patel and Bresnan back, England are massive favourites!

  • jackiethepen on February 12, 2012, 17:56 GMT

    After the 2006/7 Ashes 5-0 whitewash England won the triangular ODI Series against Australia and New Zealand. At the time none of the media cared about their triumph because of the loss of the Ashes but it could inspire Cook and Co. England also lost a Test Series to India in 2007 followed up by a classy ODI Series win. And in 2008 England lost the Test Series to South Africa and whitewashed SA in the ODI Series 4-0. Bell was prominent in all those victories. Flower dropped him in 2009 to keep Bopara in the side. Sounds familiar?

  • theon on February 12, 2012, 18:26 GMT

    @OhhhMattyMatty- No offence but England are horrible at ODI's outside England. Also, seriously, Samit Patel making England favourites? He's a mediocre spinner who can bat a bit, can't run and is a mediocre fielder