Pakistan v England, 2nd ODI, Abu Dhabi February 15, 2012

Cook's class exposes Pakistan

George Dobell in Abu Dhabi
England's captain led from the front in another impressive win and while Misbah-ul-Haq tried to respond Pakistan suffered from some basic errors
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This game could have been a tale of two captains. While Alastair Cook and Misbah-ul-Haq both batted impressively, only one of them enjoyed much support from his team and was, as a consequence, able to progress to provide the match-defining innings.

Cook, once again, batted beautifully. Calm, assured and classy, he became the first England captain to record centuries in successive ODIs and only the ninth England players to do so. More importantly, he earned his England side an unassailable 2-0 lead in the four-match series.

Misbah might have been able to thwart Cook. With 67 deliveries remaining, his side required only 72 more runs and had six wickets in hand. Instead, Pakistan's captain could do little but look on as England's seamers picked off his team-mates. While Cook was supported by an excellent display in the field and some sensible support with the bat, Misbah had to content with a wicketkeeper who resembles a colander and a lower-order as brittle as a crisp.

So, how much does this result represent an improvement in the form of the England team, or how much is it simply the result of the outstanding form of its captain?

The answer is a bit of both. Cook has not been the only England player to enjoy a good series to date: Steven Finn has bowled with pace, hostility and skill to claim four wickets in each match, while Ravi Bopara, for the second game in succession, showed he has developed the substance to go with his style in contributing an important half-century.

There were other promising signs for England. Kevin Pietersen looked in better form, though the familiar manner of dismissal was a worry, while Samit Patel bowled with intelligence and control. He fielded well, too, while James Anderson and Graeme Swann also enjoyed good games with the ball. Those are highly encouraging signs. But take Cook - playing the best limited-overs cricket of his life at present - out of the equation and the margins between these teams is minimal.

One area in which England have a clear edge is fielding. In a game decided by a margin of 20 runs, it may well have been the key factor. Indeed, had Umar Akmal held on to a simple chance offered by Cook when he had 28, Pakistan might have won. Later Mohammed Hafeez admitted Pakistan were "not the best fielding side in the world" but that they had "tried their level best." He also inadvertently offered the faintest of praise for Akmal's keeping by stating "he's done it before." At international level, that should be a prerequisite.

Perhaps England also benefited from some fortune. Craig Kieswetter and Stuart Broad both dropped chances, but Pakistan were unable to take advantage, while Cook admitted that winning the toss was "advantageous". Still, England won the toss at times in India and were unable to take advantage. They are showing signs of progress.

Pakistan have a serious issue with the balance of their side. The fragility of their batting has seen Akmal pressed into service as a wicketkeeper and, as things stand, he simply is not up to the job. Here it was his reprieve of Cook that cost his side. In the previous game it was his missed stumping of Bopara. Pakistan cannot afford such profligacy. It is hard to think of a poorer keeper in the international game.

The problem is compounded by the frailty of the Pakistan tail. Abdur Rehman - who wasted 12 balls in scoring just 1 - looks a couple of places too high at No. 8, while his fellow bowlers are all No. 11s. Azhar Ali, playing his second ODI, may well develop into a fine player in this format, but at present there is too much required of Misbah.

For it was not just the runs Cook scored that mattered, but that he soon calculated what a good score was on this surface and ensured England reached that target. Such precise judgement is not easy to acquire

Misbah's record as part of a chasing side is little less than extraordinary. In games where Pakistan have won batting second, Misbah averages 85. Here, with just a little support, he might have seen his side to victory, but his partners left him with too much to do. Even Shahid Afridi, for all his appeal, has become so hit and miss with the bat, that he has passed fifty only once in his last 28 ODI innings. Indeed, he has passed fifty only 38 times in his 336 game ODI career. Which means he has not passed fifty in 298 games.

In their last 27 ODIs, Pakistan have registered a score of 250 or more just three times. While that statistic is slightly misleading - Pakistan have won many of those games batting second - it does confirm one suspicion: the strength of Pakistan is in their bowling attack. But until they can find another all-rounder or two, the balance of the side will remain an issue. Hammad Azam is one option if the selectors decide to embrace youth; Mohammad Sami another if they opt for experience.

In that context, Cook's century was all the more impressive. For it was not just the runs Cook scored that mattered, but that he soon calculated what a good score was on this surface and ensured England reached that target. Such precise judgement is not easy to acquire. It was telling that his 118-ball century contained 59 dot balls. In some circumstances that would suggest an inability to manoeuvre the ball but here, on a slow pitch, it demonstrated a cool head and an impressive ability to read the game. Indeed, it represented good leadership. Cook is growing into the role of captain and opening batsman by the day. He has proved many doubters wrong.

"From about 25 overs into our innings, I thought that 250 was a good score," Cook said. "Maybe we should have scored 260-265 from the position we were in, but in the past England teams might have tried to score 280 and been bowled out for 220. If it had turned out that 250 was not a good score, it would have been my fault."

Cook credited the improvement in his ODI form to a period in the county game. "When I was out of the England ODI side, I knew that if wanted to play one-day cricket for England I had to improve," he said. "I had to score quicker. That's what I went to work on with Graham Gooch and the Essex boys. The experience I gained playing those two years for Essex - especially a year-and-a-half playing T20 cricket for Essex - forced me to expand my game and helped me realise what I could do. I'd love to be in the T20 side, too, but it's a totally different format and I'm not in it at the moment." In form like this, however, it is quite possible Cook could be added to the squad.

There was, at least, an encouraging sight off the field from a Pakistan perspective. The Pakistan and Indian ambassadors to the UAE watched the game together and, it is understood, talked in broad terms about the possibility of a series between the sides, quite possibly in the UAE and with an aspirational date of 2013. Both ambassadors will now report back to their respective governments before more formal talks take place.

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • A_Vacant_Slip on February 18, 2012, 18:55 GMT

    @g.narsimha on (February 18 2012, 05:38 AM GMT) what dominant force?!?!? India were NEVER a "dominant force"!!! So, you are calling England beating South Africa IN South Africa in 2004/5 and England beating Australia IN Australia 2010/11 NOT dominant!!! So what then is dominant? India have NEVER beaten either Aus or SA away in their whole history - so how can this India performance be a "dominant" performance? Since when is NOT WINNING considered to be dominant? And now, in the last 9 months India has been found to be completely and utterly wanting whitewashed not once but TWICE in Test matches outside of India. @g.narsimha you can live on what you consider to be the past "glories" of India Not winning anything away against top test match sides if you like carry on by all means. I don't know why you are here to remind us of India inability away from home. This is Pak V Eng forum it has nothing to do with India and it's "past glories". Take them elsewhere. Please publish.

  • g.narsimha on February 18, 2012, 5:38 GMT

    VALAVAN-I cant understand ur arguments if winning a sole t20 is big achievement in the last 2 decades u can cherish it. u have asked how many matches INDIA WON in 2011 in ENG & in AUS yes none but at the same time where did ENG white washed INDIA the ANSWER AGAIN IN ENG so in that analogy ENG can only beat in ENG that too after a decade as we won in 07n , drew in 02 & won odi series in all previous tours agreed we had 2 white washes, on same lines u too had 2 white washes first in IND 5-0 , now in uae than what is the big issue , stats availaBLE IN THIS VERY SITE PROVE that we are the dominant forcre in home &away during the last 2 decades baring recent home wins u have nothing , after 3-0, in tests , 5-0 in odis it is proved u r worse than INDIA in outside eng , pl counter me with stats not with one home win , ur coments on our batsmen are not apriciated , we never comented on ur bowlers , batters in this way , but they dont need certificates as they proved their class erlier

  • kp289 on February 17, 2012, 7:46 GMT

    cook's transformation has splendid... cook has given a slap on the faces of hte critics... both of his two hundreds match winning....!!!!

  • Valavan on February 17, 2012, 6:57 GMT

    @gerard periera, haha laughing stock but still you lost the T20 in India and giving Diwali excuse, btw how many matches did india win in england in 2011. Just before England visited India, how many indian players ran away, Gambhir, Harbhajan and so called Viv richards (Sehwag, haha call him richards when he plays in india) who said he is fit before the 3rd test after bagging king pair he said he was not ready. Broad had injury and now bresnan had injury, we stuck to rotation policy so thats why anderson rested, not like India who justified that THEY CAN NEVER PLAY MOVING BALL, last 8 test losses completely justified that. You can write your Billion excuses in this forum or any forum or howl more, INDIA is just a team that can win only at home.cricinfo please publish.

  • aracer on February 17, 2012, 1:09 GMT

    @passionate_cricket_follower - don't worry about Cook getting dropped from ODIs like Laxman was. Unlike Laxman he's the captain - given expectations of English ODI performance, they'd have to start losing consistently to Bangladesh and Ireland (no sniggers at the back) for anybody to consider dropping him as captain before the next WC. In any case, you just have to check the respective stats - you have to really cherry pick Laxman's to find a period when he got near Cook's average as captain, and he was never anywhere near Cook's current strike rate. In fact Cook has the highest average EVER for a captain opening the batting in more than 10 matches, and amongst the top few for strike rate.

  • Sports4Youth on February 16, 2012, 22:57 GMT

    Looks like Misbah has taken a special liking for White-washes. If you can't inflict it on your opposition, then accept it. But White-wash it must be. That way the records look clean. No Complications, no mess. simple straigth forward thinking. May be Misbah will make some sort of record about white washes.

  • on February 16, 2012, 18:34 GMT

    Afridi once again played a really horrible ugly swipe at a time when Pakistan seemed to be in control of the run rate. That was very stupid and irresponsible of him esp. knowing full well that there was n't much batting to come after him ... brainless to the core (with the bat. I admire Afridi the bowler). One could also argue that Umar Akmal's shot too was unnecessary esp. as he had just hit the previous ball to the boundary. Like Afridi, Umar does not use his brain when batting

    Does one really need to slog when the RRR is 7.0? Sensible batting, milking singles and twos with the odd boundary here and there does it most times

    But Pakistan are not helping themselves by playing test players - Asad, Azhar, Younis and Misbah (can afford to play one of them but not both) in ODI.

    Umar Akmal should NOT be batting at # 6! He is being turned into a slogger, which he is not. He has immense talent and his talent should be used at number 4 or 5. At that number he can play his natural game.

  • on February 16, 2012, 18:31 GMT

    richardror: Yep ! England's B team that looked pretty much like the A team played India"s D team, "yawn" and still got whitewashed . Guys like Anderson and Broad opted out, faking injuries, the nightmare thrashings handed out by world beaters Ireland and Bangladesh in the world cup still fresh in their minds.

  • on February 16, 2012, 18:24 GMT

    dmqi: Are you for real ODIs and tests are two different formats. Bowling restrictions, fielding restrictions, power plays all render guys like Ajmal and Rehman as not so effective in the ODI format (ten overs each pal). Take away Cooke's two hundreds and bearing in mind he was dropped by Akmal on 27 in the second ODI and England's batting looks just as pathetic as it was in the test matches.

  • on February 16, 2012, 15:40 GMT

    I can think of a worse keeper than Umar Akmal...> Kamran Akmal. Neither of whom are even the best keeper in their family.

  • A_Vacant_Slip on February 18, 2012, 18:55 GMT

    @g.narsimha on (February 18 2012, 05:38 AM GMT) what dominant force?!?!? India were NEVER a "dominant force"!!! So, you are calling England beating South Africa IN South Africa in 2004/5 and England beating Australia IN Australia 2010/11 NOT dominant!!! So what then is dominant? India have NEVER beaten either Aus or SA away in their whole history - so how can this India performance be a "dominant" performance? Since when is NOT WINNING considered to be dominant? And now, in the last 9 months India has been found to be completely and utterly wanting whitewashed not once but TWICE in Test matches outside of India. @g.narsimha you can live on what you consider to be the past "glories" of India Not winning anything away against top test match sides if you like carry on by all means. I don't know why you are here to remind us of India inability away from home. This is Pak V Eng forum it has nothing to do with India and it's "past glories". Take them elsewhere. Please publish.

  • g.narsimha on February 18, 2012, 5:38 GMT

    VALAVAN-I cant understand ur arguments if winning a sole t20 is big achievement in the last 2 decades u can cherish it. u have asked how many matches INDIA WON in 2011 in ENG & in AUS yes none but at the same time where did ENG white washed INDIA the ANSWER AGAIN IN ENG so in that analogy ENG can only beat in ENG that too after a decade as we won in 07n , drew in 02 & won odi series in all previous tours agreed we had 2 white washes, on same lines u too had 2 white washes first in IND 5-0 , now in uae than what is the big issue , stats availaBLE IN THIS VERY SITE PROVE that we are the dominant forcre in home &away during the last 2 decades baring recent home wins u have nothing , after 3-0, in tests , 5-0 in odis it is proved u r worse than INDIA in outside eng , pl counter me with stats not with one home win , ur coments on our batsmen are not apriciated , we never comented on ur bowlers , batters in this way , but they dont need certificates as they proved their class erlier

  • kp289 on February 17, 2012, 7:46 GMT

    cook's transformation has splendid... cook has given a slap on the faces of hte critics... both of his two hundreds match winning....!!!!

  • Valavan on February 17, 2012, 6:57 GMT

    @gerard periera, haha laughing stock but still you lost the T20 in India and giving Diwali excuse, btw how many matches did india win in england in 2011. Just before England visited India, how many indian players ran away, Gambhir, Harbhajan and so called Viv richards (Sehwag, haha call him richards when he plays in india) who said he is fit before the 3rd test after bagging king pair he said he was not ready. Broad had injury and now bresnan had injury, we stuck to rotation policy so thats why anderson rested, not like India who justified that THEY CAN NEVER PLAY MOVING BALL, last 8 test losses completely justified that. You can write your Billion excuses in this forum or any forum or howl more, INDIA is just a team that can win only at home.cricinfo please publish.

  • aracer on February 17, 2012, 1:09 GMT

    @passionate_cricket_follower - don't worry about Cook getting dropped from ODIs like Laxman was. Unlike Laxman he's the captain - given expectations of English ODI performance, they'd have to start losing consistently to Bangladesh and Ireland (no sniggers at the back) for anybody to consider dropping him as captain before the next WC. In any case, you just have to check the respective stats - you have to really cherry pick Laxman's to find a period when he got near Cook's average as captain, and he was never anywhere near Cook's current strike rate. In fact Cook has the highest average EVER for a captain opening the batting in more than 10 matches, and amongst the top few for strike rate.

  • Sports4Youth on February 16, 2012, 22:57 GMT

    Looks like Misbah has taken a special liking for White-washes. If you can't inflict it on your opposition, then accept it. But White-wash it must be. That way the records look clean. No Complications, no mess. simple straigth forward thinking. May be Misbah will make some sort of record about white washes.

  • on February 16, 2012, 18:34 GMT

    Afridi once again played a really horrible ugly swipe at a time when Pakistan seemed to be in control of the run rate. That was very stupid and irresponsible of him esp. knowing full well that there was n't much batting to come after him ... brainless to the core (with the bat. I admire Afridi the bowler). One could also argue that Umar Akmal's shot too was unnecessary esp. as he had just hit the previous ball to the boundary. Like Afridi, Umar does not use his brain when batting

    Does one really need to slog when the RRR is 7.0? Sensible batting, milking singles and twos with the odd boundary here and there does it most times

    But Pakistan are not helping themselves by playing test players - Asad, Azhar, Younis and Misbah (can afford to play one of them but not both) in ODI.

    Umar Akmal should NOT be batting at # 6! He is being turned into a slogger, which he is not. He has immense talent and his talent should be used at number 4 or 5. At that number he can play his natural game.

  • on February 16, 2012, 18:31 GMT

    richardror: Yep ! England's B team that looked pretty much like the A team played India"s D team, "yawn" and still got whitewashed . Guys like Anderson and Broad opted out, faking injuries, the nightmare thrashings handed out by world beaters Ireland and Bangladesh in the world cup still fresh in their minds.

  • on February 16, 2012, 18:24 GMT

    dmqi: Are you for real ODIs and tests are two different formats. Bowling restrictions, fielding restrictions, power plays all render guys like Ajmal and Rehman as not so effective in the ODI format (ten overs each pal). Take away Cooke's two hundreds and bearing in mind he was dropped by Akmal on 27 in the second ODI and England's batting looks just as pathetic as it was in the test matches.

  • on February 16, 2012, 15:40 GMT

    I can think of a worse keeper than Umar Akmal...> Kamran Akmal. Neither of whom are even the best keeper in their family.

  • on February 16, 2012, 15:06 GMT

    Dave Whatmore merits the appointment as coach of Pakistan cricket team solely because of the fact that he has the capability to lift the fielding of Pakistani players Pakistan's sloppy fielding cost them the second ODI and are at the risk of losing the ODI series to England.If Pakistani fielders had fielded as well as the English players did,Pakistan would have won the match.Catches win matches is a maxim that stresses the importance of fielding well to win matches.Pakistani players are butter fingered and holding on to a catch is an achievement for them.Whatmore has the unenviable task of upgrading the Pakistan players fielding to the International level.In addition he needs to get the Pakistan bowlers to hold the bat properly to add few more runs to the total before gifting their wickets.

  • BifferSpice on February 16, 2012, 14:01 GMT

    in light of cook's comments at the end, have england changed their mind yet about graham gooch? last i heard he wasn't being retained, due to money or some such nonsense. what he has done with cook has been sensational, and he must surely stay on as england batting coach

  • richardror on February 16, 2012, 12:56 GMT

    @cool2cool, India couldn't even give England a decent game, the tour ended England 8-0 India. Then we sent over a B team to India for some ODI practice and that is all India seem to remember. My money is on Bangladesh for India's next tour.

  • Guernica on February 16, 2012, 12:44 GMT

    @keptalittlelow, @dmqi - I doubt very much it will be 4-0. IF England do manage to get to 3-0, I expect they will rest Broad or Anderson or even both and bring in Dernbach or a rusty Bresnan. They might give Swann a rest too and have a look at Briggs. It's all hypothetical at the moment of course.

  • Sports4Youth on February 16, 2012, 12:18 GMT

    I think that Misbah will keep repeatig his mistakes in this ODI series and loose the series 4-0 and then get sacked from the ODI setup. In any case he is 37 and was never suited for the limited over format. His place in the side has always been questioned leave alone leading the side. He is a good Test player though. His leadership may be required in the Test side for a few years. But if Pak are to buid a team for the next WC, Misbah must go urgently, becouse in any case he will not play the next WC.

  • on February 16, 2012, 12:12 GMT

    I didn't know if there was a night watchman position exists in ODIs after I saw the way Rehman batted Yesterday (1 off 12)....hats off to Pakistan think-tank to send him after Afridi's dismissal.....it shows that they have never seen Umar Gul bat....Gul can hit some lusty blows & would have been a better bet to rotate strike with Misbah on the other end, even Saeed Ajmal would have been a better option than Rehman. I was anticipating a Pak win but their strategies were bizzare to say the least. I still remember Saeed Ajmal & Mohd. Aamer almost pulled off a win from nowhere after pak collapsed against NZ in almost the same scenario.

  • on February 16, 2012, 12:02 GMT

    @Invisibe24: If Indian pitches are so flat, then how come England could not win a single ODI out of the last 10 they played in India. England is not winning here....Pakistan is hell bent on loosing by thinking that they can win any match by playing more & more spinners. Pakistan think-tank is still on cloud9 after whitewashing England in Test Series. Little they know that balance of an ODI side is the most important factor in winning a game. They should give another chance to either Zulqarnain Haider or Kamran Akmal as both are good wicket-keeper batsman. Kamran can always open & they may get rid of Imran Farhat....they can also try Taufiq Umar as he has been doing good in Test Matches. Umar Akmal should bat between Younis & Misbah as he keeps the score ticking. Afridi would never be known as legend if he keeps on throwing his wicket as he did yesterday. 36 from 44 with Afridi & Misbah on the crease, still lost....you must be kidding

  • Sports4Youth on February 16, 2012, 11:43 GMT

    Please check the career stats of Umar Gul. Most of his wickets have come against lower ranked teams. Against better teams he has always been thrashed, expensive and wicket-less. I have been watching him for a long time now. He is like India's Ishant Sharma, showed a lot of promise at the begining, delivered none. And after all these years of games experiece absolutely nothing. Shane Warne had once described Monty Panesar as a bowler who has not played 26 matches but as a bowler who has played the same match 26 times. The same is true about I.Sharma, U.Gul, W.Riaz. These are one of the few cases in the world who promised a lot but failed miserably because they did not improve at all. If Waqar could not improve Gul and Riaz, then believe me Nobody will and of their own they never wil.

  • Invisible24 on February 16, 2012, 11:37 GMT

    @cool2cool - :) mate like you have said in your comment "in India". India can only beat any time IN INDIA....the current australian series in another proof of India's 'STRONG' batting lineup.

  • cool2cool on February 16, 2012, 10:40 GMT

    @Invisible24 : Which team was beten 5-0, 5-0 and 5-1 by India in last ODI series in India?

  • on February 16, 2012, 10:34 GMT

    Pakistan have missed a trick here.....Umar is no keeper, on miss is good enough to loose you the game! why not play him and his brother Adnan, Adnan reads the spinners far better and gave adecent showing as a test keeper, it will also add depth to the batting....question is who should they drop?? its gotta be Rehman...or cheema...Englands given a better showing in the ODI's, however their batting as deep as it goes is still frail, Cook has pretty much dealt all the blows with a solid partnership with bopara, Finns looked good, and he has taken wickets because the pakistanis dint face him in the tests....Well played to England...but i feel pakistan lost this game rather then England winning....what the hell is wrong with Afridi, does he never think when he bats??? in such a situation a senior is meant to take you home...he still thinks like a teen...grow up..u have all the talent in the world..use it!

  • keptalittlelow on February 16, 2012, 10:08 GMT

    I had predicted a 4 - 0 whitewash and I am sticking to it. Pakistan are not doing basics right, wicketkeeping is diabolic coupled with pathetic fielding. The fragility of batting was masked by good bowling, no Pakistani batsman is batting with any kind of command. Mohammad Hafiz can only score against weak bowling attacks and so are most of them.

  • dmqi on February 16, 2012, 10:06 GMT

    HARD TO BELIEVE THAT THE SAME ENGLAND TEAM COULD NOT PLAY AJMAL AND RAHMAN. NOW THEY ARE COMFORTABLE AGAINST AJMAL,RAHMAN AND AFRIDI. PAK TEAM LOOKS REAL POOR NOW. NO BATSMAN, NO BOWLER,NO WICKETKEEPER . 4-0 IS A GOOD POSSIBILITY.

  • on February 16, 2012, 9:58 GMT

    Pakistan is in big trouble...There is no balance and is in desperate need of a wicket keeper batsmen and an all rounder. Also up the order, Imran Farhat is just an extremely fragile opener. I say give Nasir Jamshed a proper go one more time as he is been doing well in Domestic and now BPL. Hammad Azam should also be given a chance down the order as he is a okay all rounding option.

  • on February 16, 2012, 9:39 GMT

    Cook is so impressive and the real difference b/w 2 sides ... well played cook and England after their horrible test series! From Pakistan.

  • Invisible24 on February 16, 2012, 9:21 GMT

    @ CricIndia208 - India is only good in India (thanks to thier flat pitches). They were just humiliated here in summer (Test 4-0, ODI 3-0). Englands needs to improve in thier batting but they are still capable to beating any side in the world.

  • khurramsch on February 16, 2012, 9:06 GMT

    poor display from pakistan & totally agree that balance is not right. experiment of umar as keeper is gone realy worse. 1st odi missed bopara he scored 49 more. this time cook scored 74 more. in batting they were pretty much in but i would say poor shots by umar & afridi. specialy afridi no need for that there only 44 needed of 36 balls.pakistan i think badly need a medium pace allrounder otherwise this tail is too long & simply cant do anything rehman wasted 2 overs by & made it more worst. imran farhat got a totaly brainfade there. & 1 must say that fielding is the major difference. england saved atleat 30 runs.

  • on February 16, 2012, 8:58 GMT

    Pakistani Team is lacking big times in three most imp. departments, i.e batting, fast bowling and wicketkeeper-batsman, Misbah's defensive captency (most imp.)... They got to make swift progress in these departments,, otherwise they will sink down the ranking very quickly,, Spinners will not win you each & every match.. & when even for world best spinner Misbaul Haq prefer to set defensive fields.. Then there is no hope...

  • Sports4Youth on February 16, 2012, 8:52 GMT

    @ Rahul_78 on (Feb 16 2012, 06:48 AM GMT) : -- Agreed. If Misbah keeps selecting part-time wicket keeper for the series, then by the end of the series Cook will get four centuries in four games.

  • Sports4Youth on February 16, 2012, 8:49 GMT

    @ Rahul_78 on (Feb 16 2012, 06:48 AM GMT) : - . AGREED. KEEPER SHOULD NOT BE A PART TIMER.

  • Sports4Youth on February 16, 2012, 8:48 GMT

    @ sabee66 on (Feb 16 2012, 02:05 AM GMT) : - . Sorry to disagree with you. Pak's streanght has always been bowling. But they gave away atleast 30-40 runs more than what the pitch deserved. This was possible because of their inablity ot produce wickets on a helpful track. This happened because the Captianship was too defensive, Poor selection of combinaiton and the persistent failure of Umar Gul as a strike bowler. This is why England scored more than what they should have got and pak could not score those runs becouse England was spot on. If Misbah keeps repeating the same mistakes then he will loose 4-0.

  • Sports4Youth on February 16, 2012, 8:42 GMT

    Regarding REGULAR WICKET KEEPER. Traditionally Pak have always made this mistake. Even when Rashid Latif was their best glove-man they chose to go with Mohsin Khan who was their worst keeper till date. The Argument of the selectors was that Mohsin was a better Bat. But Pak paid a heavy price for his keeping. Same mistake was later repeated with Kamran. Inspite of his purposefull run-out miss of Watson in Australia, he was still included in the team for his batting (which never clicked when it mattered) and he made sure that Pak did not win the WC. Now yet again instead of selecting professional wicket keepers they want to go with part-timers. Sir, What message is being passed to the WicketKeepers at the domestic level ? That they are not required at the highest level ? Wicket keeper is supposed to be the only professional fielder selected for the special job. If this attitude continues, then no one willl take this job at the domestic level.

  • stark-truth on February 16, 2012, 8:30 GMT

    @CricIndia2008 By your logic then, as England thrashed India 5-0, and Pak beat England 3-0, Indians team is a bunch of schoolkids in front of Pak team when it comes to the real brand of the game - Test cricket.

  • Rahul_78 on February 16, 2012, 6:48 GMT

    @sabee66 If you keep on picking part timers to keep you are going to have more unlucky days then the lucky ones.

  • cxiv on February 16, 2012, 6:27 GMT

    *Sami is not an allrounder.

  • stark-truth on February 16, 2012, 6:26 GMT

    Afridi, as a genuine bowler, is a world-class performer now in ODIs. To expect him to bat consistently too is something one normally asks from a bits-and-pieces player. His role has traditionally been to come in and blast a quickfire 20 or 30, which is indeed his style and temperament. When it connects, people gush and fawn over him, when he misses, knives come out, but I believe one should accept Afridi for the brilliant overall performer that he is, warts and all.

  • wc1992 on February 16, 2012, 6:07 GMT

    3 zip is enough for me ............ and really Cook class please he had 6 chances in 2 matches .....oh wait till they batting second ......BUT 3 - ZIP is enough

  • on February 16, 2012, 6:02 GMT

    Wht is Afridi doing. He is a big Flop. He should retire. He is showing off a lot. He never plays for team.

  • CricIndia208 on February 16, 2012, 5:27 GMT

    pakistan are not good enough. India beat England 5-0, therefore India are much better team than pakistan.

  • BustIPL on February 16, 2012, 5:08 GMT

    However, it is a series between england and pakistan but there is a content of india pakistan ties here as well in the shape of panesar, bopara and patel. specially patel's persistance that it is pakistan home conditions in UAE represents a particular school of thought. Also, Pakistan have remained as good or as bad as they were for so long now and always been notable performers in tournaments like the inaugaral T20 cup. They have to learn finishing ODIs from India who are the specialist in this area and India have to learn from Pakistan how to whitewash the best batting lineup of the world. In my opinion England is the best bowling side as well besides Pakistan.

  • WildAmigo on February 16, 2012, 4:49 GMT

    As the series begins.. I already comment that Cook is the only English Batsman who is real threat to Pak.. As for Paul Rone. Afridi was never a batting allrounder.. He was and is a regular bowler its a gift that he is power hitter" as i see him" on UAE pitches he should be opening the innings.. Afridi was better captaining the ODI squad rather than Mishbah. Don't know why PCB makes the same mistakes over and over again. Now in my opinion Hafeez or Azhar Ali should be ODI and T20 captains. As they secure their places in the Team

  • on February 16, 2012, 4:20 GMT

    Pakistan either need Hammad Azam or Abdul Razaq at number 8.

    Might be better to include Adnan as a keeper. Umar's missing too many chances, Better yet, play Sarfraz. Pick a non-Akmal for a change.

  • stark-truth on February 16, 2012, 3:36 GMT

    It's tad unfair to expect Afridi to do more with the bat. He has, for majority of his career, played in a Pak team blessed with powerful batting lineups and oozing with bowling all-rounders. His record shows he has held his own as a bowler. However, he has swayed many matches Pak's way through his hitting prowess which is a bonus. He has always played this way and for him to take on a different mould, is simply not possible. Yesterday he did his bit overall - 1/38 off 10 overs. To expect one of your main consistent bowlers to bat as well is simply not appropriate as his style is quite set in its cast. The agility factor he provides to fielding is also essential, as much as him being part of the think-tank on the field.

  • Adsum9936 on February 16, 2012, 3:06 GMT

    Englishman never learned to accept that they can be defeated even by our college team at our college field

  • sabee66 on February 16, 2012, 2:05 GMT

    PAKISAN DIDN"T HAD A LUCKY DAY WITH A SECOND CLASS KEEPER AND THAT IS IT pakistan played great cricket

  • jmcilhinney on February 16, 2012, 1:48 GMT

    Like many others, I had my doubts about Cook when he was recalled to the ODI team and instated as captain. It seemed he was there just as training for the Test captaincy rather than because he was the best ODI player available. I have to admit, I wasn't then, nor am I now, aware of his recent domestic limited-overs record. I was looking only at his previous international record, which wasn't great. Cook's performances soon justified his place though. Many still refused to change their view of him as a plodder, looking at his Test performances and overall ODI statistics rather than his performance since being reselected. His ODI stats since being appointed captain are excellent, even before these two hundreds. If they weren't enough to silence the critics before, hopefully this series will do so. One of the best things to note, and maybe one of the reasons many still doubt, is that Cook hasn't changed the way he plays in Tests despite his new approach to ODIs.

  • wrenx on February 16, 2012, 1:42 GMT

    @Paul Rone-Clarke Razzaq isn't injured, he's busy playing in the BPL after not being picked for the tour. His fitness has been a problem of late - it's been a long time since he's been able to bowl 10 overs and bat for any length in a game - he might have to retire to just T20s. Agree that an all-rounder is needed, though. Time to give Hammad Azam an extended run. I've seen him bowl in Ireland, and he shows a lot of promise.

  • Gizza on February 16, 2012, 0:25 GMT

    @Paul Rone-Clarke, from memory in an interview Afridi said he himself regards himself as a bowler and not an all-rounder or batsman. Even when he entered the side he was more of a bowler but the captain (I think Akram) just decided he ought to open the innings and on his debut he made a 37 ball century. But since then his batting has been going downhill.

  • Irtaza on February 16, 2012, 0:10 GMT

    Pakistan does have a real all-rounder but for some inexplicable reason they are not giving him a chance. He is in UAE with the team (Hammad Azam).

  • cheets7894 on February 16, 2012, 0:06 GMT

    Please dont quote misbahs average when pakistan is batting second - he's had his good moments true but just enough of the bad - none worse than the WC Semi and he scored 50+ there too ...

  • A_Vacant_Slip on February 15, 2012, 23:00 GMT

    This just goes to show how "under Cook-ed" England were for the Test series(...!). Under-prepared. I mean it is clear now that England CAN handle these great Pakistan spin bowlers. Sure the field settings are different but there is nothing that cannot be mastered given patience and application. Preparation is everything. Mental attitude is everything. The pastings that England Odi got in India seen now to not be representative, there was no Broad or Anderson in India. England bowling is decent even in these dry conditions. Finn is going to be outstanding for England. He is only 22! Hopefully we can go on to win this away ODI series now like we did in South Africa in 2009.

  • passionate_cricket_follower on February 15, 2012, 22:53 GMT

    VVS Laxman had a similar run in ODIs in 2003-04, to which Cook is having currently. He had 3 successive centuries, 2 against the best bowling attack of that time; 1 more century followed soon after against an attack which had the likes of Sohaib Aktar. But he was never given an extended run in ODIs for absolutely no reason! I hope Cook's ODI career does not go that way, and he be given an extended run in ODIs. I'm sure he can score many more centuries for England at the top of the order, and win many ODIs for them.

  • on February 15, 2012, 22:39 GMT

    Shahid Afridi is remembered by the public as a batsman, but his stats stack up as a bowler. They always have. His batting for the last ten years has been pretty terrible. He has only passed 50 in 9 of his last 210 ODI's. Let's put that in context. He's on a par with Swann and Harbajan and miiiiiiles behind Vettori in terms of run contribution from "spinners who bat". Village cricket is littered with players who will slog a quick 50 once or twice a season, and harsh as it may seem, that's who he most remonds me of. Bowling Afridi is far better. He is a proper spinner with real variation and skill. He is aggressive with the ball as well, capable of spinning it sharply, giving it flight, and now and then sending it down at almost 80 mph off a 3 pace run up. Pakistan need to play an extra batsman - or find a REAL allrounder. What about Azhar Mahmood? I know Razzaq is injured but Mahmood has just been snapped by the IPL? Arafat? I mean there are some around - why aren't they picked?

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  • on February 15, 2012, 22:39 GMT

    Shahid Afridi is remembered by the public as a batsman, but his stats stack up as a bowler. They always have. His batting for the last ten years has been pretty terrible. He has only passed 50 in 9 of his last 210 ODI's. Let's put that in context. He's on a par with Swann and Harbajan and miiiiiiles behind Vettori in terms of run contribution from "spinners who bat". Village cricket is littered with players who will slog a quick 50 once or twice a season, and harsh as it may seem, that's who he most remonds me of. Bowling Afridi is far better. He is a proper spinner with real variation and skill. He is aggressive with the ball as well, capable of spinning it sharply, giving it flight, and now and then sending it down at almost 80 mph off a 3 pace run up. Pakistan need to play an extra batsman - or find a REAL allrounder. What about Azhar Mahmood? I know Razzaq is injured but Mahmood has just been snapped by the IPL? Arafat? I mean there are some around - why aren't they picked?

  • passionate_cricket_follower on February 15, 2012, 22:53 GMT

    VVS Laxman had a similar run in ODIs in 2003-04, to which Cook is having currently. He had 3 successive centuries, 2 against the best bowling attack of that time; 1 more century followed soon after against an attack which had the likes of Sohaib Aktar. But he was never given an extended run in ODIs for absolutely no reason! I hope Cook's ODI career does not go that way, and he be given an extended run in ODIs. I'm sure he can score many more centuries for England at the top of the order, and win many ODIs for them.

  • A_Vacant_Slip on February 15, 2012, 23:00 GMT

    This just goes to show how "under Cook-ed" England were for the Test series(...!). Under-prepared. I mean it is clear now that England CAN handle these great Pakistan spin bowlers. Sure the field settings are different but there is nothing that cannot be mastered given patience and application. Preparation is everything. Mental attitude is everything. The pastings that England Odi got in India seen now to not be representative, there was no Broad or Anderson in India. England bowling is decent even in these dry conditions. Finn is going to be outstanding for England. He is only 22! Hopefully we can go on to win this away ODI series now like we did in South Africa in 2009.

  • cheets7894 on February 16, 2012, 0:06 GMT

    Please dont quote misbahs average when pakistan is batting second - he's had his good moments true but just enough of the bad - none worse than the WC Semi and he scored 50+ there too ...

  • Irtaza on February 16, 2012, 0:10 GMT

    Pakistan does have a real all-rounder but for some inexplicable reason they are not giving him a chance. He is in UAE with the team (Hammad Azam).

  • Gizza on February 16, 2012, 0:25 GMT

    @Paul Rone-Clarke, from memory in an interview Afridi said he himself regards himself as a bowler and not an all-rounder or batsman. Even when he entered the side he was more of a bowler but the captain (I think Akram) just decided he ought to open the innings and on his debut he made a 37 ball century. But since then his batting has been going downhill.

  • wrenx on February 16, 2012, 1:42 GMT

    @Paul Rone-Clarke Razzaq isn't injured, he's busy playing in the BPL after not being picked for the tour. His fitness has been a problem of late - it's been a long time since he's been able to bowl 10 overs and bat for any length in a game - he might have to retire to just T20s. Agree that an all-rounder is needed, though. Time to give Hammad Azam an extended run. I've seen him bowl in Ireland, and he shows a lot of promise.

  • jmcilhinney on February 16, 2012, 1:48 GMT

    Like many others, I had my doubts about Cook when he was recalled to the ODI team and instated as captain. It seemed he was there just as training for the Test captaincy rather than because he was the best ODI player available. I have to admit, I wasn't then, nor am I now, aware of his recent domestic limited-overs record. I was looking only at his previous international record, which wasn't great. Cook's performances soon justified his place though. Many still refused to change their view of him as a plodder, looking at his Test performances and overall ODI statistics rather than his performance since being reselected. His ODI stats since being appointed captain are excellent, even before these two hundreds. If they weren't enough to silence the critics before, hopefully this series will do so. One of the best things to note, and maybe one of the reasons many still doubt, is that Cook hasn't changed the way he plays in Tests despite his new approach to ODIs.

  • sabee66 on February 16, 2012, 2:05 GMT

    PAKISAN DIDN"T HAD A LUCKY DAY WITH A SECOND CLASS KEEPER AND THAT IS IT pakistan played great cricket

  • Adsum9936 on February 16, 2012, 3:06 GMT

    Englishman never learned to accept that they can be defeated even by our college team at our college field