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Just how bad are Pakistan overseas?

Pakistan's batting average in the southern hemisphere in the last 20 years has been 27.32 Getty Images

Both the idea and the practice of "Pakistani democracy" are fragile concepts, ones that have been regularly disrupted by military takeovers. So perhaps it was inevitable that a few out-of-touch lawmakers went into a huff when they perceived the cricket team's push-ups at Lord's as being meant to support the army - and not the trainers in the army they were actually meant to be a tribute to. The team ritualised the celebration over the England tour. It became an immediate way of showing the unity of the side, and their self-belief.

There were no push-ups in New Zealand over the past month, and beyond the poor performances it was also because, unlike when they went to England, Pakistan had zero preparations for this tour. Instead of a month-long bootcamp and tour matches, Pakistan's first bat on the tour was in a Test match.

What followed over the next four innings rekindled a ritual that many of us have now got used to - waking up at odd hours to watch a procession of Pakistani batsmen edge it to the cordon and help the team collapse. The longer I sat through the cold nights of this tour, the more I became exasperated at the intense feeling of déjà vu invoked by watching another collapse.

What made this exasperation worse was the smug declaration by some Pakistani analysts and ex-cricketers that this team had finally been shown up and its lack of talent exposed. Most of us already know that the current lot distinguishes itself by its hard work, not its natural skill, but at the same time I couldn't stand this whitewashing of the past, given that fans like me had performed the same ritual of watching terrible batting from Pakistan many times over. Indeed, during the couple of decades I've watched the team, other, infinitely more talented batsmen had always been a major disappointment on away tours.

"Most of us already know that the current lot distinguishes itself by its hard work, not its natural skill, but at the same time I couldn't stand this whitewashing of the past, given that fans like me had performed the same ritual of watching terrible batting from Pakistan many times over"

Let's take a look at the numbers of Pakistani batsmen in comparison to their Asian counterparts. Starting with averages outside Asia (last 20 years, with a 300-run minimum) you can immediately see how only two Pakistanis - Mohammad Yousuf and Taufeeq Umar - make it to the top ten. If you remove West Indies and Zimbabwe, two sides that have been weak in this era, and whose conditions are more familiar, then Taufeeq, Umar Akmal and Younis Khan are the only Pakistanis in the top ten; and the former two were never regular members of the side. Yousuf also averages more than 40, but stalwarts like Inzamam-ul-Haq and Saeed Anwar fall below that mark, and the allrounder Azhar Mahmood follows a few runs behind.

Moving from individual to team batting records, the difference becomes starker. Pakistani batsmen, over the past 20 years, are comfortably the lowest- and slowest-scoring of the three Asian sides outside their home continent.

If you sort the batting figures by host country, you'll see that Pakistan's records are the worst in every country save New Zealand and Zimbabwe.

But let's delve a bit deeper. Why not break down the away records further, coupling the swing-friendly green wickets of England and New Zealand in one category, and the sun-baked, bouncy pitches of Australia and South Africa in the other? It would also provide better insight into the records, as over the past two decades Pakistani batsmen have only had two bad tours in the first two countries - 2010 in England and 2016 in New Zealand.

When it comes to England and New Zealand, over the past 20 years only 35 Asian batsmen have scored more than 300 runs. Four Pakistanis are in the top ten when it comes to averages - Inzamam, Yousuf and Younis are in the top five, while Umar Akmal's magical debut lands him at No. 7. Sorted by hundreds, Yousuf and Younis have four and three, while Inzamam is one of several Asians with two hundreds.

As can be seen, Pakistani batsmen haven't done badly in these two countries, but the toppers muddle the results. Sort the list by ducks and six Pakistanis are in the top ten. What is more interesting is that Sri Lanka - who started their Test journey much later and typically play shorter tours, with less time to acclimatise - have more batsmen (14) on the batting averages list than either India or Pakistan.

Things become worse overall as we move to the warmer climes of South Africa and Australia. Here, 27 Asian batsmen have made over 300 runs in the last 20 years, with Sri Lanka once again punching above their weight to end up with almost as many on the list (seven) as Pakistan (eight), while India pull ahead with 12.

Sorted by averages, three Pakistanis make it into the top ten, with Saeed Anwar at four the only regular batsman. Along with Salman Butt and Mahmood, he is one of the three Pakistanis to average above 40 in these countries. Out of the holy trinity, Younis ends up 13th, while Yousuf and Inzi languish further back, averaging under 30. Only four Asians have more than two hundreds at these venues, while the three Pakistanis in the top ten all have two. Both Butt and Mahmood played just six Tests apiece in South Africa and Australia, while Taufeeq, who has a hundred and a fifty to his name in those countries, only played two Tests there.

My favourite stat to emerge from all this was the number of ducks in both sets of data. Given that his name was brought up by so many experts as a batting selection for the tours down under, it is interesting to see Kamran Akmal top the lists for most ducks in both sets of venues. He has five ducks in New Zealand and England, and another four in South Africa and Australia.

Perhaps that is why his fans were so anxious to bring him on board. With such testing tours coming up, perhaps they wanted to ensure that they would not be deprived of their usual ritual of watching Pakistani batsmen fail.