West Indies v Pakistan, 1st Test, Providence May 12, 2011

Two fallen sides battle

There's no reason, though, to reconcile ourselves to the prospect of a dull series because a duel between flawed sides can be as pleasing to watch as one between high-quality sides
37

What a contest this once was, the greatest side ever seen by some, up against the greatest sides produced by Pakistan. Over three series, from the mid-80s onwards, not one inch was given by some of the greatest cricketers the game has seen, led by the two greatest cricketers the game has seen. In Guyana on Thursday, Misbah-ul-Haq and Darren Sammy will lead their sides out, not one truly great name among the 22. No disrespect to either but that is some comedown.

It is pointless, if not harmful of course, to dwell upon the past too much but one reason Pakistanis and West Indians do so is because there has been consistently so little to look forward to in the future. Both teams have forever been stuck in the process of rebuilding and yet, years and years after their peaks, they lie sixth and seventh in a nine-team sport; in a league this would be a mighty relegation battle.

In those very circumstances they meet again, rebuilding, blooding youth, looking ahead, nervous not at the size of the project ahead of them, but at its fragility and their tenuous places within it. Favourites is too strong a word for it but Pakistan come in with better recent form, if better was to mean less bad. West Indies have won one of their last 19 Test series, Pakistan one of their last 11. That one was their last assignment, in New Zealand, which for Test wins is as close as you can get to a sure thing for Pakistan.

A first-ever Test series win in the Caribbean - you almost wish they could do it in better circumstances - is nevertheless a realistic aim. Under Misbah, Pakistan has sometimes felt an inherently defensive side though given the resources at his disposal, who is to blame him? And accounting for the circumstances in which he took over, perhaps an on-field style is only as important as off-field stability and clarity.

Still there are things to look forward to. With Younis Khan out, an entirely new middle order is unveiled, in far more conducive environment than when Pakistan last tried it, in an overcast England last summer. In earnest the post Inzamam-Yousuf-Younis era begins now and Azhar Ali, Asad Shafiq, and Umar Akmal - resolute, smart and explosive - are promising candidates.

Elsewhere, a post-Kamran Akmal era may also be beginning - though you never know when he might return so in denial have managements been to his deficiencies. Mohammad Salman has impressed behind the stumps, his glovework as quiet and unnoticed as his chatter is loud and repetitive. In a busy-ish year ahead, with Tests against Sri Lanka and England, Adnan Akmal - unjustly dropped - will remain in contention as will, it is hoped, Sarfraz Ahmed whose energy and general cheeriness ought to be recognized and rewarded.

But what quality cricket there will be in this series will come from the bowling. The day Pakistan stop producing quality fast bowlers will be the real day of mourning in this country; in Umar Gul, Tanvir Ahmed and especially Wahab Riaz, they are well-served. Given his successes in the ODI series and the trouble he caused the West Indies, Saeed Ajmal will surely have a role.

For once though, the hosts - for this task at least - have at their disposal, a potentially dangerous attack too. If they can find a way and the will to play Kemar Roach, Fidel Edwards, Ravi Rampaul and Divendra Bishoo - and it is Sammy's presence as an allrounder that spoils this possibility - they could prosper. Edwards has torpedoed a stronger Pakistan before, in 2005, and both Roach and Rampaul are wicket-taking bowlers.

It is Devendra Bishoo, that wonderfully ballsy, smart and gifted legspinner who must be watched, if for no other reason than that he is the first genuinely attacking spinner the hosts have had in a while. He has a touch about him, an ability to bring about moments and on suitable surfaces, can really break a ball

But it is Bishoo, that wonderfully ballsy, smart and gifted legspinner who must be watched, if for no other reason than that he is the first genuinely attacking spinner the hosts have had in a while. He has a touch about him, an ability to bring about moments and on suitable surfaces, can really break a ball. Frankly Pakistan are awful against most kinds of spin and only Misbah seemed to play him with any comfort. His tormenting of Salman in the third ODI was more reflective of how Pakistan struggled against him; beware the zippy flipper that eventually did for Salman in that game.

Otherwise West Indies' rebuilding has a wonkier feel to it than Pakistan's. Their administrative disputes with players haven't attracted as much attention as the ones in Pakistan, but they are probably of greater harm, because they don't produce as much talent to replace those players as Pakistan tends to. The one with Shivnarine Chanderpaul looks the pettiest of a long list of scraps between WICB and WIPA, though he should at least be a part of the side now. Much - perhaps too much - will still be expected from him, that bewildering underperformer Ramnaresh Sarwan and the stodgy Brendan Nash. If Darren Bravo relieves any of that burden, it will be an attractive bonus.

There's no reason, though, to reconcile ourselves to the prospect of a dull series. A battle between flawed sides compete can be as pleasing to watch as one between high-quality sides. In one aspect at least the West Indies are ahead. With the release of 'Fire in Babylon' they have at least a vivid documentation of their greatest years, a tribute to history. The fall has been steep enough for the film to be heavy with resonance. Pakistan haven't regressed as sharply from their peak years but any film of their best years will be at least as compelling a watch. We can only hope.

Osman Samiuddin is Pakistan editor of ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Paddlesweep4six on May 13, 2011, 8:59 GMT

    @ cric_fanatic , Pak were far better then the minnows India in 80s and 90s.

  • on May 13, 2011, 8:15 GMT

    @nlambda LOL.We can't miss Tendulkar in any of the Cricinfo's articles.Damn attention seeker we are!@Aina Maria Waseem Thanks for taking the bait of Mr.Nlambda.Did Pakistan got the same ESPN feed as India got during the 2011 WC?You should be proud of surviving Mr Sidhu's match analysis.

  • Zed_Sports on May 13, 2011, 6:39 GMT

    Agreed, Pakistan is no more a major team. But can we say that Pakistan team selected in the last few years was the best playing eleven.

    For one reason or other PCB has failed to put best playing eleven to contribute to the current situation.

  • on May 13, 2011, 6:05 GMT

    i agree with Jawad...this indian side IS presenting mediocrity (let's rephrase this to moderate class) as greatness! They do indeed have a great, world class batting line up (though admittedly without Sehwag, Laxmen and Tendulkar, all they have is Yuvraj who was very much on the sidelines until the WC and Gambhir, who only wags his tail infront of Pakistan in most cases). However, their balling is abysmal. I believe the only meaningful win the Indian side had in the WC was against Australia. Against Pakistan, they won because they handled 'pressure' better, and because average players like Gambhir and Nehra usually do well against Pakistan. Against SL they won because the former made 4 inexplicable changes to its side. Simple. You cant be a great side with that kind of a bowling attach! A bowling attack that is built around an average player like Zaheer Khan, and perhaps the world's most overrated spinner (Harbajan)!

  • Percy_Fender on May 13, 2011, 5:41 GMT

    Bangladesh beat nearly the same West Indies team in 2009 in a clean sweep. So I think Pakistan should, beat West Indies. If they indeed do, it is no reflection on the greatness of the Pakistan team of the 80s. They were almost as good as the best then. Today Pakistan is up against a potentially resurgent West Indies team. But they do not have an inspirational captain. Maybe Ganga can be that.

  • on May 13, 2011, 5:34 GMT

    @nlambda: Don't deceive yourself. Sachin had our bad fielding to thank for his 85 at the worldcup.Even his fans ought to acknowledge it was his ugliest innings. The pakistani spinners were quite capable in handling the best players of spin in the world, in navjot siddhu's words "ajmal was the da vinci code". But I agree that the Indian batsmen would have definitely performed better than the west indians, 300 on day one instead of 209 perhaps... And sir, WE are never far from YOUR thoughts. This is a pakistan-related article afterall.

  • on May 13, 2011, 5:25 GMT

    @cric_fanatics: I don't remember any claim that Pakistan were a top side. That doesn't mean they were always 6th rankers. Don't at-least belittle the west indies of the 80s by calling the only side that challenged them mediocre (I don't expect you to respect the great Imran Khan and his side anyway). Pakistan was 2nd, 3rd or 4th for quite some time post 2003 I remember. During that time Pakistan was always ahead of India in rankings, so I daresay, India must be even worse to have been below us.

  • VivGilchrist on May 13, 2011, 3:40 GMT

    In hindsight Windies needs a 2nd frontline spinner for this Test. Smith should have made way for a spinning all-rounder in Imran Khan. Bravo opens with Simmons. Khan at 6. This makes 3 seamers and 2 spinners for this pitch.

  • NCassie on May 13, 2011, 2:13 GMT

    Oh yes as you all saw for yourselves the level of stupidity that is goin on in WI cricket today, Simmons, Bravo, Sarwan, Chanders all applied them selves. Well Sammy, Smith and Baugh I AM NOT SURPRISED BY THEIR SHOT SELECTION, they continue to get pick on a team which is struggling to bat a full day.

  • ramps_wi on May 13, 2011, 1:38 GMT

    how much more do we have to take....... Mr Butts please resign your position so that we could have Darren Ganga as captain, dinesh ramdin as keeper and Rampaul Roach, Fidel and Bishoo as our bowlers with Marlon Samuels in the middle, imagine de man score a double century and you leave him out because we in guyana. And to Sammy, its no fault of yours but this is a big man job

  • Paddlesweep4six on May 13, 2011, 8:59 GMT

    @ cric_fanatic , Pak were far better then the minnows India in 80s and 90s.

  • on May 13, 2011, 8:15 GMT

    @nlambda LOL.We can't miss Tendulkar in any of the Cricinfo's articles.Damn attention seeker we are!@Aina Maria Waseem Thanks for taking the bait of Mr.Nlambda.Did Pakistan got the same ESPN feed as India got during the 2011 WC?You should be proud of surviving Mr Sidhu's match analysis.

  • Zed_Sports on May 13, 2011, 6:39 GMT

    Agreed, Pakistan is no more a major team. But can we say that Pakistan team selected in the last few years was the best playing eleven.

    For one reason or other PCB has failed to put best playing eleven to contribute to the current situation.

  • on May 13, 2011, 6:05 GMT

    i agree with Jawad...this indian side IS presenting mediocrity (let's rephrase this to moderate class) as greatness! They do indeed have a great, world class batting line up (though admittedly without Sehwag, Laxmen and Tendulkar, all they have is Yuvraj who was very much on the sidelines until the WC and Gambhir, who only wags his tail infront of Pakistan in most cases). However, their balling is abysmal. I believe the only meaningful win the Indian side had in the WC was against Australia. Against Pakistan, they won because they handled 'pressure' better, and because average players like Gambhir and Nehra usually do well against Pakistan. Against SL they won because the former made 4 inexplicable changes to its side. Simple. You cant be a great side with that kind of a bowling attach! A bowling attack that is built around an average player like Zaheer Khan, and perhaps the world's most overrated spinner (Harbajan)!

  • Percy_Fender on May 13, 2011, 5:41 GMT

    Bangladesh beat nearly the same West Indies team in 2009 in a clean sweep. So I think Pakistan should, beat West Indies. If they indeed do, it is no reflection on the greatness of the Pakistan team of the 80s. They were almost as good as the best then. Today Pakistan is up against a potentially resurgent West Indies team. But they do not have an inspirational captain. Maybe Ganga can be that.

  • on May 13, 2011, 5:34 GMT

    @nlambda: Don't deceive yourself. Sachin had our bad fielding to thank for his 85 at the worldcup.Even his fans ought to acknowledge it was his ugliest innings. The pakistani spinners were quite capable in handling the best players of spin in the world, in navjot siddhu's words "ajmal was the da vinci code". But I agree that the Indian batsmen would have definitely performed better than the west indians, 300 on day one instead of 209 perhaps... And sir, WE are never far from YOUR thoughts. This is a pakistan-related article afterall.

  • on May 13, 2011, 5:25 GMT

    @cric_fanatics: I don't remember any claim that Pakistan were a top side. That doesn't mean they were always 6th rankers. Don't at-least belittle the west indies of the 80s by calling the only side that challenged them mediocre (I don't expect you to respect the great Imran Khan and his side anyway). Pakistan was 2nd, 3rd or 4th for quite some time post 2003 I remember. During that time Pakistan was always ahead of India in rankings, so I daresay, India must be even worse to have been below us.

  • VivGilchrist on May 13, 2011, 3:40 GMT

    In hindsight Windies needs a 2nd frontline spinner for this Test. Smith should have made way for a spinning all-rounder in Imran Khan. Bravo opens with Simmons. Khan at 6. This makes 3 seamers and 2 spinners for this pitch.

  • NCassie on May 13, 2011, 2:13 GMT

    Oh yes as you all saw for yourselves the level of stupidity that is goin on in WI cricket today, Simmons, Bravo, Sarwan, Chanders all applied them selves. Well Sammy, Smith and Baugh I AM NOT SURPRISED BY THEIR SHOT SELECTION, they continue to get pick on a team which is struggling to bat a full day.

  • ramps_wi on May 13, 2011, 1:38 GMT

    how much more do we have to take....... Mr Butts please resign your position so that we could have Darren Ganga as captain, dinesh ramdin as keeper and Rampaul Roach, Fidel and Bishoo as our bowlers with Marlon Samuels in the middle, imagine de man score a double century and you leave him out because we in guyana. And to Sammy, its no fault of yours but this is a big man job

  • BigGeorgeMehemood on May 13, 2011, 1:28 GMT

    West Indies vs Pakistan in tests is the best competition of all time..everyone say dat..even some cricketers from other country like NZ and even Australia. The best was from mid 70s to 90 ..nowadays though both team weak..

  • nlambda on May 13, 2011, 0:53 GMT

    @ Jawaad M. Qureshi : thanks for bringing us into the conversation ("not an Indian side presenting mediocrity as greatness"). Nice to see we are never far from your thoughts :-)

  • nlambda on May 13, 2011, 0:49 GMT

    No one has mentioned Sachin Tendulkar in this thread yet. So here goes: If SRT had been playing, he would have totally thrashed the Pak attack. WI would have been 295/4 and looking to push on to 450 tomorrow. So there!

  • rashoon on May 13, 2011, 0:11 GMT

    my loving caribbean people why are we playing in contidions that suit parkistan. i do not get it; what is going on with our cricket. if we cannot prepare a pitch for our team what can we do. please i do not want anyone to blame our boys. they did great today they fight all day long and in spite all the tern in the pitch we batted the day well done. why do we have one spinner and prepare a turning wicket. can anyone help me understand this logic. this is going to be Sammy's game this is his wicket to take wickets and expect 6 from him. we will do well parkistan think they are on top but this pitch is no test pitch. i watch the bat struggle all day our batmen were not good enought to touch these turning balls. our boy will fight let us stand behind them this march is not going to draw some team will come out on top.

  • Chetan007 on May 12, 2011, 23:55 GMT

    @a_cricketlover_from_pakistan: don't compare ur national team with indian team. Indian team has much more pressure than any other team around the world. WI has not fielded their best side with gayle, edwards, bravo and pollard out. For odi too. You compare this pak team with the previous teams pakistan has, i m sure u'll ur find answer.

  • siddiqi on May 12, 2011, 23:48 GMT

    Pakistan have done really well in last 1 year. We need to encourage these youngsters who have never played any international match in their own coutnry yet they are trying their best to perform in foreign conditions. And this writer is as always pessimistic and negative abt Pakistan. We really need some one better to rep Pakistan @ cricinfo.

  • smudgeon on May 12, 2011, 23:45 GMT

    Looking forward, like I'm sure most people who kept an eye on the world cup, to seeing was Devendra Bishoo can do in whites. His bowling on ODIs was promising! However, he won't have it as easy as Ajmal & co did, I'm sure the Pakistani batsman can hold their own against the tweakers better than the Windies. The match is already at an intriguing point after the first day!

  • BigGeorgeMehemood on May 12, 2011, 23:32 GMT

    @Cric Fanatic- Me dont know how much cricket you have watch in yer life but many cricket genius and former great players say that the best match up ever in test cricket was WI vs Pak..mid 70's to late 80's. Even some Australian players dem say that. Muss ask people.

  • on May 12, 2011, 21:59 GMT

    NO surprises SMITH/HAFEEZ.WASN'T a very prudent move. HOWEVER a keen contest in the making. IF PAK spinners can do it, so can BISHOO. IF only we had BENN, NEXT TIME. AT least we batted thru the day. NASH and SHIV will have to do better next time round. HOPE the weather holds.

  • thair9999 on May 12, 2011, 21:26 GMT

    If we look closely there is one BIG thing common for the down fall of both sides 'incompetent board'.

  • dr_salman on May 12, 2011, 19:22 GMT

    i wud agree with jawaad qureshi...supporting ur side is one thing but that doesnt mean that u shd close ur eyes n stop being critical about certain important things...wat happened in the last 2 ODI s? we simply threw it away, especially the last one...we shd ve tried to maintain the dominance..one has to be consistent..winning one out of 4 tests against england...1 out of 5 against australia (the series in australia included) doesnt make you great...we still have to prove ourselves and that is a fact...!!

  • on May 12, 2011, 17:43 GMT

    @omarmalik: 'pathetic pessimism' is better than ignorant optimism. This is Pakistan's troubled side we're looking at, not an Indian side presenting mediocrity as greatness(of the late 90s). Losing 1/4 series' isn't bad, but it doesn't match the fierce aggression, stability and world-class performances that were our forte. Our WC campaign wasn't stellar when it needed to be the most. Kamran Abbasi's latest piece is comparing Misbah to Imran. Now that's ignorant. Representing 'us' doesn't mean raising incompetence to mythical heights. First let this side prove it.

  • on May 12, 2011, 17:02 GMT

    Since Simmons can keep, why does the West Indies need another wicketkeeper in the line-up? What are Sammy and DS Smith doing in the line-up? We are wasting two spots!! Where are Gayle, Taylor and Edwards, anyhow? It is about winning. The WICB has lost the desire to win!!!! What is sad is that the West Indies can put together a winning team!

  • omarmalik on May 12, 2011, 16:33 GMT

    @cric_fanatics average sides don't win world cups and produce top players like Imran Khan, Wasim Akram, Waqar Younis and many more. I guess you are not much of a cricket follower are you?

  • tnelson on May 12, 2011, 15:10 GMT

    How more asinine can the WICB get by playing Smith, Hafeez 5 times in a similar fashion, when will they learn. Maybe my expectation is too high, thier decision in recent past is devoid of logic and reason, and is driven by small island prejudice against certain players. Sorry for WI fan and embarrass for the WICB, we have become the joke of international cricket.

  • omarmalik on May 12, 2011, 15:09 GMT

    What a pathetically pessimistic review about his parent nation. No surprise then that it is written by Osman Sammiuddin. I have long felt that Kamran Abbasi should be the Pakistan editor of Cricinfo, he can represent us much better.

    Pakistan have just lost 1 of their last 4 test series. Considering they have played against Australia, England, South Africa, and NZ; this is an achievement. We just turned in a stellar performance at the WC. Things are looking much better for Pakistan cricket than you seem to indicate.

  • A_cricketlover_from_Pakistan on May 12, 2011, 14:28 GMT

    How can you call Pakistan a fallen side...... Pakistan had a drawn series against Australia, beat England in a test at oval, Draw a series against SA and won away series against NZ. Above all, they were top of the table in worldcup and played Semi final...... Can understand your criteria for classification !!

    If India was playing, this would have been the most exciting series.

    Pls dont be so biased !!

  • on May 12, 2011, 14:20 GMT

    IF fidel edwards is fit why is he not playing?

  • on May 12, 2011, 13:59 GMT

    @Saddam Rasool, winning a test match and winning a test series are two different things. Pakistan may have won 3 test matches, but they only won 1 test SERIES.

  • on May 12, 2011, 13:23 GMT

    "West Indies have won one of their last 19 Test series, Pakistan one of their last 11".

    Actually, Pakistan has won 3 of their last 10 test matches 1 against each NZ, England and Austrailia. they lost 4 and drawn 3. Not that bad if these tests were against NZ, SouthAfrica, England(in england) and Austrailia. Please correct!!!

  • on May 12, 2011, 13:12 GMT

    Fantastic to read you again sir! It will be exciting just to see the golden star on white once more, compete with the Windies albeit in a fight more for self-assurance than glory.

    Your piece does resuscitate the expectation I had from the series. Look forward to Asad Shafiq's elegance and Azhar Ali's composure. But it will test Riaz and Tanveer to the core, and hopefully bring in much aggressive talent in the future. Gayle shall be missed.

  • irfans1 on May 12, 2011, 12:05 GMT

    test of nervous and skills(batsmen) for both the teams... nice to see some test cricket in hand now after endless, tasteless short foms of the games. I think, both of the teams are evenely balanced, and it would be exciting to watch them realy.

  • cric_fanatics on May 12, 2011, 11:52 GMT

    to be frank,this article is flawed to the core...pakistan never were a top side..so theres no question of falling...they have been consistently average or below average..its the windies that have fallen from greatness....

  • Sharath281 on May 12, 2011, 10:09 GMT

    Very well written article. Both teams have very potent bowling attacks, that should ensure a result. Hopefully, we will have a fascinating contest on our hands. Longing for an intriguing contest where the match sways every session. Enough of the stupid IPL circus. Hoping for real cricket to take centre stage again with this and SL V Eng series.

  • jimbond on May 12, 2011, 9:52 GMT

    Though both boards are inefficient, I get the feeling WI have suffered more from selection blunders than Pak- especially now. Even now- when I think of the possible team that WI can field- Gayle, Barath, Chanderpaul, Darren Bravo, Marlon Samuels, Dwayne Bravo, Baugh, Bishoo, Fidel Edwards, Jerome Taylor, Kemar Roach, with Nash as the 12th player- it looks stronger than most teams. Imagine the firepower of the three fast men- not as good as an Aamir, Asif, Gul combination, but not much worse either. The tough decisions that the WI board will have to take is- get a fair selectors who have lesser ego issues; have the guts to remove Sammy from the 15; he really does not deserve a place in an international 11. Somehow get people like Gayle, Taylor, Dwayne bravo to play for the WI and not for some stupid IPL team.

  • Vernacular_Press on May 12, 2011, 9:13 GMT

    Pakistan cricket is similar to indian hockey.Under-19s perform greatly as expected.But when they play for senior team they dont play as much.Can anyone spot the fault? Politics in selection or wrong system.Anyway i still remember the series between Newzealand and Pakistan in 2009 i guess,when bond played.Its going to be exciting coz its Pakistan(good bowling and batting collapse).Expect flat pitches for the series.

  • yogsingh on May 12, 2011, 8:24 GMT

    Once again , wonderfully composed article by Osman . I have heard that only Pakistan was the team who used to stand up and face mighty west indian in the 80s . My faint memory of the early 90s remind me of Amborse , Walsh , Bishop , Richie , Lara and the last test series windies won in Australia was a treat to watch ... Hope this series revives west Indian cricket ....

    PS:- Where can i find fire in Babylon CD ?

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  • yogsingh on May 12, 2011, 8:24 GMT

    Once again , wonderfully composed article by Osman . I have heard that only Pakistan was the team who used to stand up and face mighty west indian in the 80s . My faint memory of the early 90s remind me of Amborse , Walsh , Bishop , Richie , Lara and the last test series windies won in Australia was a treat to watch ... Hope this series revives west Indian cricket ....

    PS:- Where can i find fire in Babylon CD ?

  • Vernacular_Press on May 12, 2011, 9:13 GMT

    Pakistan cricket is similar to indian hockey.Under-19s perform greatly as expected.But when they play for senior team they dont play as much.Can anyone spot the fault? Politics in selection or wrong system.Anyway i still remember the series between Newzealand and Pakistan in 2009 i guess,when bond played.Its going to be exciting coz its Pakistan(good bowling and batting collapse).Expect flat pitches for the series.

  • jimbond on May 12, 2011, 9:52 GMT

    Though both boards are inefficient, I get the feeling WI have suffered more from selection blunders than Pak- especially now. Even now- when I think of the possible team that WI can field- Gayle, Barath, Chanderpaul, Darren Bravo, Marlon Samuels, Dwayne Bravo, Baugh, Bishoo, Fidel Edwards, Jerome Taylor, Kemar Roach, with Nash as the 12th player- it looks stronger than most teams. Imagine the firepower of the three fast men- not as good as an Aamir, Asif, Gul combination, but not much worse either. The tough decisions that the WI board will have to take is- get a fair selectors who have lesser ego issues; have the guts to remove Sammy from the 15; he really does not deserve a place in an international 11. Somehow get people like Gayle, Taylor, Dwayne bravo to play for the WI and not for some stupid IPL team.

  • Sharath281 on May 12, 2011, 10:09 GMT

    Very well written article. Both teams have very potent bowling attacks, that should ensure a result. Hopefully, we will have a fascinating contest on our hands. Longing for an intriguing contest where the match sways every session. Enough of the stupid IPL circus. Hoping for real cricket to take centre stage again with this and SL V Eng series.

  • cric_fanatics on May 12, 2011, 11:52 GMT

    to be frank,this article is flawed to the core...pakistan never were a top side..so theres no question of falling...they have been consistently average or below average..its the windies that have fallen from greatness....

  • irfans1 on May 12, 2011, 12:05 GMT

    test of nervous and skills(batsmen) for both the teams... nice to see some test cricket in hand now after endless, tasteless short foms of the games. I think, both of the teams are evenely balanced, and it would be exciting to watch them realy.

  • on May 12, 2011, 13:12 GMT

    Fantastic to read you again sir! It will be exciting just to see the golden star on white once more, compete with the Windies albeit in a fight more for self-assurance than glory.

    Your piece does resuscitate the expectation I had from the series. Look forward to Asad Shafiq's elegance and Azhar Ali's composure. But it will test Riaz and Tanveer to the core, and hopefully bring in much aggressive talent in the future. Gayle shall be missed.

  • on May 12, 2011, 13:23 GMT

    "West Indies have won one of their last 19 Test series, Pakistan one of their last 11".

    Actually, Pakistan has won 3 of their last 10 test matches 1 against each NZ, England and Austrailia. they lost 4 and drawn 3. Not that bad if these tests were against NZ, SouthAfrica, England(in england) and Austrailia. Please correct!!!

  • on May 12, 2011, 13:59 GMT

    @Saddam Rasool, winning a test match and winning a test series are two different things. Pakistan may have won 3 test matches, but they only won 1 test SERIES.

  • on May 12, 2011, 14:20 GMT

    IF fidel edwards is fit why is he not playing?