Tests: England 1 Pakistan 2, ODIs: England 4 Pakistan 1

The Pakistanis in England, 1992

Scyld Berry

The Pakistanis' tour in 1992 was as eventful as any tour of England there has been. Beyond dispute, it was the most lucrative England had staged. For the first time, the formula was five Tests and five one-day internationals and they generated more than the £7 million which the Test and County Cricket Board had budgeted. But there were disputes, a rumbling sequence of them, as allegations were made of ball-tampering by Pakistan's fast bowlers and of partiality by England's umpires. In between whiles, especially in the three Tests which ended in four days, there was some magnificent cricket between two sides who were almost opposites in their outlook and method. In winning 2-1, when England felt they had the batting strength to draw the series at least, the Pakistanis confirmed their status as a world power, alongside Australia and West Indies.

It was the first Test series between the two countries since 1987, when Pakistan had won 1-0 both at home and away, and the sores had clearly not healed. Although Mike Gatting was not eligible to represent England, as he was still serving a ban for touring South Africa, his feud with the umpire Shakoor Rana in Faisalabad was never far from mind. In addition to that incident were the many others - from the David Constant decision at Headingley in 1982 back to Donald Carr's A tour of 1955-56, when the umpire Idris Begh was doused in water - that have so coloured relations between England and Pakistan that slights are perceived where none is intended. And the series came a few weeks after the teams' bizarre encounters in the World Cup: in the first Pakistan were all out for 74 and only stayed in the tournament because it rained; the second was the final, which they won.

Given this background, the atmosphere was heightened from the start. If England's players nursed grievances about the umpiring after their 1987-88 tour, the World Cup winners arrived with similar suspicions. The Pakistanis' fear of retribution was not alloyed when John Holder disappeared from the Test panel: an umpire who had stood in Pakistan as a neutral in their 1989-90 series against India, Holder was one of the few the tourists were prepared to trust. Again, they saw little of Dickie Bird and David Shepherd, because the TCCB unwisely preferred to use as many as eight umpires in the five Tests. While this may have been a sincere desire on the TCCB's part to spread it around, the effect was an abdication of responsibility, just as there had been in 1987-88 when Pakistan refused to use their best umpires. There are probably not eight umpires of international standard in the world, let alone in one country.

After a bland and rain-spoiled prelude at Edgbaston, and the tensest of Tests at Lord's the accumulating tensions boiled over at Old Trafford, where Roy Palmer was umpiring in his first Test match. By the fourth evening, the game was a certain draw. But so rife were the tourists' suspicions about the umpiring that tempers overflowed in the most inconsequential of situations, after England had saved the follow-on. It did not help that Palmer's first decision had been to give Ramiz Raja out following an appeal too lukewarm to be called half-hearted; or that he was the younger brother of Ken Palmer, to whom the Pakistanis had objected in 1987. Still, there was no excuse for the furore which followed the warning given by Palmer to Aqib Javed for intimidating Devon Malcolm. Aqib reacted with a show of petulance which earned him a fine of half of his match fee by the referee. It was an illustration of Aqib's state of mind that he should then have perceived an insult, when Palmer handed him his sweater, where clearly none was intended. The television replay showed that the sweater caught in the belt of Palmer's coat as he handed it to Aqib and was not thrown at the bowler.

An impartial judge would have to say that for most of the series the tourists' suspicions about the umpiring had no foundation whatsoever. But in the Fourth Test at Headingley there was an impression of bias towards the home team which strengthened the call for third-country umpires. Much was made in Pakistan of a decision by Ken Palmer in Graham Gooch's favour, when replays showed the England captain to have been run out by a yard or two, at a stage in England's second innings when they could still have lost. Blown-up photographs of the run-out were reported to have been displayed on buses in Pakistan. In making much out of split-second judgments such as this, the visiting media in 1992 probably generated as much ill-feeling back home as the English media had done in 1987-88.

On the England side meanwhile, there was increasing concern about what was happening to the ball in the hands of Pakistan's two brilliant fast bowlers, Waqar Younis and Wasim Akram. These concerns, however, did not come into the open until after the series, when Allan Lamb, in an article for the Daily Mirror, made detailed allegations of ball-tampering. For speaking out and breaking his contract, Lamb was immediately fined an estimated £2,000 and suspended for two matches by Northamptonshire; later, at a TCCB disciplinary hearing, he was fined £5,000, with costs of £1,000, the stiffest penalty of its kind in English cricket to date. This was reduced on appeal, but only to £4,000 (half of it suspended for two years) and £500 costs.

Popular opinion was largely in favour of Lamb, if only for finding an excuse for England staging four spectacular collapses and thereby losing the series: at Lord's they lost their last six wickets for 42 runs in the first innings and 38 in the second; at Headingley their last eight for 28, and at The Oval their last seven for 25. Critical reaction, however, from former players of various countries, was more in support of the Pakistanis. By making the ball swing so effectively, by whatever means, and bowling straight, the tourists returned the focus of the game to the batsman's stumps, not his head and body, which had been the aim of short-pitched bowling in the 1970s and 1980s. While law-suits and threats of legal action began to fly off the field, Waqar and Wasim made the old ball swing further than most people had over seen. No longer was the ball an especial threat when new but, in defiance of previous theory, when it was 60 or 70 overs old.

The umpires made frequent inspections of the ball, according to their brief, while the ICC match referee was required to examine it at every interval. But only once did anything untoward result, during the fourth one-day international, at Lord's, after it had been carried over into a second day. At the lunch interval, during England's innings, the umpires and the match referee changed the ball for one of similar condition. There was no end to the confusion which followed. The referee, the former West Indian wicket-keeper Deryck Murray, would only say that the ball had been changed, leaving the reason for it open to speculation. One informed source stated that the original ball had been changed under Law 42.5 because it had been tampered with. But Intikhab Alam, the touring team manager, asserted that the ball had been changed under Law 5.5 - simply because it had gone out of shape. Then, while accusation bred counter-accusation, it emerged that the umpires, according to the regulations for the Texaco Trophy, should have changed the ball for one of inferior, not similar, condition if the original had been deliberately damaged: and in the end, perhaps because of this slip-up in procedure, perhaps because of terror of the lawyers, the ICC finally decided to provide no further elucidation of the matter. In the darkness, further seeds of mistrust and animosity were sown for the future.

If anything was conclusive, it was that the ICC's system of match referees was inadequate. The Council had already declared itself to be in favour of neutral, or independent, umpires, but had done nothing to implement a new system on the grounds of excessive cost. Yet there was the money to pay the expenses and fees of four referees during the summer in Bob Cowper, Clyde Walcott, Conrad Hunte and Deryck Murray. This expense, borne by the TCCB as the host country, could just as easily have gone into paying one or two umpires from a third country. While neutral umpires might not be considered necessary in every series in England, they would surely have taken the heat out of the Tests with Pakistan.

One of the most vocal supporters of neutral umpires, Imran Khan, had initially declared himself available for the tour, but withdrew shortly after the World Cup final. He pleaded a shoulder injury, but it was suspected that another factor was his declining popularity within the Pakistan team. Immediately, the prophecy was made that the tourists would go to pieces without Imran as their captain, and that he would be recalled in midseason. But neither of these expectations was fulfilled. The tourists maintained their unity, except for the two episodes of indiscipline at Old Trafford and Headingley, while Imran was left to play in charity matches which he organised to raised money for a cancer hospital in Lahore.

Had Imran been captain, the tourists would surely still have won the series, but it is doubtful whether they would have achieved such an astonishing record in their first-class county games. In 1987 Imran had shown little interest in them except as practice, but under Javed Miandad the Pakistanis set out to win every one, both as a preparation for the Tests and as an end in itself, They scored rapidly and, led by Wasim and the leg-spinner Mushtaq Ahmed, bowled with a rare aggression. The outcome, nine wins in 12 matches, was the best record against county teams since the 1948 Australians won 15 of their 20 games against first-class counties. There can be no doubt that Tetley Bitter's sponsorship -£2,000 for each victory, and a jackpot of £50,000 for winning a minimum of eight out of 12 - provided a vital incentive which enlivened these matches.

In contrast to his reputation for waywardness, Miandad displayed a high level of leadership. Given three bowlers of a quality beyond anything England could field, he was more flexible in his field-placings than his counterpart, Gooch, and had plenty of experience of English conditions after his seasons with Sussex and Glamorgan. The one lapse into the immaturity which had marked his first attempts at captaincy came at Old Trafford where he failed to work with Roy Palmer in interpreting the law, and was then ostentatiously rude as he made play of Aqib's sweater. Some commentators thought Miandad should have been fined, along with Aqib. Instead, the referee Conrad Hunte simply urged Miandad to uphold standards of behaviour; and this he did in the following Test, when the Pakistanis were upset by a decision against them in England's second innings, and the substitute Rashid Latif threw his cap on the ground and was also fined.

The one three-day county match which the tourists lost was their first, against Worcestershire, who won £4,000 from the sponsors. As instrumental as any player in their defeat was Philip Weston, the England Under-19 captain, in his third first-class match. In Pakistan, if a player is chosen for Test cricket at all, he is generally chosen at Weston's age, rather than in his mid-20s according to the English custom. Although some of the tourists' ages appear to be under-estimated, notably that of Waqar aged 20, Pakistan's strength lay in the enthusiasm of so many young players, blended with the maturity of a few. County after county was overwhelmed by cricket which was all aggression and excited appealing and vitality, not safety-conscious, fearful of failure, and content with a draw, in the English manner.

Yet the psychological advantage was with England when the series began, though they made no use of it at Edgbaston. Comprehensive victories by England in the first two one-day internationals had raised doubts about Pakistan's self-assurance after winning the World Cup; and the tourists, at the outset, were short of Test experience, especially, when they left out Shoaib Mohammad. In the First Test Aamir Sohail, Inzamam-Ul-Haq and Ata-ur-Rehman all made their débuts, while four other players had no Test record to speak of. Had England therefore caught Pakistan on a traditional Edgbaston seamer's pitch, they might still have won in the time available. But the game was played on a bland relaid wicket, and Pakistan's confidence grew during a stand of 322 between Miandad and his vice-captain Salim Malik, who began to play under pressure as he never had before. Whatever Gooch and Essex had learnt about Malik the summer before, he had learned more about England.

Self-belief restored, Pakistan won by two wickets at Lord's perhaps inspired by their passion at the finish while England remained unexcitable. It was an unusually dry pitch, which again suited Pakistan, since they had Wasim back to join Waqar. At Old Trafford England might have gone 2-0 down but for a courageous opening stand by Gooch and Alec Stewart on the third evening, when Waqar and Wasim hurled the kitchen sink at England on the fastest, hardest pitch of the series. Only at Headingley did England find something to suit their seamers, and levelled the score at one-all. At The Oval, as at Old Trafford, a hard pitch was just what the tourists wanted, and their fast bowlers tested to the limit the new ICC regulation of one bouncer per batsman per over.

The previous record number of wickets by a Pakistani in a series in England, the 21 taken by Imran in 1982 and 1987, was equalled by Wasim in four Tests and surpassed by Waqar in five. Together they made a pair to enter the hall of fame along with Larwood and Voce, Lindwall and Miller, Trueman and Statham, Lillee and Thomson, and numerous West Indian fast bowlers. It was crucial that after Edgbaston the one had the other to complement the arrangement, so that batsmen had no escape. Together they made as effective a pair as there can have ever been in wiping out tailenders, by aiming at the stumps. Of their 43 wickets in the series, 17 were bowled and nine lbw.

Waqar arrived with the stress fracture of the spine which had kept him out of the World Cup and was still nothing like match-fit at Edgbaston. Indeed, not until the final Test was he consistently quick, as he had been the summer before for Surrey. When he dropped short early in the series he was often expensive, not having the pace to get away with it. On the whole tour, owing to the lingering effects of his back injury, he had only 37 first-class wickets. For the same reason Waqar's arm seemed to be lower than previously, yet this only served to make his bowling more deadly when he found his rhythm. At his best, he delivered the ball slightly round-arm on the line of off-stump; the ball then curled up to a foot outside off-stump before the in-swing took effect and arrowed in at the batsman's toes or leg-stump. Until the final Test Waqar only swung the ball - a Reader in eight of the international matches, a Duke in the two others - when it was of full length, and then only into the right-hander. But at The Oval he swung the ball away from the England batsmen at the start of their second innings while they groped for his in-swinger. In Waqar's opinion this spell, of four wickets for nine runs at one stage, was his best of the summer - and like all his spells it was backed up with verbal aggression.

Wasim finished with 82 wickets, the most by any bowler on a tour of England since 1964, and he missed the first Test with a stress fracture of the shin. Often he bowled too well: that is, when bowling over the wicket, he made the ball seam away so sharply that right-handers could not get a touch. For Wasim to have taken only one wicket at Headingley was as absurd as Richard Hadlee taking none at all during New Zealand's victory on the ground in 1983. Yet it was only as an innings wore on that Wasim went round the wicket to make the batsman play. Like Waqar, Wasim swung the ageing ball violently and late, but seldom from over the wicket. Only at The Oval, when he dismissed Mark Ramprakash and Chris Lewis, did he swing the ball into the right-hander from over the wicket in the classic style of Alan Davidson or Garfield Sobers. Otherwise his repertoire was complete, from outright fast and short-pitched bowling at the openers to swinging yorkers for the tailenders. It would be surprising if there has been a better left-arm bowler of pace; and he was the coolest of match-winners with the bat at Lord's.

The one threat to the pair's continued dominance lay in the strenuous programme ahead of them; after a packed winter with Pakistan, Waqar and Wasim were committed to several long and lucrative seasons with Surrey and Lancashire, without any time to rest back and groin respectively. They needed another strike bowler to share their duties, and while Aqib was a useful support at fast-medium, and as good a pace bowler as any on England's side, he did not have their pace or ability to swing the ball prodigiously. If Pakistan missed a trick during the series- other than playing Inzamam ahead of Shoaib- it was in preferring the less-than-fit Aqib at Headingley to the medium pace of Naved Anjum. Aqib was also the one poor fielder in the party.

Mushtaq secured himself a contract with Somerset as a result of being as effective as any leg-spinner to have toured England since the war. His role was vital as the stock bowler who kept the runs down to 2.6 an over while Waqar and Wasim rested; yet he was also a strike bowler when he dismissed England's middle order in their second innings at Lord's. In trying to attack him England found that Mushtaq was a fraction slower in pace than Abdul Qadir. But this worked in Mushtaq's favour; batsmen sometimes charged him, as they would not have done Qadir, and found themselves stranded: Robin Smith was a particular victim until the Oval Test, by when he had learned to bide his time in the crease. Mushtaq's one poor performance was at Old Trafford, when he was suffering a mid-tour lull. Otherwise, he was almost the equal of his predecessor, favouring the googly no less than Qadir, though as yet without his range of top-spinners and flippers.

For all the brilliance of their bowling, though, the Pakistanis might still have not taken the series if two unproven left-handed batsmen had not come good and occupied two of the first three places in contrasting styles. Aamir Sohail, who had played 15 one-day internationals but no Tests, curbed his dashing ways just enough to become a commanding opener. A measure of his ability to learn and adapt was that he quickly cut down on the shuffle across the crease he had when he started the tour, which made him liable to hit the leg-side ball in the air. By the end of the series he had become a second slip too, thus strengthening the one area in which Pakistan had been weak, and allowing Salim Malik to escape to gully. Sohail's partner, Ramiz Raja, was equally dashing but he might not have got away with whipping straight balls through mid wicket if the series had been staged on seaming pitches. The second left-hander, Asif Mujtaba, left to languish for several seasons in Pakistan's domestic cricket, justified Miandad's faith in him by batting quietly and methodically. With the captain and vice-captain filling the No. 4 and No. 5 places so capably - Malik topped the national batting averages, and with 488 Test runs set a new record for series between England and Pakistan- it seldom mattered that Inzamam failed. The World Cup prodigy, an ingenuous and dreamy fellow who would not wear a helmet at first, averaged only 13 in the series.

The depth of talent in the party - not a common feature of Pakistan touring teams - was illustrated this time when Moin Khan was dropped for the final Test and Rashid Latif made a remarkably composed and stylish 50 on his début, besides keeping wicket as competently as Moin had done. Tanvir Mehdi, a useful fast-medium, was sent home, along with Saleem Jaffer who had a thigh strain, once Waqar had proved his fitness. Ata-Ur-Rehman was flown in to cover for Wasim at Edgbaston and bowled briskly, while Ijaz Ahmed became the 19th player when he was flown in for the last three internationals.

At Trent Bridge, when sorely vexed by Pakistan's victory in the Test series, England vented their frustrations by running up the highest total ever made by any country in one-day internationals, 363 for seven from 55 overs. On the attack, then and in the Test series, England had a fine array of batsmen led by Gooch and Stewart. But in the deciding Test at The Oval they went on to the defensive in their first innings, long before the ball started swinging after tea on the first day. Mike Atherton, in positive mode, was well-suited to opening at Headingley, but at No. 3 he did not have the strokes to dictate and went through 60 overs for as many runs. By then it had been acknowledged that batting at the top of the order against Pakistan was far easier than later on when the ball was ageing; the need to cash in early was therefore imperative.

At Headingley Gooch followed his greatest innings, his century against West Indies there, with another of scarcely less importance and calibre. Stewart maintained his astonishing rate of improvement - by Lord's he was quite brilliant and carried his bat - until he was asked to keep wicket in the last two tests in place of Jack Russell, and the runs immediately dried up. Graeme Hick, on the other hand, made no advance at all in the Tests and came to be selected virtually as a specialist second slip, where he missed nothing and took his rate to two catches per Test, a remarkable achievement. He was dropped for The Oval, just as he had been the year before. Yet in the one-day games - which England won 4-1 - he tore to shreds the same Pakistan bowling, using feet that were frozen in Test matches when he had too much time to worry.

England's bowling was so unexceptional that in a sense they did well to lose by only two Tests to one. In the absence, for varying reasons, of Angus Fraser, Neil Foster, David Lawrence and John Emburey, and of Phillip DeFreitas (groin strain) for three Tests and Philip Tufnell (appendicitis) for four, it was seldom more than straightforward at best. On hard pitches Malcolm was alone in providing any threat. For the only seamer's pitch of the series, at Headingley, Neil Mallender was called up and took eight wickets, bowling that line a fraction outside off-stump which England preferred, if they did not always achieve.

Relations between the teams were not cordial, but they were no worse than, say, in England's 1989 series against Australia. It is true there was a nationalistic element in some crowds, as the tourists attracted wide and partisan support from British Asians, whose chants in turn provoked a reaction from a few England supporters; but the rivalry was predominantly good-humoured. What heightened the atmosphere was principally the media coverage, and that of the British tabloids in particular. When Khalid Mahmood, the tourists' courteous but hard-pressed tour manager, said after the series: There is no hostility between England and Pakistan, only in the tabloid newspapers, he was close to the heart of the matter. Relations between the two countries have lacked understanding at most levels, but if the media coverage had been more restrained there would not have been the amount of controversy there was. Still, the series will also be remembered for the brilliant cricket that was generated, especially by the tourists.

PAKISTANI TOURING PARTY

Javed Miandad ( Karachi/ Habib Bank), (captain), Salim Malik ( Lahore/ Habib Bank) (vice-captain), Aamir Sohail ( Sargodha/ Habib Bank), Aqib Javed ( PACO), Asif Mujtaba ( Karachi/ PIA), Inzamam-Ul-Haq ( Multan/ United Bank), Moin Khan ( Karachi/ PIA), Mushtaq Ahmed ( Multan/ United Bank), Naved Anjum ( Lahore/ Habib Bank), Ramiz Raja ( Lahore/ PNSC), Rashid Latif ( Karachi/ United Bank), Saleem Jaffer ( Karachi/ United Bank), Shoaib Mohammad ( Karachi/ PIA), Tanvir Mehdi ( Lahore/ United Bank), Waqar Younis ( Multan/ United Bank), Wasim Akram ( Lahore/ PIA), Zahid Fazal ( PIA).

Ata-Ur-Rehman ( Lahore / PACO) joined the party in May as cover for injured bowlers, and Ijaz Ahmed ( Habib Bank) in August to take part in the later one-day internationals. Saleem Jaffer (injured) and Tanvir Mehdi were flown home at the end of June.

Tour manager: Khalid Mahmood.

Team manager: Intikhab Alam


PAKISTANI TOUR RESULTS

Test matches- Played 5: Won 2, Lost 1, Drawn 2.

First-class matches- Played 19: Won 12, Lost 2, Drawn 5.

Wins- England (2), Glamorgan, Somerset, Leicestershire, Nottinghamshire, Northamptonshire, Oxford & Cambridge Universities, Hampshire, Durham, Essex, Gloucestershire.

Losses- England, Worcestershire.

Draws- England (2), Middlesex, Derbyshire, World XI.

One-day Internationals- Played 5: Won 1, Lost 4.

Other non first-class matches- Played 7: Won 5, Lost 2. Abandoned 4. Wins- Lavinia, Duchess of Norfolk's XI, Kent, Sussex, England Amateur XI, Scotland. Losses- Sussex, Minor counties. Abandoned- League Cricket Conference, Scotland, Somerset (2).


Match reports for

Tour Match: World XI v Pakistanis at Scarborough, Aug 26-28, 1992
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Match reports for

Tour Match: Duchess of Norfolk's Invitation XI v Pakistanis at Arundel, May 3, 1992
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Tour Match: Kent v Pakistanis at Canterbury, May 4, 1992
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Tour Match: Worcestershire v Pakistanis at Worcester, May 6-8, 1992
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Tour Match: Glamorgan v Pakistanis at Cardiff, May 9-11, 1992
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Tour Match: Somerset v Pakistanis at Taunton, May 13-15, 1992
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Tour Match: Sussex v Pakistanis at Hove, May 16, 1992
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Tour Match: Sussex v Pakistanis at Hove, May 17, 1992
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1st ODI: England v Pakistan at Lord's, May 20, 1992
Report | Scorecard

2nd ODI: England v Pakistan at The Oval, May 22, 1992
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Tour Match: Leicestershire v Pakistanis at Leicester, May 23-25, 1992
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Tour Match: Middlesex v Pakistanis at Lord's, May 30-Jun 1, 1992
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1st Test: England v Pakistan at Birmingham, Jun 4-8, 1992
Report | Scorecard

Tour Match: Nottinghamshire v Pakistanis at Nottingham, Jun 10-12, 1992
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Tour Match: Northamptonshire v Pakistanis at Northampton, Jun 13-15, 1992
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2nd Test: England v Pakistan at Lord's, Jun 18-21, 1992
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Tour Match: Oxford and Cambridge Universities v Pakistanis at Cambridge, Jun 24-26, 1992
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Tour Match: Hampshire v Pakistanis at Southampton, Jun 27-29, 1992
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3rd Test: England v Pakistan at Manchester, Jul 2-7, 1992
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Tour Match: Durham v Pakistanis at Chester-le-Street, Jul 14-16, 1992
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Tour Match: Derbyshire v Pakistanis at Derby, Jul 18-20, 1992
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4th Test: England v Pakistan at Leeds, Jul 23-26, 1992
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Tour Match: Essex v Pakistanis at Chelmsford, Aug 1-3, 1992
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5th Test: England v Pakistan at The Oval, Aug 6-9, 1992
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Tour Match: Gloucestershire v Pakistanis at Bristol, Aug 15-17, 1992
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3rd ODI: England v Pakistan at Nottingham, Aug 20, 1992
Report | Scorecard

4th ODI: England v Pakistan at Lord's, Aug 22, 1992
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5th ODI: England v Pakistan at Manchester, Aug 24, 1992
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Tour Match: World XI v Pakistanis at Scarborough, Aug 26-28, 1992
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© John Wisden & Co