The premonitions before the Australian team's six-week campaign in Pakistan proved well founded. Despite the unavailability of Greg Chappell, Dennis Lillee and Len Pascoe for personal and business reasons, and the late arrival, through the illness of a son, of Rodney Marsh, it seemed that Kim Hughes had a strong and well-balanced team under his command. In the event they failed to win a single one of their nine games. They lost all three Tests comprehensively, the two limited-overs internationals which were completed - the third was abandoned because of spectator disruptions - and drew the three-day first-class matches against Invitation XIs.
The Australians proved ill-equipped to cope with a Pakistan side beginning to exert its international authority under the leadership of Imran Khan. The timing of the tour was a liability. The Australians left for the Indian subcontinent when most football competitions were reaching their climax in Australia. The last Test the players had engaged in was in New Zealand six months before. Pre-season net practice and a brief training camp in Perth left them at a disadvantage against a Pakistan side fresh from a hard Test series in England. Despite claiming he was in need of a rest, Imran Khan proved a major force, with eight wickets in the Lahore Test and many judicious spells of genuinely fast bowling.
At the start of the tour, both Hughes and Imran made pleas for pitches which were evenly grassed and fair to each team. For the most part their appeals were heeded. The major Test centres of Karachi and Lahore provided excellent conditions, and it was sad that so much good could be undone by a few rabble-rousers in the two games at the National Stadium in Karachi.
The triumph of the dominant personality of the series, leg-spinner Abdul Qadir, deserved high tribute. Although his selection for the first Test in Karachi was criticised in some quarters, by the end of the series the thick-set wrist-spinner had so frustrated and bewildered the Australians that he had established a new record of 22 wickets for a series against Australia. His remarkable dexterity, variety and accuracy, usually exploited from round the wicket, to find boot marks at the other end, caused the Australians such difficulties that it made his absence from the team which had visited Australia the previous summer all the more inexplicable. His success was achieved, moreover, against batsmen who prided themselves on their ability to cope with the ball tossed into the air and turning from leg. Qadir's ability to turn the ball sharply in both directions eroded the Australians' patience and confidence and frustrated their desires to advance down the pitch to get the better of him.
If, in all aspects of the series, Pakistan were the better side, the tourists' anger was understandable at the interference by spectators during the first Test and third limited-overs international in Karachi and, to a lesser extent, during the games in Hyderabad and Sialkot. Hughes threatened to end the tour and return to Australia if any of his players was hurt by the stone-throwing from the uncovered grandstand - mostly occupied at reduced rates by university students - at the National Stadium in Karachi, which led to two walk-offs during the first Test. He said: When a player cannot field on the boundary without being hit, then something serious has to be done to make spectators realise it is wrong. People do not deserve to see international cricket when they behave like this.
After less than an hour's play in the final limited-overs international in Karachi, by which time Geoff Lawson, Ian Callen and Greg Ritchie had been struck on the body and legs by missiles, Hughes led his players off and returned to the team's hotel. It was a sad end to the tour. These spectator disruptions, usually politically motivated, seem likely to remain part and parcel of cricket in Pakistan.
But difficulties and frustrations aside - and all members of the party sooner or later had some illness or other, stemming from the food or water, despite the presence of an accompanying doctor and physiotherapist - there was no denying that for Pakistan it was the country's finest cricketing hour. Their three-nil Test victory was unprecedented in a short series there.
Even without Sarfraz Nawaz, whose injury in England and leanings towards retirement prevented him from taking any part in the tour, Pakistan were able to field a versatile and consistent attack, although none of the three specialist pacemen considered to partner Imran Khan - Tahir Naqqash, Jalal-ud-Din and Sikander Bakht - advanced sufficiently to suggest that he would adequately replace Sarfraz in the immediate future. Even so, together with the medium-paced Mudassar Nazar, they all provided moments of perplexity for the Australians, as the scores indicate. It was in spin, though, that Pakistan found themselves with an embarrassment of riches. Qadir and his left-arm orthodox spin partner, Iqbal Qasim, took 30 of the 56 Australian wickets to fall to bowlers in the three Tests. The off-spinner, Tauseef Ahmed, became an indispensable member of the limited-overs side, and was unfortunate not to play in the Tests. The slow left-arm orthodox spinner, Amin Lakhani, appeared of Test potential, and Iqbal Sikander displayed enough leg-spinning talent to remain on the selectors' short-list for a touring side.
Pakistan also had a much greater depth in batting than Australia, with Mohsin Khan and Mudassar Nazar often providing a substantial start. Few of the Australians would have disputed that these two were, as a partnership, the equal of West Indies' Haynes and Greenidge. Mohsin showed remarkable improvement from his brief tour of Australia, when he appeared there as a reinforcement. His century in the Lahore Test caused Hughes to consider him worthy of a position in a World XI. Zaheer Abbas was employed profitably in the middle order. The Australians were convinced of his vulnerability against the new ball, but the superiority of the earlier Pakistan batsmen invariably prevented them from cornering him. Dropped catches, offered by Zaheer, also proved disastrous for the Australians. Mansoor Akhtar, some ten years younger than Zaheer, occupied the No. 3 position so adequately that he hit his maiden Test century in Faisalabad. Javed Miandad also grew further in stature as an international batsman, his youthful audacity now being supplanted by a technical competence and insatiable appetite for runs.
Australia's heroes were few. Openers Graeme Wood and Bruce Laird provided some sound starts, but it was John Dyson, in more forthright mood than on previous tours, who was the most consistent and valued batsman. Greg Ritchie and Wayne Phillips were two young batsmen introduced to international cricket on the tour, Ritchie displaying talent and a good temperament in a crisis, as evidenced by his century in the Faisalabad Test. Hughes began with a century in the first match, but he and Allan Border failed to provide the long partnerships that had been hoped for from them. Lawson was the outstanding Australian. Starting as the third-string paceman behind Jeff Thomson and Terry Alderman, he bowled with such speed and bounce on the clay pitch at Multan that he went automatically into the Test side ahead of Alderman. His spirit was undaunted by the failures of his fellow players, and he remained the one bowler to trouble the Pakistanis in all conditions throughout the series. Australia's trio of spinners took only six wickets in the Test series between them, an indication of their failure when compared with Qadir and Qasim. Coupled with the Australians' dropping of fifteen catches in the Tests, it all amounted to a tour to rank among the most dismal ever made by an Australian side. The team's manager, Col Egar, the former Test umpire, said he would recommend that future Australian sides visited the Indian sub-continent at a less inappropriate time of year, delaying their departure at least until November when the climate was cooler and the players had some domestic preparation. But as Hughes pointed out, it is equally important to make psychological adjustments on visiting Pakistan.
Test matches - Played 3: Lost 3.
First-class matches - Played 6: Lost 3, Drawn 3.
Losses - Pakistan (3).
Draws - BCCP Patron's XI, Pakistan Cricket Board XI, BCCP Invitation XI.
Non first-class matches - Played 3: Lost 2, Abandoned 1 (owing to crowd disruptions).
Losses - Pakistan (2). Abandoned - Pakistan.
Match reports for
BCCP Patron's XI v Australians at Rawalpindi, Sep 12-14, 1982
BCCP XI v Australians at Multan, Sep 16-18, 1982
Pakistan Invitation XI v Australians at Sialkot, Oct 10-12, 1982