England 1 Pakistan 0

Pakistan in England, 1971

The tour, in doubt until the last moment because of the threat of demonstrations and the political situation in Pakistan, was an undoubted success from the playing point of view, even if the Test series was lost by a bare defeat with two matches drawn. Rain on the last day of the first Test at Edgbaston almost certainly prevented a decisive win for Pakistan while in the third at Headingley they were beaten by 25 runs after making a splendid fight throughout. Unfortunately the Lord's Test was completely ruined by the weather, for nearly two-thirds of the playing time was lost.

Intikhab Alam, with his deep knowledge of English conditions, proved a shrewd and popular leader of a party which at times numbered nineteen before the withdrawal of the Northamptonshire bowler, Sarfraz, with back trouble. It was hard to give some of the team enough cricket.

The discovery of the tour was undoubtedly the twenty-three year-old bespectacled batsman Zaheer Abbas, whose innings of 274 in the Edgbaston Test was the highest by a Pakistan player against England and stamped him as a new world batting star. He made the fastest 1,000 runs in English cricket for twelve years and headed the tour batting with 1508 runs, average 55.85. Cricket followers in England will be able to see him regularly in the near future for he has joined Gloucestershire on a special registration. Zaheer gave early indications of his quality with a century at Worcester. His other three-figure innings were against Kent, on a rain-affected pitch, at Gravesend and Lancashire. He did not miss a single match.

The only other player to top 1,000 runs was Aftab Gul, who made centuries against Gloucestershire and Warwickshire. Although over-impetuous on occasions Aftab settled to a reliable opening partnership with Sadiq Mohammad, the youngest of the five famous brothers. Sadiq too often got out when well set but showed his real quality with a fighting 91 which nearly won the Test Match at Leeds.

Mushtaq Mohammad was an invaluable member of the Test side and he and Asif Iqbal each made centuries in the mammoth first innings at Birmingham. Unfortunately Mushtaq was rarely available for matches against the counties but Asif played an important role as vice-captain, making his runs attractively, taking valuable wickets, and setting an inspiring example with his fielding. Saeed Ahmed, the most experienced batsman in the side, did not find form until late in the tour and gained a place in the Third Test only because Majid was leading Cambridge in the University match. Majin again failed to do himself full justice in Test cricket in England.

Batsmen outside the Test side had few chances to impress but the left-handed Azmat Rana was unlucky to be struck down by malaria during the first match and by the time he recovered the Test team had taken shape. Intikhab never spared himself as a bowler. His 72 wickets were a formidable collection for a short tour. Three times he took seven in an innings.

The pace bowler Asif Masood seemed ordinary enough in county games but gave the England batsmen terrible trouble. He achieved match figures of nine for 160 at Edgbaston where his swing and movement, off a pitch on which the English fast bowlers were innocuous, had the batsmen groping like novices. Salim Altaf, who missed the first Test because of illness, was not as fast as in 1967 but showed more control and was always dangerous with the new ball. Imran Khan, only eighteen when he played his first Test as Salim's deputy, showed enough promise for Worcestershire to take him on their staff.

Pervez, the left-arm spinner, was not quite as effective as must have been hoped. Because of injury, he joined the party late when he was accompanied by Mohammad Nazir, an off-spinner, who was slow to acclimatise, but then did well enough to head the tour bowling averages.

The wicket-keeper, Wasim Bari, went from strength to strength, reaching his peak at Leeds where he not only made valuable runs but set a Test record for Pakistan by holding eight catches in the match.

The low water mark of the tour was the ten-wicket defeat by Cambridge University, captained by Majid, in the fifth match. Thereafter only England and Glamorgan were good enough to lower the Pakistan colours. Their other defeat was at the hands of Northamptonshire. Wins were gained over Warwickshire, Gloucestershire, Scotland, Derbyshire and Surrey.

By the time the team left for home in mid-July Pakistan were established as a real force in world cricket. Intikhab remarked, "I said at the start that we were good enough to win at least one Test. But for the rain on the last day at Birmingham I am sure we would have done so. Of course I was disappointed that we did not beat England, but I am sure that we did enough to justify a full tour."

Match reports for

Tour Match: Worcestershire v Pakistanis at Worcester, May 1-4, 1971
Scorecard

Tour Match: Warwickshire v Pakistanis at Birmingham, May 5-7, 1971
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Tour Match: Northamptonshire v Pakistanis at Northampton, May 8-11, 1971
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Tour Match: Hampshire v Pakistanis at Portsmouth, May 12-14, 1971
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Tour Match: Cambridge University v Pakistanis at Cambridge, May 15-18, 1971
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Tour Match: Nottinghamshire v Pakistanis at Nottingham, May 19-21, 1971
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Tour Match: Marylebone Cricket Club v Pakistanis at Lord's, May 22-25, 1971
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Tour Match: Kent v Pakistanis at Gravesend, May 26-28, 1971
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Tour Match: Gloucestershire v Pakistanis at Bristol, May 29-Jun 1, 1971
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1st Test: England v Pakistan at Birmingham, Jun 3-8, 1971
Report | Scorecard

Tour Match: Yorkshire v Pakistanis at Bradford, Jun 9-11, 1971
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Tour Match: Oxford University v Pakistanis at Oxford, Jun 12-15, 1971
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2nd Test: England v Pakistan at Lord's, Jun 17-22, 1971
Report | Scorecard

Tour Match: Glamorgan v Pakistanis at Swansea, Jun 23-25, 1971
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Tour Match: Lancashire v Pakistanis at Manchester, Jun 26-29, 1971
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Tour Match: Scotland v Pakistanis at Selkirk, Jun 30-Jul 2, 1971
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Tour Match: Derbyshire v Pakistanis at Chesterfield, Jul 3-6, 1971
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3rd Test: England v Pakistan at Leeds, Jul 8-13, 1971
Report | Scorecard

Tour Match: Surrey v Pakistanis at The Oval, Jul 14-16, 1971
Scorecard

© John Wisden & Co