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What England can learn from Pakistan

Another five-for for Shahid Afridi AFP

England were taught a whole series of lessons by Pakistan in the recent Test series between the two sides. The good news is that if England are inclined to take advantage of their education, they'll realise they already have everything they need to become as good as Pakistan.

Get a coach with dad-like qualities
Mohsin Khan is very much a father figure to most of the Pakistan players. He provides advice, wisdom, guidance, and occasional stern words - all of which are delivered with love. The players respect him and the team has grown as a result.

Andy Flower has many great qualities, but being only a few years older than some in his side, he's more of an older brother. Older brothers can do a lot, but they can't prevent their siblings from dicking about. England need a grown-up. They need someone stern and critical. They need someone who becomes enraged when they misbehave; someone who'll deliver a strong message of disapproval using a voice that sounds like a foghorn. They need Geoffrey Boycott.

Incorrigible appealing from behind the stumps
Throughout the series, Pakistan wicketkeeper Adnan Akmal distinguished himself with a flat refusal to acknowledge the laws of the game when appealing. This was proper schoolboy "It hit his leg!" appealing and it was quite admirable.

Matt Prior was disappointingly reserved and must be replaced immediately. But by whom? In his early career, Monty Panesar showed scant regard for whether his deliveries had pitched outside leg stump or not when going up for lbw shouts. He certainly has it in him to be a good indiscriminating appealer behind the stumps. It's worth a try.

A young No. 3 who can score two runs an over for days on end
Azhar Ali showed England how to bat in the third Test. The way you bat is to score two runs an over indefinitely. England's No. 3, Jonathan Trott, is certainly cut from the same cloth, but at 30 he is significantly - and unacceptably - older than Azhar. England should invest in industrial quantities of moisturising facial cream and instruct Trott in how to successfully wear ill-fitting trousers. Ridiculously tight and snug, or overly baggy and threateningly low - the choice is his.

A captain who seems to occupy a different reality
When the appeals were coming thicker and faster than Mitchell Johnson, many of Pakistan's fielders got carried away. Not Misbah-ul-Haq, whose zen-like calm made it seem like he was occupying a different reality.

Andrew Strauss tries to maintain an air of aloof detachment, but it is affected and unconvincing. England should immediately offer the captaincy to Ravi Bopara. Ravi doesn't get caught up in on-field events. Ravi's body might be in Dubai but Ravi's brain is reading a book about aliens on a beach in Greece.

Mystery spinners
There are no doosra bowlers in England, but that isn't to say there haven't been spin bowlers with an astonishing array of deliveries at their disposal. England should bring back Peter Such to deliver "the one that doesn't turn", "the one that goes straight on", "the arm ball" and "the dart".