Win against England

Pakistan cricket team was in the depth of despair following the 2010 spot-fixing scandal. The impact of losing a good batsman and two top bowlers could have hurt any team in the world but despite that Pakistan went on to reach the World Cup semi-final last year. Our cricket team’s record since then has been quite good. Coming close to defeating the world’s number one Test team — England — by an innings and actually managing to win the match in three days is no mean feat. Saeed Ajmal — who ranks 1, 2 and 3 in the ICC bowling rankings in the One-Day Internationals (ODIs), Twenty20 (T20) and Tests respectively — is now being hailed as one of the best spinners in the world. He took seven wickets in the first innings and three in the second. Individual performances flourish when a team is playing in a cohesive manner and all players are supporting each other. Cricket is as much a psychological and mental game as it is physical.

As far as this Test was concerned, England was a bit rusty as it had not played Test cricket since last summer. Dubai’s pitches are slow, especially if compared to England’s. A slow wicket, despite not much turn, meant that spinners were most likely to thrive. England made some mistakes in its team selection. Monty Panesar should have played instead of Chris Tremlett. The Pakistani bowlers bowled well in the first innings, especially Ajmal. England’s batsmen, due to their inability to adjust to the conditions and unable to read our spinners well, were not able to score much. After England’s disastrous first innings, it was expected that Pakistan would play steadily and without any hurry as there was so much time available. Unfortunately, the Pakistani batsmen were not able to post a bigger total. Credit must be given to the English bowlers who, despite bad fielding, were able to contain them.

There is no room for complacency just because we have won the first Test match. A wounded England is very dangerous. Their track record provides ample proof of fighting back from defeats and setbacks with redoubled efforts. England will fight hard in the remaining two Tests. Pakistan must be ready for this. Even if we do manage to beat England in the Test series, one sparrow does not a spring make. Pakistan needs to prove its mettle in the ODIs and T20s to follow against England as well.

(my editorial in Daily Times)


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