February 6, 2012

England cricket dead and buried in UAE


By Syed Khalid Mahmood

This is probably the most astonishing of all results in the recent times. The top ranked Test team, England, has been whitewashed by an outfit, Pakistan, under the command of an ‘interim’ coach (Mohsin Khan) and a ‘compromise’ captain (Misbah-ul-Haq).

For second time in the series England let the game slip away from them after being in total control of the situation. They had lost the second Test at Abu Dhabi after being set a modest target of 145 for victory as they were bowled out for 72 in the most stunning fashion.

The story was not much different in the third and final Test at Dubai where Pakistan had been reduced to 44 for seven in the first session of the game. England could have easily settled the issue by forcing a decisive first innings lead after routing their opponents for 99. England dug their own grave by not managing more than 141 in their first outing.

I don’t know what Andy Flower, under whose coaching England became world-beaters, would be thinking at the outcome of the series. The former Zimbabwean batting great must be wondering how they lost two Tests in a row after being in the driving seat. England could have won the series 2-1 instead of losing it 0-3 on any other occasion.

I think England have worse cricket than this and have achieved much better results. I reckon science will fail if we look at the finer points. England were blown away just at the time they were close to closing the deal.

The England cricket stands dead and buried in the desert of the United Arab Emirates (UAE). It has hit the lowest ebb with the current lot who had passion and skills to rule the world. They had done exceptionally well against all teams in the recent past, only to be laid low by a Pakistan outfit which itself had clouds of uncertainty.

In normal circumstances the analysis tells you a lot of stories. But in certain cases like this one you are clueless because you don’t know how you finished as the second best team even after having dominated the duel.

England’s middle-order, with the likes of Kevin Pietersen and Ian Bell, must be double-minded whether they were out of form or out of luck throughout the series. Openers Andrew Strauss and Aliastar Cook also performed below par. How often would you see all the top six batsmen flop so miserably in every outing?

Somebody said the Pakistan spin duo of Saeed Ajmal and Abdul Rahman was too good for them. But that’s half the story. The English batsmen also struggled and gifted wickets to Umar Gul, a fast bowler, and Mohammad Hafeez, a part-time spinner, at regular intervals. I am sure even wicketkeeper Adnan Akmal would have chipped in with a few wickets, had skipper Misbah asked him to bowl.

You can’t recall so many soft dismissals during the course of a single series. The half-trackers, meant to be hit at will, produced wickets. The England batsmen, who should not have been short of confidence with loads of runs under their belt in the past few seasons, self-destructed themselves one after another.

1 comment

Gamer vista said...

Great news. UAE is done an amazing play against England. Whose next?

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