If there’s a job that someone forgot to do this summer it was to remind everyone that test cricket exists outside of the bi-annual Ashes series between England and Australia, because I think they forgot to tell anyone in England. It’s got to the extent that other teams are muscling in and playing home matches on our home soil, and now there’s a four match series to decide who gets to play their games here. Landlords England, or tenants Pakistan. Read more.
The series begins tomorrow at Trent Bridge and each side will feel they have a realistic chance of winning it, so lets look at each side individually and what they might offer to suggest they’ll triumph.
First up, England. And man do they have reason to be confident when it comes to matching up against the Pakistani’s, as they haven’t lost a home series since Imran Khan captained a touring side to victory in 1992. England’s team today numbers a mixture of South Africans, the Irish, and descendents of the gentry, and it’s likely that the South African contingent will be looked upon to score our runs.
Kevin Pietersen has shown that he’s a world beater at times, but he’ll be up against it with the Pakistan pace attack, which has been touted as the best in the world, so KP will have to be at his diamond encrusted best. Look further down the order, and you’ll find Paul Collingwood. Ha’way the lads!
That’s if you like your cricket at one-run-an-hour. If you do, Colly’s perfect, and there’s really no one I’d rather see out there if you’re looking to save the game. But if it gets to the middle of the second day, and him and Jon Trott are still toiling away against the pacemen, I’d be surprised if the score’s far beyond 250-300 runs.
The most intriguing battle may be between both teams’ young pacemen, England’s 21-year-old Steven Finn, and Mohammad Aamer, 18.
Both men have begun to prove themselves in recent weeks, Finn impressing in the series with Bangladesh, whereas Aamer helped Pakistan to draw with Australia in the ‘home’ series earlier this month, but has an iffy stomach when it comes to foreign food. Get him some Chicken and Mushroom pie on the go!
That brings us to the ‘visitors’ from Pakistan.
During this series they’re unlikely to be anywhere near their controversial best as Inzamam Ul-Haq’s long gone, Shahid Afridi no longer plays the long-form, and Shaoib Akhtar is probably still recovering from that mean bout of genetal warts that kept him out of the World Twenty20 last year, meaning the entertainment will have to actually be found in the play of the sub-continent side. Bummer.
The recent drawn two match series failed to ignite as perhaps it should have done for the ‘home’ side, but captain Salman Butt still posted a healthy average above 50, and he was backed up by consistent performance’s from a slightly inexperienced batting line-up. You feel the bowling is where they may win the series though, with the duo of Aamer and Mohammad Asif both taking 11 wickets at an almost identical average of around 23 runs.
As a precursor to the Ashes it’s arguably the biggest test England could have faced, apart from maybe India, meaning it’s an extremely hard series to call that could go either way, but could end up being an exciting stalemate. That or Aamer will be throwing up all the way to a Pakistan victory, after chowing down on KP flavoured nuts.