Monday, January 16, 2012

Pakistan versus England- Player Profiles

The fact that 'insane o'clock' of 430am is being read through the radio had no bearing on me for I quite literally bounded out of my bed in eager anticipation of immersing in the Pakistan versus England series starting today. A series that in whatever way you look at it, has 'classic' written all over it............

Yummy....yummy stuff making us want to have a fuller taste of the whole experience

Pakistan Batting Profiles:
The batting of late has had a sturdy look about it with all the players paying homage to no risk, traditional styles of batting. Which has been a great strength against the weaker Team, who will predictably have the flaws in their line ups gift oppositions the ascendency. Meaning you do not have to set up victories with proactive play when you bat. The jury is out on whether they can perform to an adequate level against an exceptional English bowling attack backed up by a calibre of fielding that will heap on the pressure through their excellence.

1 Mohammad Hafeez:

In the last season this very under rated spinning all rounder has established himself as one of the Teams most integral players. I have the highest respect for his ability as a spinner and his unspoken role as a leader in the Team. Though, I have doubts whether he can stand up with the bat against this very fine England new ball attack.

How he goes in that regard will be a huge factor in Pakistan prospects.

2 Taufeeq Umar

This obdurate left hand opener has had a break out season in 2011. He plays the sheet anchor role honing into the traditional style of opener acting as a perfect foil for the more attack minded Hafees. The jury is out on both the openers in this series, but the fact that Taufeeq is a very decent back foot player makes me believe that his star will continue to shine in this series.

3 Azhar Ali:

One of the brightest batting stars in World Cricket. He has a solid as a rock technique, and a Zen like temperament. In conditions that promise to be batting friendly, I think the English might be sick of the sight of him as the series goes on.

He will announce his batting pedigree to the World in this series

4 Younis Khan

The class batsmen in a top 6 makes you believe that YK is the key to the teams batting. In his career of being a fine performer against all types of bowling. He can adapt from resolute defence minded innings to more flourishing knocks making him a complete player.

Excellent batsman, and one England has to control

5 Misbah-ul-Haq (capt):

If you looked in the dictionary for a definition of 'respect' you would see a picture of the Pakistani Captain. Labels are often thrown around willy nilly in describing players, but the term 'Statesman' is so appropiate for this great man. Away from my hero worship, he is also a very fine batsman that has been dominating of late.

Whether he can do the same against England will be intriguing to watch

6 Asad Shafiq:

A player of talent, that is yet another stronewaller in a Team full of the same types of batsmen. You can excuse him playing in this regard in light of him trying to adapt to the demands of Test Cricket. In view of him having a reputation of being a very fine attacking player in ODI Cricket we might see his attacking side flourish the more he feels confidence in his place in the highest echelon of the game.

7, Adnan Akmal

In truth, a decent keeper, but a liability as a batsman that will be exploited by England. The Team would have been better served in inserting the all round excellent of Sarfraz Ahmed into the Team

Reserve- Umar Akmal

I think before this series is over this precociously talented young batting star will be not only in the Team, but also making a decisive contribution. He has a real attacking flair that could lift the Teams batting from being above average to having a real threat, and after him being dropped from the Team. 

You can expect him to come back with a real bang............

Series Potential- 6.5/10

I have the highest respect in how Pakistan's resurgence has been greatly facilitated by the battings shelving risk, and paying respect to traditional play. Though the batting has an imbalance that England can focus on and exploit. In regards to most, if not all of the batsmen are defence minded, and against this opposition it runs the risk of being strangled into temptation and eventual demise by their scoring potential being dried up.

A key to overcome this would be the inserting of Umar Akmal at 5 to have a player with real attacking pedigree in the Team.

Pakistan's Bowling Profiles
Wahab Riaz- Wasim Akram #2?
In my view the most complete bowling unit in World cricket. They have skill, calibre and diversity in both pace and spin. Making them represent one of the most eclectically excellent attacks one could hope to see.

They have yet to prove their might against a batting line up of real class, but that is only a matter of time, and might ultimately happen in this series

Umar Gul

One of the most under rated performers on the World scene. A bowler of real skill in regards to swing and seam and the fact that he gets the ball through at a brisk pace makes him a real handful. After the banning of bowling genius's Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Amir, he has taken over the responsibility of spearheading the attack like a duck to water.

A great player, and one that will have all the English batsmen knowing of his sincere threat

Wahab Riaz

I remember a few years ago seeing this young left arm pace man rip it up during a Pakistan A game in Australia. He made my eyes open wide with his brisk pace and control of swing that made you swear you were watching Wasim Akram-The Sequel. He will be fired up too after his association with the sad corruption allegations against the Team for which he was exonerated in. Look for him to be a HUGE factor in this series.

Especially in bowling to the two left handed English openers.........
Saeed Ajmal

I must admit I love this quirky little twirler, who has endeared himself to all with his sincere skill and lovely character. England knows of his threat after him performing admirably against them in the ill fated 2010 series. He has improved greatly in the 18 months since with his 'Doosra' being one of the most lethal balls in Test Cricket.

He is one player that could be a deciding factor in the series

Abdur Rehman

A very wily and overlooked part of this bowling unit. Which makes him all the more dangerous for he is not only a very skilled left arm spinner, but has got a Masters in strangling batsmen with his laser like accuracy. A master of building pressure by his relentless line and length coupled with his sincere patience. Meaning he will pitch a ball on a speck of dust on the pitch over...and over...and over again until the batsman does his lolly in committing batting hari kari.

Mohammad Hafees

Excellent off spin bowler, who like Rehman is often forgotten in this bowling unit because of all the hysteria over Saeed Ajmal. Which I am sure the man known as 'The Professor' loves. For it means him getting wickets through the combination of his skill, and batsmen having mental lapses against him. When they think he is a 'change bowler', rather than having the similar calibre of a strike bowler.

a huge factor against left handers too as Tamim Iqbal discovered

Bowling Reserves

The team has great depth in it's bowling with all of Aizaz Cheema, Mohammad Tahla and Junaid Khan being an example of the sincere quality in Pakistan's bowling

Series Potential- 9/10

When I look at this bowling unit, I keep thinking of this catch cry from the iconic 1960's sitcom 'Lost In Space' for the English batting to heed
People will challenge my lofty rating of Pakistan's bowling due to the fact that have yet to prove their class against a great batting line up. Which has merit, but in defence they have yet to face one during their recent rise, and in this series I can see them proving those doubters wrong with a stellar display


Batting Profiles
During England's recent rise in the game people have been pointing to Asia compelling them to prove themselves in these confines. Which in truth might be applicable for the bowling, but for the batting it is a load of old codswallop with most, if not all the batsmen have been excellent in Asia before.

Ultimately the excellent and diverse Pakistan bowling unit will provide England with the type of test they have yet to encounter. Which might see some of the gloss taken off their brutal batting, but not enough to snuff it out from being decisive in the series.

Alastair Cook

Undoubtedly one of the best batsmen in World Cricket. A true testimony to a player who plays to his strengths, and eliminates all risk. Meaning he is probably the toughest man in the Test game to get out for he gives you no chances and just grinds bowling attacks with his relentless search of runs.

He will be a huge factor in this series, and will likely dominate

Andrew Strauss

The attacking fire that is a perfect partner for Cook's defensive ice. Though he has struggled somewhat of late and has been made to look silly on more than one occasion against left arm swing bowlers for which Pakistan have two very fine ones in Wahab Riaz and Junaid Khan.

Strauss is a warrior, so though I fear he might struggle, you step back from stating this because of his sincere inner fight and determination to succeed.

Jonathan Trott

The right handed version of Cook in a defensive rock. It will be interesting to see how he goes against very decent spin bowling after his relative struggles in Bangladesh a few years back. Where Shakib al Hasan seemed to have his number making me have a few doubts about him in this series.

Away from his batting, his bowling might come in very useful in this series. Where it will be crucial to keep the bowlers fresh in the brutally hot conditions. Especially if England resist the temptation of playing a 5 man bowling attack

Kevin Pietersen

I know as soon as I make this statement 'Murphys Law' will enter the fray......

Pffft......I am forever tempting Fate anyway- so here goes

Starting by dominating in this series, 2012 will be the year of KP!

Ian Bell

Look up the term class, and you will see a picture of Ian Bell....

A player that has had greatness bestowed on him from a young age, and has struggled with it till recently. As seen in a break out year in 2011, where everyone got to see how complete Bell is as a batsman in every regard.

He will again dazzle here- no doubt at all!

Eoin Morgan

There has been much talk about whether England should play 5 bowlers meaning Morgan would lose his spot in the Team. The injury to Tim Bresnan has effectively snuffed that out. Meaning Morgan will be in the Team, and truthfully with his unorthodox mannerisms. I can see him being a real Xfactor in the series with his ability to unnerve and throw the Pakistan spinners out of their status quo's.

Matt Prior

Matt Prior ='s Alan Knott #2

Few will understand this comparison, but to explain, it means that you know when the Team needs a saviour Prior will be there.

As a batsman, he could easily bat in any Teams top 6

Series Potential- 8/10

I think the excellent Pakistan attack might have an effect on the regal English batting line up, but not enough to stop them from being an A grade performer in this series

Bowling Profiles
The loss of Tim Bresnan is an under stated blow to the bowling unit in respect to his style would lend itself to Asian conditions. In my mind I have doubts over the English bowling King Pins in James Anderson and Graeme Swann to perform at their usual excellent standards in this series. But this is balanced out by viewing Stuart Broad being on the verge of greatness in a bowling sense, and Steve Finn, who has everything to be a great bowler.

In my view- a clone of Glenn Mcgrath

James Anderson

I must admit I have never been a fan of Anderson for he is like Guinness in respect to he does not travel well. This view was mostly formed in the infancy of his career, and admittedly he has improved greatly since then by adding more strings to his bow. In regards to very heady and threatening seam bowling.

Will he be a factor in this series?

To me he will be workman like, rather than dominant.

Graeme Swann.

An excellent, big hearted, and very wily competitor. That has gained great plaudits for his very decent off spin bowling. I think like Anderson, he will be a contributor throughout the series without ever dominating.

Stuart Broad

Beware Pakistan, for Broad is looking more and more like a wrecking ball for batting line ups

Steve Finn

Potentially great, and we will see glimpses of that in this series. Sadly, the English Selectors might overlook him for Chris Tremlett, which is perfectly understandable in view of Tremlett being a fabulous bowler.

Expect before the series is finished to see Finn being decisive

Bowling Reserves:

The main strength in England's rise to the top of Test Cricket has not only been the class in their first 11, but the quality of their depth. All of Graeme Onions, Monty Panesar and Chris Tremlett could come into the Team and be huge factors.

Series Potential- 7/10

The loss of Tim Bresnan is huge on two fronts. The first is his quality, and the second his very decent batting that would have allowed the Team to play 5 bowlers without unduly compromising its batting. 

In his absence taking this option would have a risk attached to it against a very fine Pakistani attack. 

Leaving the question whether England's attack can excel on the dead as a dodo pitches coupled with the brutal heat.

I think they will loss some of their cutting edge, but not enough to stop them from being able to get 20 wickets throughout the series.

Last Word

This series is undoubtedly England's sternest test. Especially in view of Pakistan having an attack that could neutralise England's batting.

Sadly, I think the series will be decided by the bane of Pakistan's cricketing existence........

In terms of its abject fielding, that a Team like England will victimise to the hilt as well as taking the gloss off Pakistan's bowling

Meaning a tight tough series which will end

1 nil to England with the dead pitches killing the other 2 Tests


  1. your prediction is all ready wrong not to say won't come back but pakistan are playing as a team.