Tuesday, 17 January 2012

Pakistan v England

Oh no!  Fantasy Bob has escaped and is off one of those preview type things about real cricket.

In the words of Frank Sinatra -
Dubai, dubai, duo
Pakistan and England begin the first of their 3 Test series today in Dubai. Fantasy Bob doesn't really understand how a non-Test playing country has a number of Test standard stadia.  After all he is confident that a city like London would never invest in expensive sporting facilities which might be of minimal use to its citizens ....................................er........................

............as the days hours and minutes ticked down to the start of the game, FB was increasingly tense.  When would that phone call come?  He could not imagine that Flower and Strauss would want to go into such an important contest without hearing FB's advice on the pressing issue of whether they should play 2 spinners. They would of course completely disregard FB's views..but that is another issue altogether.

England's most recent spin twins
FB cannot recall the last time England went into a Test match with 2 slow bowlers - could it have been as far back as the days of John Emburey and Phil Edmonds in the mid 1980s?  So it won't happen now. England will play with their now usual 4 bowlers and it will be sign of Monty's progress over the last year that he will be allowed to carry the water bottles.  The injury to Bresnan makes this conclusion unavoidable.  However FB fears that the probability of one of the pacemen being injured in the match is high - whichever 3 make the team, probably Anderson, Broad and Tremlett, all have had a period of injury in the last 18 months.  England's bowling resources are richness indeed -  Finn, Onions and Panesar would all be worthy contributors but will swell the minimal crowd.

While Pakistan-England series are notorious for controversy, all pundits are hoping that this series lives up to its promise on paper.  England are worthy leaders of the Test pack, but need to prove that they can play on slower turning wickets.  The ODI series in India didn't fill anyone with confidence that they have come very far in that direction.  Pakistan are becoming a force again now that the horrors of the spot fixing shambles are behind them.

Have a Teesra.........
The series offers, amongst other tasty morsels, the battle for dominance between the 2 best off spinners in the world - Graham Swann and Saeed Ajmal.  Swann has had a quiet year, forced into more of a containing than an attacking role by England's team structure.  Saeed, Test cricket's leading wicket taker in 2011, is telling all the world that he has a new ball for the series - the Teesra - the third one.  Presumably this will be a straight ball - always in FB's experience the ball of maximum danger.  So watch out KP.

Misbah ul-Haq is leading Pakistan effectively, though, like Strauss, he is an overly conservative skipper.  So there is unlikely to be much risk taking on either side - and with the slow surface offered a draw seems the most likely outcome even to FB who, as worldwide readers fully understand, knows nothing about these things.

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