England Vs. Pakistan - Review

March 08, 2012, 10:55 AM GMT+0

The England cricket team experienced mixed fortunes in their recent series against Pakistan. What are the reasons for this? Who were England’s best and worst players? Sports Lab participants have weighed in with their views.

Following a successful summer in 2011, in which they beat India to become the number one Test match side in the world, the England Team travelled to the United Arab Emirates in January to take on Pakistan.

The tour did not begin as planned with England being comprehensively beaten 3 - 0 by Pakistan in the Test series. However, they managed to turn this around to win the One Day series 4 - 0 and the Twenty20 series 2-1. Considering England’s strength in recent years has come in Test matches, the outcome of the tour was surprising to many cricket experts.

SportsLab participants have weighed in with their views on the performances of the England team and their mixed fortunes against Pakistan.

Some say losses were down to poor skills and complacency, while the wins are seen as the result of raised confidence and outstanding individual performances.

Do you agree with the opinion of our SportsLab respondents? Join the debate by using Disqus below!

Here’s what participants in our poll thought about the tour…

1. Why Did England lose the test series?

Argument 1 - Lack of preparation

Lack of preparation - more first class games should have been played beforehand Steven G, Silsden

Poor preparation for the conditions that they were to play on and for the players they were going to face, e.g. spin bowling” Claire, Preston

“They were not fully prepared and had got complacent. They should have picked specialist players of spin bowling” Anon

“According to Andy Flower they were ‘undercooked’. Perhaps they were too sanguine about their position as number 1 test nation” Jay, Carshalton

"They were undercooked, with no real cricket for some months. Also, we couldn't seem to handle the sub-continent type pitch” Paul, Bristol

Argument 2 - Complacency

“Complacency - we think we're the best in the world so think we can just walk our matches now with little preparation” Anon

“Complacency and simply being unable to deal with Saeed AjmalAdam, Scotland

Arrogance, which led to over-confidence. The players are not as good technically as they need to be and they are so full of themselves they don't think they need to work hard at building their skills” Anon

I do not think that the team took the tour seriously enough and saw it more as a jolly rather a serious test series” Anon

Undervaluing the opposition Paul, Lancashire

Argument 3 - Inability to play spin bowling

“Not used to the pitches in such a different climate and unable to master the spin bowling, which they then managed so well after the tests in the later matches” Jane, Kent

Incompetence when playing spin… failure of top order” Jon, London

They are unable to play spin - they should spend a little time in the nets to cope.” Mal, Kent

Inability to play high quality spin bowling… lack of application and an appropriate technique.” Anon

Argument 4 - Poor batting

“It was sloppy batting from players who should know better. They looked very underprepared for the Pakistan spinners on a pitch that favoured spinners from the off” James H, London

“Personally I believe the main issue England had in the recent tests is that they tried too hard to push the run rate, if the scoring rate was low they almost seemed to panic and try to force the issue with the bat which fell into Pakistan’s hands. The second and third tests are good examples, a steadier approach would have seen England if not prevail then at least get a lot closer” Andrew B, Harrogate

Very poor batting from the top order. The bowlers did their job very well but were let down by the top five batters. I also still believe that Andrew Strauss cannot defend a total” Anon

The batters let us down. They didn't seem to be able to form lasting partnerships that worked well together” Anon

2. Why Did England win the ODI series?

They applied themselves better

They started to apply themselves again after having woken up to the fact they were there to complete a job of work” Anon

“Team spirit; confidence; team selection” Michael, London

They pulled themselves together and remembered they are the best in the world” Anon

“After the poor showing in the test series they finally realised that they had to get some concentration and cohesion back if they were to perform at all during the tour” Anon

Determination and good captaincy Peter Kent

"The style of the ODIs suited England a lot better whereas the like of Misbah Ul-Haq prefers the slower scoring which in the end along with some tight bowling never let Pakistan’s scores get away from England" Andrew B, Harrogate

Improved batting and bowling

Better batting performances and good bowling form" Tom C, Wiltshire

The contributions from Cook and Pietersen with the bat cannot be over looked either. Four matches with a century scored in each will always make a win easier” Andrew B, Harrogate

“This success surprised me as I think of England as being a much better test side. Kevin Pietersen's runs were vital proving he is a much better one-day performer” Anon

Huge batting improvement; they started to work much better as a team” Anon

The bowlers were excellent, as they were in the tests, but a couple of batsmen made good scores which gave the bowlers something to defend” Ian A, Bristol

Continued brilliant seam bowling from Finn & Broad” David, Wales

“Good team performance and some excellent bowling, lessons learnt from the test series” Anon

3. Why did England win the T20 series?

Argument 1 - They were lucky

“Can't give reasons - it's a slogging lottery Chris M Rotherham

“Twenty20 series is more a game of chance and England came out better” Anon

“Twenty20 is all about entertainment and skill rarely comes into it, as its just hit and hope, so luck plays a lot Anon

Pure luck; 20 20 is a toss of a coin Anon

Argument 2 - Good individual performances

“Different captain; outstanding individual performances (Pietersen, Bairstow); excellent and consistently tight bowling; not giving away runs, and good field craft” Anon

Great bowling - particularly Finn and Dernbach" Jay, Carshalton

Pietersen got his eye in and confidence backAnon

Kevin Pietersen actually managed some runs”Anon

Pietersen! Dick C, Northampton

Argument 3 - Poor performances from Pakistan

Pakistan’s lack of technique in this type of 'mickey mouse cricket'” Anon

Pakistan tend to blow hot and cold, England are a more consistent team” Anon

Pakistan could not dominate with spin Nigel, Lincolnshire

“Nothing .It was a close fought series and we continued to get used to the conditions. We handled the close games better than the Pakistanis Steven G, Silsden

Argument 4 - Momentum from ODI series

“England have confidence in this form of the game and with the extra bounce in their step from the ODI drubbing they gave Pakistan they carried it nicely into the T20 series” Andrew B, Harrogate

Confidence from the ODI series, disciplined bowling” Adam, Scotland Adam, Scotland

Momentum gained from winning the ODI series Anon

Carried on where left off in ODI. Had hit some form” Anon

We also asked our SportsLab participants who they think were England's best and worst players in each form of the game. Respondents give their views on the performances of individual players during the tour.

4. England Player Performances

Best Test match player – Monty Panesar

Monty Panesar bowling stats – 2 matches - 14 wickets at an average of 21.57

“Had been out of the test arena for some time but returned with new variations to his bowling attack to perform consistently well and take a number of important wickets Anon

Took a lot of wickets having re-thought his methods” Paul, Southampton

Only player that shined in any way. Guy gives his all even if he isn’t the most talented” Anon

“Has improved after being dropped for some time. Better than Swann Dick C, Northampton

“Positive attitude, good work rate and his style of bowling was well suited to the conditions Anon

Best One Day player – Alastair Cook

Alastair Cook batting stats – 4 matches – 323 runs at an average of 80.75, 2 centuries

“Being the captain and under pressure from the media it took a lot for him to stand up and make two match winning scores which all but sealed the series for England Andrew B, Harrogate

“Just the accumulation of runs in the four matches was brilliant. Then when he failed Pietersen came good and changed the flow of the series after the test disaster“ David, Wales

Consistent batting performances. Lead by example. Put pressure upon Pakistan bowlers and fielders. Made Pakistan captain think!” Anon

Sequential 100's. Pretty impressive!” Anon

His batting was tremendousAnon

Best Twenty20 player – Kevin Pietersen

Kevin Pietersen batting stats – 3 matches – 112 runs at an average of 56.00

He led from the front and played as a team player and not an individual. He also mastered spin! David Anderson, North Wheatley

“For once he appeared to be playing entirely for the team rather than himself and he batted magnificently. Back on song at last, I hope" Jay, Carshalton

“He finally found the form he had years ago - his batting and aggression was impressive Anon

“Again led the way with his positive style” Anon

Worst Player – Test, One Day and Twenty20 – Eoin Morgan

Eoin Morgan batting averages – Test match – 13.66, One Day – 33.00, Twenty20 – 10.66

Out of touch and rightfully dropped for the Sri Lanka tour. He'll come good again soon though" James H, London

Batted poorly, despite having a reputation for being good against spin” Adam, Scotland

“He just did nothing for the whole tour - no runs, looked out of form Paul F, East Midlands

“Disappointing, he has lost confidence in himself and this results in a lack of consistency” Anon

Failed to produce a dominant, or match winning innings Tom C, Wiltshire

“Didn't seem to be in form. A great talent who will come right again Paul, Bristol

Do you agree with the opinion of our SportsLab respondents? Join the debate by using Disqus below!