Pakistan v England – 3rd Test – an alternative preview

We didn’t start TGECF to give you run-of-the-mill cricketing analysis. Think of us as a delightful breakfast of fried foods, exotic fruits, nuts and unidentified things covered in chocolate. Maybe even a cold beer. If you want straightforward toast and cereal, we suggest you go and read Cricinfo or the Beeb. But then everyone should have a balanced diet, so read us as well. This metaphor is getting a bit tortuous now, so we’ll stop now, but you probably get the picture.

Anyway, ahead of the Third Test, here is our own little preview. You won’t see any reports about the colour of the pitch or what particular type of blazing sunshine there’ll be in Dubai, but rather we’ll concentrate on what’s actually worth talking about.

1. England will be unchanged. End of. The batsmen will all be given another chance to show that they’re not just there to make up the numbers and drop catches, and Flower / Strauss have finally remembered that the rules of cricket actually permit a side to have two specialist spinners.

2. So will Pakistan. Unless they choose to go with five spinners just to see the look on the England players’ faces. They might conceivably switch round that one seamer that isn’t Umar Gul for another one, but I doubt anyone would notice, what with the fact that whoever it is will only bowl about four overs in the entire match anyway.

3. Will this be Eoin Morgan’s last Test for a while? We’ve already mentioned that Eoin hasn’t exactly made the Number 6 spot his own. A couple more rabbit-in-headlight impressions might not cost him his place on the flight to Sri Lanka with the rest of the Test squad, but he might well be consigned to the hold with all the other excess baggage. It’s unlikely that England would blood any young talent on a tricky subcontinental tour, but you would think that if Morgan doesn’t deliver, Ravi Bopara might be given one more chance to show he’s not a Test-calibre player in SL (again, after his catastrophic time there previously), before giving one of the many youngsters queueing up a chance against the West Indies when he inevitably fails. Our money’s on James Taylor to be Number 6 come the West Indies in May.

'No hurry, skip. At this rate we'll be nearing 150 by tomorrow afternoon.'

4. Can anyone show any kind of ability to bat against spin at more than 2 runs an over? Very unlikely unless your name is Prior, Broad or Swann. Not getting out helps (yes, that means you, Kevin), as does not listening to Alastair Cook’s between-over chats, which usually consist of ‘We’re rattling along here’ after a fifth consecutive maiden.

5. Can England drive Geoffrey Boycott to gamble anything more than three houses? People might start to smell a Lord’s 2010-sized rat if England manage to lose chasing 15 to win after Geoffrey promises to take a lifelong vow of silence if they cock this one up.

6. Can the UAE once-and-for-all dispel the notion that it just puts a strip of concrete in the middle of the square? Everyone was pleasantly surprised that the First Test wasn’t a bore-fest of 700 plays 600, but thought it was a one-off. Then it happened again in Abu Dhabi. Three in a row might actually make people think that playing in the Emirates wasn’t a very silly idea. Personally I’ve quite enjoyed the novelty, and 6am starts mean that I can turn on the radio, roll over and go back to sleep without totally ruining my sleep pattern as the 4am Sri Lanka alarm call almost certainly will. In addition, the cricket hasn’t been half bad, or so our therapist has managed to convince us…

We’ll have a few daily titbits for you after the close of play, depending on how much we manage to watch / listen to. We know you’ll be hanging on our every word.

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  1. top99news

     /  February 2, 2012

    Nice blog and very good article….

    Please do visit for today’s new headlines

  1. England v West Indies – first Test preview « Two Grumpy England Cricket Fans

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