Pakistan v England – series in review

So the Pakistan / Emirates tour is in the bag  – and well done England for the T20 win (that’s our analysis on the 3rd match done). Now it’s on to Sri Lanka for a wonderfully retro tour involving purely Test cricket – no ODIs and no T20s (yes, we had to rub our eyes and read that again, too). Anyway, here’s a quick post letting you know what we’ll miss and what we’ll miss not so much from the last couple of months of beach cricket in the Arabian Gulf:

Things we’ll miss:

1. The time difference – England should play more overseas tours in Abu Dhabi and Dubai (subject to the qualifications below). We loved the Tests starting at a not unreasonable hour of the morning allowing us to seamlessly weave Aggers’ / CMJ’s / Blowers’ commentary into half-conscious dreams about heroically saving the follow on for England. The ODIs started at the civilised hour of 11 am and continued all day and the T20s were at a perfect time for the British viewer and the locals coming after work, although the post-11 pm finishes local time were perhaps a little late.

2. Competitive wickets – England go to Sri Lanka next and then to India next winter. Both, but particularly the latter, will probably be full of so-called ‘Chief Executive’s wickets’, designed to last for 5 days without so much as a bowler’s footmark appearing, if only to provide Sachin with something to get his hundredth ton on. The pitches in the Emirates were compellingly different – slow scoring, yes, but making proper, technical batting a necessity rather than a laughably antiquated optional extra and giving both quicks and spinners rewards for accurate, sustained bowling.

3. The roof on the Abu Dhabi Stadium – Every time we saw this, one of us would double take – under lights it just looked so worryingly like the alien spaceship from Independence Day hoving into view over the Pavilion End that we thought the ECB must have commissioned some extraterrestrials to put Eoin Morgan out of his misery by way of a laser death ray, thereby enabling him to be ‘Retired hurt (vaporised)’ rather than make the rest of us suffer his hopeless form any longer. More architecture should look like it comes from space.

Spot the difference

Things we won’t miss:

1. The noise – Whether it was Adnan Akmal in the Test series (and given a brief reprise in the ODIs) or that BLOODY trumpet motif in the one-dayers, this was a series that might have been better watched with the mute button on. We love you really, Adnan – at least you can competently keep wicket – but just tone it down a bit. Please?

2. The empty stadiums (T20s excepted) – The authorities in the Emirates probably built cricket grounds purely because they got to the bottom of the list of ‘Things We Can Build’ having ticked everything else off and realised they hadn’t got one yet. In an area with no real cricketing heritage, the ‘If you build it, they will come’ mentality was always going to be slightly optimistic, particularly as neither Abu Dhabi nor Dubai are really places where people can take an entire day (or five) off work to watch sport, despite the healthy expat community. The T20 crowds were encouraging, and we’re sure with more cricket inevitably being played in the area, things will pick up. The worrying trend of sparse Test attendances continues, though…

3. Saeed Ajmal ‘Nuff said. Still having the nightmares, as we suspect is Ian Bell.

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