Pakistan’s win in the 3rd test at the Oval seems to have brought high flying England back down to earth with a bit of a hefty bump. And rightly so in my opinion, the result could be the kick up the arse some of them need – and I’m not just talking about the players!
In selecting the squad for the 4th test, Geoff Miller and his fellow selectors went back to the more traditional method of naming a 12 man squad, rather than just naming the team 3 days before the start, as they did for the 3rd test.
In hindsight, naming the starting XI in the way they did could be deemed arrogant or disrespectful to Pakistan, at best it looks like England were over confident. It gave the impression that the whole England set up believed that Pakistan were there for taking, they looked like they got a bit carried away by the nature of the two previous victories.
I wonder did doing this send out the wrong message? Did it give the players the misguided belief that all they had to do was turn up to win against useless opposition? It certainly looked like that with the way some of them batted.
The decision backfired, and now the selectors have had to eat some humble pie. So maybe from now on we can stick to doing things the normal, respectful way.
The 3rd test was another exciting one though, I would much rather watch games like these than the high scoring bore draws we see on the sub-continent and in West Indies all too often these days.
England’s bowlers ended up making a game out of it, and they pushed Pakistan all the way. As usual, Pakistan didn’t disappoint either. They lived up to reputation and did their best to chuck away a victory they had in the bag.
In the end Umar Akmal and Mohammad Amir (two players who should play a massive part in the future of Pakistani cricket) got them over the line, with Akmal – for once – showing composure and reining himself in.
Looking at the way Swann and Anderson heaped pressure onto Pakistan after lunch, it further compounded my belief that if the batsmen could get their act together we would have a very good team.
If they can make a match out of things working with that pittance or runs, what could they be capable off if England could regularly post 400 – 450 runs in their 1st innings?