Wednesday, August 23, 2006

More on Pakistan

While I stand by my statement that Pakistan's behaviour which ended the fourth Test was over the top and absurdly touchy, I would, however, like also to point out that, under Inzamam, their standing as a team has improved immeasurably. Relations between the team, historically awful, have been excellent on this tour. Bob Woolmer undoubetdly has a good deal to do with this, but in my view the ultimate credit rests with the magisterial Inzamam, as well the much more laid back nature of this England team.

When Danish Kaneria did his exaggerated chicken dance on dismissing Kevin Pieterson (a reference to the Pieterson strut apparently) some England teams of the past would have taken this as a serious slight, an insult to be avenged. This time it was laughed off. There has been much less sledging, much more smiling and no incidents of note between the teams. To realise how much of an achievement this is, look back at previous tours. While ball-tampering is a constant thread, it is by no means the worst thing to have happened. In 1992, the famous ball-tampering tour, Aquib Javed perpetrated just about the worst act I have ever seen in cricket.

Incensed that Devon Malcolm, how could barely see 22 yards anyway, had the efrontery to be batting at all, Javed sent down a succession of bouncers, one of which hit Devon and the rest missed by chance rather than design. Ken Palmer, the umpire, warned Javed for intimidatory bowling, in effect telling him to pitch the ball up. Javed responded by running through the crease (ie bowled a deliberate no-ball off 18 yards) and bowling another bouncer aimed down the legside at the retreating Malcolm.

It is a testament to the captaincy of Inzy that such an event is very difficult to imagine in today's Pakistan side.


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