Chappell caught in quagmire
With India set to tour Pakistan and then host England
, the outcome of the England-Pakistan series became quite critical. As it turned out, England got thrashed in the tests, with Ashley Giles
and Andrew Strauss missing in the last test and Michael Vaughan
forced out of the first test.
England were in a good position to actually win at Multan, but some brain explosions resulted in defeat by 22 runs
even though they were only chasing 198. After that, they were always trailing, just about managing to save the second test and getting thrashed by an innings in the final test. The series result meant that England were on the verge of being topped as the #2 side
Trescothick captained the side
in the one-dayers which started promisingly with England defending a huge score. What followed thereafter wasn't too bright. Pakistan's keeper Kamran Akmal, who had already resisted India's bowlers at Mohali
, scored centuries in consecutive games, one of them at Karachi where Trescothick sent Pakistan in to bat
and watched his bowlers leak runs bigtime. Yesterday, a lovely bowling performance wasn't backed up by the batsmen, resulting in Pakistan winning the one-day series as well.
India's coach Greg Chappell
, in a chat with BBC's Test Match Special, remarked that he'd have preferred that England competed better in Pakistan
so that their wake-up call would have been in India rather than in Pakistan. In addition, beating England meant that the Pakistan team would be high on morale before their series against India.
It was a tricky question for Chappell to answer. If England had fared well, Pakistan would be down on morale before a crucial home series against India, the third series between the sides in a span of less than 2 years
. But England would carry the success of that tour, in addition to their Ashes victory
, and arrive mentally very strong and prepared for India. Now that Pakistan has won the tests and one-dayers, England will undoubtedly be down on morale and Pakistan's confidence would be sky high.
In either case, India would have had to come up against a side which was high on confidence. The ideal scenario for India would have been for either Pakistan to have won the series but having to rule out Inzy/Shoaib/Kaneria against India because of injury or for England to have won the series but missing out on Flintoff/Vaughan/Trescothick for the same reasons.