Have Pakistan taken the lead in the injury stakes?
We definitely get the feeling that Pakistan are taking pity on England and are fielding a reserve side to give their opponents a chance. In addition to Shoaib Akhtar and Naved-ul-Hasan's absence from the first Test, they will also be without Mohammad Asif, Younis Khan and Shoaib Malik.
From England's perspective, they must take advantage. Judging by the way their performances deteriorated so drastically during the series against Sri Lanka, England would do well to get whatever they can out of this series as soon as possible.
Some England pundits have emphasised how England's newer bowling recruits must step up and make an impact. Others feel that it's up to the senior bowlers, Harmison and Hoggard, to lead by example. We're not so fussy. If Ian Bell takes five wickets and England win, we'll be happy.
We're ever so slightly disappointed that recent call-up Samiullah Khan Niazi won't be appearing for Pakistan. We have to keep telling ourself that just because he's a left-arm quick from Pakistan it doesn't necessarily mean that he's going to be like Wasim Akram. We've been telling ourself that since we first heard about him, but we haven't really been listening. The depth of our wishful thinking is quite staggering at times.Cross-posted at King Cricket