England’s Contrasting Scenarios on Their Last Two Tours to Pakistan

England's Contrasting Scenarios on Their Last Two Tours to Pakistan

Sanjay Sanapoori

Modified Dec 2, 2022 1:06 AM IST

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England’s last two tours to Pakistan came back in 2000 and 2005. Around both tours they had contrasting fortunes. Through the 90s and early 2000s, Australia was the most dominant side, until England managed to cause some changes in that five-year period between the Pakistan tours. From Nasser Hussain’s reign as captain to Michael Vaughan beating the mighty Australians in the Ashes, England had a rise and fall in their fortunes.

Coming into the 2000 Pakistan tour, England were heading into a transition. They lost the Ashes in Australia and only two members in the 2000 Pakistan tour managed to make the tour in 2005. They went into the 2000 series needing to find a way to move back up the ladder. In the end, Nasser Hussain’s boys hung on for dear life and sealed a famous win with the light fading in Karachi. The win helped win a series and started a new chapter in English Cricket.

The group of Atherton, Graeme Hick, Nasser Hussain and Darren Gough formed a core for the years to come. A failed South Africa series though saw some changes begin, bringing in the a younger core with players like Ian Bell, Marcus Trescothick and James Anderson starting to enter the fray. The most influential players in the 2000 series could not stay on, with Graeme Thorpe being removed right before the Ashes as England looked forward.

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In that span of five years though, England had some greats peak, and fall. There were a few who were left out right before the Ashes as South Africa’s victory in England led to some changes. In 2005 though, England went to their highest point up until then. They beat Australia and briefly earnt the right to be called the best Test side in the World. Beating Australia was among the biggest challenges back then, and England were successful in what is arguably the best Ashes series till date.

England's Contrasting Scenarios on Their Last Two Tours to Pakistan
England’s Contrasting Scenarios on Their Last Two Tours to Pakistan

On either side of the two Pakistan tours, England saw hopeless situations. Before beating Pakistan 1-0 in 2000, they were not going through their best phases, After their series loss in 2005 to Pakistan, another round of changes took place with England going on to suffer a 5-0 Ashes defeat in Australia, one of their lowest points. From Pakistan’s point of view too, the 2000 series was pretty significant. They had a really good time in the 1990s but a series loss at home quickly bought them back to Earth marking the start of a new century.

In 2000. Waqar Younis and Wasim Akram were still ruling international cricket. By 2005 the likes of Mohammad Yousuf and Younis Khan were well into their journeys as middle-order masters in Pakistan. Shoaib Akthar too was rattling batters with his pace, but struggled to find a regular partner in crime. The likes of Danish Kaneria and Shoaib Malik were there to haunt England too as they helped start England’s downfall in 2005.

England found some strong future personalities in Andrew Strauss and Kevin Pieterson in 2005. The pair though was not enough as Pakistan completed some era defining wins in the series. For the senior players, the tour led to a lot of changes. Marcus Trescothick, standing in for Michael Vaughan, began his downfall as his mental issues started creeping up. He went on to play for another year before he finished his English career in 2006, at the age of 31.

Coming into the series, England won six series on the trot. The results of the series though quickly sent England into a transition phase. After enjoying a honeymoon period from 2000 to 2005, England went down quickly. They struggled for an year after the 2005 series, but the likes of Ian Bell, Paul Collingwood, James Anderson, Kevin Pieterson and Alastair Cook played crucial roles as England fought back and rebuilt themselves steadily. The loss in Lahore bought about the rebuild, as England again saw highs when they beat Australia in Australia.

The 2005 series though was the last until today, with Ben Stokes and his men Bazballing their way through Rawalpindi. His men are off to a great start, breaking the record for most runs on a day, and England could well be on their way to greatness in Test Cricket again as they were in 2000. Like in 2000, the Test side was struggling up until a few months now too, drawing a fair few parallel which could bring interesting stories.