x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

England should be wary of complaceny against Pakistan in UAE

Complacency will be the main thing Andy Flower's top ranked Test side need to guard against when they play Pakistan in the UAE.

When England arrive in the UAE at the turn of the year it will not be the heat or the unpredictable nature of the Pakistan bowling attack that will pose the biggest challenge.

No, complacency will be the main thing Andy Flower's top ranked Test side need to guard against.

Pitched against the enigmatic Pakistanis in their next Test series after becoming the No 1 side in the world; England have been here before.

In 2005 they were suffering the hangover - and not the Andrew Flintoff type - of all hangovers when they swaggered into Pakistan weeks after flooring the all-conquering Australia side amid triumphant and jingoistic scenes in England. They were brought back down to earth with a resounding bump, losing the first and third Test and hanging out for a draw in the second.

Michael Vaughan, the then captain, wrote in an aptly titled chapter called "After the Lord Mayor's Show" of his autobiography there was "an amount of fear about the reaction to beating Australia" while Marcos Trescothick went even further, saying "I number myself among those who had been seduced into believe we were the business".

Having since beaten Australia home and away and whitewashed India, the class of 2011 could lay claim to being considered the real deal.

But facing Pakistan, with all their spinners and reverse-swing bowlers, in subcontinental conditions in the UAE will be a searching examination of the hunger, skill and mental fortitude of this group.


Follow The National Sport on @SprtNationalUAE & Kevin Affleck on @affers1178