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Pakistan in England – A tour of controversies


Pakistan’s tours of England have never been short of controversy! The incidents have always been front-page news worthy & at times the most bizarre in nature. We take a look at three incidents that have marred this rivalry.

  1. 1992 – Of reverse swing & suspicion

By the time Pakistan toured England in 1992, Wasim Akram and Waqar Younis has mastered the art of reverse swing and used it brilliantly against the English batsmen. Their success, as opposed to that of the English bowlers, misinterpreted and drew suspicions of illegal ball-tampering.

The issue boiled over during an ODI at Lord’s, where bad weather forced the game into a second day. The three Englishmen officiating the game – umpires Ken Palmer and John Hampshire and third umpire Don Oslear – came to a decision that the ball had to be changed under Law 42, which refers to the condition of the ball.

Fearing a scandal, no public announcement was made on why the ball was changed. Pakistan were notably furious with the decision and also confronted multiple allegations because of the incident. To make matters worse, English batsman Allan Lamb’s interview with the Daily Mirror post this incident was titled ‘How Pakistan Cheat at Cricket’.

  1. 2006 England Tour – Test cricket’s first forfeit

In 129 years and 1814 fixtures, no test match had ever been forfeited. During their 2006 tour of England, Pakistan did just that.

On the fourth afternoon of the Oval test, Darrell Hair penalised Pakistan with five penalty runs for supposed ball-tampering. Angered, the visitors refused to return to the field post tea. Umpires Hair & Billy Doctrove took this decision to mean that Pakistan had forfeited the match and after a lot of confusion awarded England a victory.

The match and the decision also marked Hair’s steep downfall from a top umpire.

  1. One-on-one exchanges

In another tour marred with controversy, the Lord’s test threw up a spot-fixing scandal. When the teams returned there again during the ODIs, English batsman Jonathan Trott and Pakistani pacer Wahab Riaz almost came to blows in the nets. The duo had to be separated after a heated exchange of words.

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