Pakistan vs. England 2022 – Test Series Preview

England return after 17 years for a historic series – they will play 3 Tests in Rawalpindi, Karachi, and Multan.

England have arrived in Pakistan for a historic three-match Test series – their first in the country in 17 years. The current world champions across both limited-overs formats have also breathed life into their Test cricket stakes in recent times. With Ben Stokes and Brendon McCullum taking the reins of the Test side earlier this season, England registered home series victories against New Zealand and South Africa. However, this will be an entirely different challenge for a team still vying for stability and consistency. The upcoming tour of Pakistan will also be England’s first overseas assignment under the new management.

Previous Tours

This is England’s ninth Test tour of Pakistan. The first time an English Test team visited the Asian country was in 1961/62 when the tourists triumphed 1-0 in a three-match series that was sandwiched between England’s tours of India in the same year. This was a contrasting result to the highs that Pakistan had seen in the 1950s when they defeated every Test-playing nation they played against. England’s next three trips to Pakistan did not lead to a single result, with all nine matches concluding as draws. The 1968/69 tour was arranged amidst fears of a civil war in East Pakistan. The second Test at Dhaka was successfully hosted, but the third and last Test at Karachi was abandoned due to riots shortly before lunch on the third day. The subsequent tours in 1972/73 and 1977/78 also saw resultless matches.

England-Pakistan cricket contests from the 1980s (via ESPNcricinfo)

Pakistan did not register a single Test series victory over England since the inception of cricket relations between the two nations in 1954 till 1982. However, there was a reversal of fortunes from thereon as Pakistan won five Test series against England on the trot – two at home and three on English shores. The streak started with the 1983/84 home series, where Pakistan won 1-0 before repeating the feat when England touched down on Pakistan’s soil again in 1987/88. Pakistan’s dominance during this period was defined by their mastery over reverse swing – an art pioneered by their fast bowlers. In addition, Abdul Qadir had grown into a very reliable leg-spin option by then. He caused major trouble to England, taking 60 scalps in 10 appearances against them at an average of 22.3, including a nine-wicket haul in the first innings of the first Test at Lahore in 1987.

After a wait of nearly 40 years, England finally won a Test series in Pakistan at the turn of the century in 2000/01. The first two matches of that series ended up as tame draws, but the series decider at Karachi proved to be a classic. With the National Stadium encircled by near darkness and umpires continuously checking their light meters, Graham Thorpe saw his side across the line in a run-chase of 176 runs. It was to become one of the most iconic wins in English Test cricket history. Pakistan wrestled back the dominance in the 2005/06 home series, where they convincingly overpowered the Ashes-winning English side 2-0. They then hosted England for two more Test series in the 2010s, but they were held in the United Arab Emirates owing to security concerns back home.

England’s ‘win in the dark’ in Karachi 2000 (via Sky Sports)

England are now returning back to Pakistan to script a new chapter in this fascinating chronicle of England-Pakistan Test history. This is an England side that has turned things around in their recent outings following a dreadful run in the longest format. Between February 2021 and May 2022, they appeared in 18 Tests, losing 11 and winning just two of them. They were a side struggling for direction before Stokes and McCullum arrived at the helm to give them a new identity and inject stability. Since then, they have triumphed in six out of seven Tests under the new regime, rolling over strong oppositions like New Zealand, India, and South Africa.

England Squad