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England vs Pakistan In Print

My last post on the subject of accounts of England Test series against the more junior Test playing nations looks at Pakistan, whose elevation came in 1951, and who played their first Tests in England in 1954.

The hosts meandered in to the fourth and final Test having not really been extended, but denied by the weather anything greater than a 1-0 lead. They took a long tail into the final Test, and then Fazal Mahmood at his very best exploited some favourable conditions brilliantly and Pakistan became the first nation to win a Test in England on their first visit. The English publishers weren’t interested, but as many as four books appeared in Pakistan. The most authoritative bore the name of the Pakistani skipper, Abdul Kardar. The other three, by Qamaruddin Butt, F Husain and Syed Maqsood were all, I believe, ‘ear witness’ accounts only.

England visited India and Pakistan in 1961/62. Although they lost 2-0 over five Tests with India they did beat Pakistan 1-0 in the two Tests played. There would never have been any expectation of an English book, but it is a surprise no sub-continual publisher felt it worthwhile to produce an account of the tour. For the following English summer the Pakistanis visited England for the second time. This time they were beaten, and not even the seemingly indefatigable Qamaruddin Butt produced a book.

In 1967 England entertained and beat both India and Pakistan easily enough. There was no book on the Indian series, but Qamaruddin Butt wrote Oval Memories, this time as an eye witness.

There should, of course, have been an England tour of South Africa in 1968/69, but ‘The D’Oliveira Affair’ made sure that never happened. In place of that tour an ill-starred trip to Pakistan was hastily arranged, and abandoned part way through the last of the three Tests. That there is a book on the tour is something we have to thank Qamaruddin Butt for. Sporting Wickets was the last of his ten books on early Pakistan series. His accounts are an essential resource for anyone researching the history of Pakistan Test cricket.

The 1970s dawned with Ray Illingworth’s side going to Australia and regaining the Ashes, but there was just one book on that tour, and even that contained a number of digressions. It was also a case of England being swiftly brought back to earth on their return. Dominant performances were expected against India and Pakistan, but not forthcoming. In the first series, against Pakistan, England did succeed but only by 1-0 and the winning margin in the third Test was just 25 runs. There were no UK published books, but two modest paperbacks appeared in Pakistan. The Young Ones by Syed Zakir Hussain was the first, and The Fourth Trip: A Match by Match Record of the 1971 Pakistan Cricket Team in England by the similarly named Sultan Husain was the second. The former crops up from time to time, but I have never seen a copy the Husain book.

At the height of the World Series Cricket controversy over the winter of 1977/78 England sent a side out to play series in Pakistan and New Zealand. The absence of a contemporary account came as no surprise, but almost forty years on David Battersby filled that gap with In The Shadow of Packer, an excellent read, and he later added a limited edition booklet, England at the Gaddafi Stadium, to showcase some additional material in relation to the first Test.

Pakistan visited England again in 1978 for a short tour and England comfortably won the three match series 2-0. There was no tour account, although in 2018 another Battersby booklet provided a few memories of the visit.

England’s visitors in 1982 were India and Pakistan once more. Both series were won and there was a book to celebrate with. The previous summer Alan Ross had added his peerless prose to a selection of Patrick Eagar’s photographs of ‘Botham’s Ashes’ and the result had been a great success. Summer of the All-Rounder was the title of the 1982 effort. In 1984 the previous winter’s trip to Pakistan provided part of the subject matter for the Captain’s Diary 1983/84 of Bob Willis

In 1987 Pakistan were England’s visitors for a full five Test summer. They won the series 1-0 and Kim Baloch celebrated with the publication of an account of the tour entitled Imran’s Summer of Fulfilment. That winter England visited Pakistan and lost again. This was the occasion of the infamous spat between England captain Mike Gatting and umpire Shakoor Rana that took a day out of the second Test. Scyld Berry’s Cricket Odyssey takes in the series as well as the one off Test at the Sydney Cricket Ground and series in New Zealand that followed.

After years of decline in 1997 the tour book suddenly seemed to be alive and well again, Kim Baloch’s Summer of Swing being the best of three books, all by Pakistani writers, on their side’s famous victory. The other two were published in Pakistan by Munir Hussain (Summer of ’92) and Khalid Mahmood (Eye of the Storm).

To date the last Pakistan tour covered in book form was England’s trip in 2000/01. Hussain’s El Dorado is a slightly unusual spiral bound book written by, once more, Kim Baloch, but this time assisted by Shuja Ud Din. After that all we have had is a 2017 publication from the seemingly indefatigable Battersby, a slim booklet dealing with the previous summer’s 2-1 win for England.

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